How HR can thrive in an age of disruption

by HRD14 Feb 2018

How should organisations respond to technological advances, like AI and robotics, which are disrupting industries and redefining value chains?

By distinguishing themselves from others, and transforming their work environment into a compelling experience, according to new research by Mercer.

However, only 52% of organisations worldwide have committed to help employees thrive at work.

Thriving in an Age of Disruption is Mercer’s latest research that delivers a blueprint on how to build a thriving organisation in today’s climate.

Garry Adams, Leader of Mercer’s Career business in the Pacific, said that as digitisation and disruption shape the next decade of work, companies that develop people strategies around these forces today, will be first in building the workforce for tomorrow.

“Thriving organisations do not happen by chance,” he said.

“They are deliberately designed and intentionally built. Most importantly, they create an atmosphere that enriches the lives of their workforce by meeting their needs and empowering them to contribute."

The Mercer Thrive report suggests four critical priorities that can help companies accelerate their performance and enable them to step successfully into the future of work:

  1. Craft a future-focused people strategy: Organisations need to approach their people strategy with as much dedication as they do with their innovation and digital strategies. Thriving organisations treat their workforce as an asset in which to invest – not simply a business cost.
  2. Curate a compelling employee value proposition: People want jobs that work for them. They want tools to manage work and life in a way that is personalised, flexible and unique to their own interests and aspirations.
  3. Create a thriving work environment: Individuals thrive when work is challenging and purposeful, when they feel empowered to make decisions and when they are connected to colleagues and experts.
  4. Cultivate a lab mindset: To stay ahead in changing times, cultivate a mindset that encourages experimentation, design thinking, balanced risk taking and a climate of continuous learning.

“Creating a thriving workforce isn’t easy,” said Adams. “It requires a comprehensive, multi-level approach that starts with leadership and culture.

Moreover, Ben Walsh, Managing Director and CEO of Mercer Australia said that in a period where the future is being revolutionised, leaders at the top should explore and refine business in ways not previously considered to transform the work environment into a compelling experience. 

“CEOs are now at a point where their commitment to leadership and inclusion within the workplace means much more than just ensuring balance sheets stay in the black,” said Mr Walsh. “At the core of all thriving organisations are CEOs and leadership teams who seek to do well while living their values.”

The research shows that a trusting work environment, a feeling of personal accomplishment, faith in senior leadership, clarity around career paths and a strategy that is responsive to external market shifts and societal needs explain 79% of employee confidence in the company they work for.

Additionally, the report cited that growth and development matters most to employees, followed closely by fair access to opportunities and equity in pay. Notably, Mercer’s research finds that employees who are energised and bring their authentic selves to work are 45% more invested in their role.

Adams said, “although this research shows that key indicators of a thriving workforce are also drivers of employee confidence, many of today’s people practices fall short in inspiring the very people at whom they are aimed. These findings suggest a new mandate for designing the future of work.”

The case for building a sustainable, thriving environment that prepares companies of all sizes for the changing future of work is strong. According to Mercer’s research, organisations with agile and purpose-driven cultures are more likely to have annual revenue growth, and employees who are energised by their job are more likely to stay and contribute to the company.

Walsh concluded that in an era of disruption, it is more important than ever before for companies to take a leading role in caring for the health, wealth and careers of their workforce in order to thrive.


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