The Future Of Work

Last week I had the good fortune of delivering a new strategic workshop in collaboration with Don MacPherson of Modern Survey.  Don and I examined the future of work and the opportunity that HR professionals have to drive business performance through employee engagement. We leveraged the most current data set from Modern Survey research in an effort to facilitate a robust discussion related to what is next in talent strategy and workforce readiness.

I am including a snapshot of the data set used to drive our discussion below. It reveals a few important insights related to leadership and the future of work. With 65% of our workforce still classified as “underengaged” (actually an improvement) and only 22% of recent survey respondents actively seeking alternative employment, it would appear many companies have employees committed mainly to cashing their paychecks.  That takes its toll on productivity and performance.

While confidence in the future of the organization is improving, confidence in senior leadership is not.  Only 41% of employees have confidence in senior leadership. Simply put senior leadership has a long way to go in repairing trust and restoring confidence.  Embracing a more progressive approach to leadership is going to be required to meet the evolving and elevated expectations of today’s workforce.

What immediate actions can HR influence and leaders take to improve employee engagement?  This a good place to start:

Confidence:  Employees need to buy into a clearly communicated vision for the future and strategy for execution.  More effective communication from the top  drives alignment, minimizes confusion, mitigates apathy and elevates confidence.  The data set shows sings of improvement.  We still have a long way to go.

Recognition: Appreciation and feedback matter.  A low cost/high return investment for leadership at all levels of the organization.

Career Development:  A critical consideration among the high performer/high potential set and a mandate among our next generation workforce.  Invest in people and be proactive about initiating career path and future directed conversations.

Personal Accomplishment:  People want to make meaningful progress and contribute to worthwhile goals.  Leadership can also help by connecting the work to larger team objectives.

We welcome thoughts an feedback on the workshop or the enclosed research in the comments section.  Thanks!

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