Redefining the role of the employer

Elements of our day to day that had been accepted as necessary for successful industry and successful business continue to change, which has displaced certain aspects of our working lives. Displacement is merely change. For many employers, this has meant scrambling to understand the role we now play in relation to our workforce and how we challenge our own strategies on how to deliver on what our new role should or can be. 

It will take new solutions for employers to deliver on the experiences needed to employ and retain top quality talent. Workforce expectation and needs have changed, and employers need to innovate to deliver a different experience in how they interact with their teams. 

Company culture, once a learned behaviour in a ringfenced office environment and starting from the top down, now has no boundaries or necessarily a physical presence at all. In one scenario, the whole workforce experience has been atomised into a series of smaller, arranged encounters while, in between these, often a workforce is isolated working alone for periods of the day. In another working model, some employees are in fact together in a professional environment while teammates join at defined periods throughout the day using remote collaboration technology. Employers must address how to replicate, replace or redefine that traditional face to face environment where so many behaviours are imitated to be learned.  

Innovation is a product of how people react to situations, not just driven by technological advancements, so giving people space to be creative in how they interact within their teams and the organisation as a whole can drive positive company culture. The working from home model taught employers they could trust in their teams to deliver great quality output in a less heavily managed environment, so the natural next step is to allow the workforce to drive cultural changes too. Outside of a 100% office based environment, senior roles, while defined by leadership, are not defined by physical boundaries such as offices and multiple closed door meetings. This brings a freedom to the workforce to develop as a positive force for good in terms of culture and behaviour. We must acknowledge how the lines have blurred and navigate a new approach to leadership that also defines the new approach to company culture. 

The peripheral value of working as a unit must also be considered. With talent said to be in undersupply in some sectors, how an employer still delivers on soft skills learning, knowledge transfer, hands on experience and social skill development remains unclear. Technology and collaboration tools get us so far and the value of in house data is consistently on the rise, delivering HR with unparalleled insights using machine learning and AI to support external staff development. If every organisation has a different employee experience, this will have a knock on effect to recruitment as the best talent looks to secure a position with an employer who offers the right hybrid solution for their personal work/life balance goals. 

Corporate innovation is not just about allowing free rein and sharing ideas. Your company direction and strategy need to be aligned. Leadership needs to have the courage to do things differently and know that change is a long term strategy as we work towards different working practices. 

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