March 12, 2018
Work is no longer a place but a set of activities which lead to a set of outcomes that could be delivered anywhere. Or as John Blackwell, Quora Consulting’s Managing Director succinctly described it at the first of the 2018 Quora Smartworking Summit’s held last week, organisations need to create a ‘smart everywhere’ environment. New digital platforms make far it easier for people to work in exactly the way they want. Research by Quora has revealed that there are 5 million people currently working in the UK gig economy or around 15.6 percent of the total workforce. More people are working post retirement age and want to work in a way that they can control, while there are increasing numbers who simply want more autonomy in their lives in the way that self-employment can offer. How well do organisations understand today’s talent landscape was the topic for discussion at the Summit, which featured an impressive line-up of luminaries, speaking under Chatham House rules, who shed some light on how leaders from tech, comms, public sector and media organisations are addressing the employee lifecycle journey.
One of the key messages was ‘what’s made you successful in the past is definitely not going to make you successful in the future’ and that means employers have got to make changes while figuring out what that’ll mean to individuals and teams. An effective way of improving engagement amongst the workforce is to create flexibility in the place of work, delegates were told. This is because the things that attract enduring investment are those that connect people to their purpose in life and their values.Two prime motivators are mastery, i.e. getting better at something and autonomy, by giving individuals control over their life and work. It is this kind of flexibility which allows people to determine how their working day will be and gives them the space to perform to the best of their abilities.
Another prime topic for discussion was what can be done to foster inclusivity within the workplace? This requires attracting and developing an employee base which supports both visible and invisible forms of diversity. This will encompass recognising the need for improved gender diversity as well as acknowledging neurodiversity, the needs of ex-servicemen or women, and extends to addressing the concerns of parents and carers.
In this way the Summit participant’s concurred, employers can offer people the kind of work they want, in the circumstances they want, in a way that is fair and sustainable.
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