The Human Touch: Three Top Workplace Trends Identified by the World’s Top Employers

Androna Benadè of the Top Employers Institute discusses the shift toward respecting individuality, listening carefully to employees, and working with a powerful sense of purpose.

He Top Employers Institute World Labor Trends Report 2023 provides business leaders with a deeper understanding of how global events will impact their people strategy in the coming months. The research, conducted among more than 2,000 certified Tier 1 employers worldwide, identified three main trends.

The employee experience will be super personalized

The Covid pandemic encouraged employees to reflect on what really matters to them, with the result that employers have had to work harder to attract, grow and retain their best people by appealing to their individual needs; What used to be “people-centric” now needs to change. become “person-centered.” Personalization has been made possible by digital HR, and more than three-quarters (78 percent) of certified major employers now have a vision of the role of digital HR in the overall employee experience – an increase 10 percent compared to two years ago.

But digital HR alone does not guarantee a quality, personalized experience for employees. “Super-personalization” of the employee experience can be further driven by:

  • Flexibility in the workplace. Nine in 10 major employers globally offer flexible ways of working, and nearly three-quarters (74 percent) offer employee travel optimized for remote work.
  • Wellbeing and benefits. Wellbeing has remained a top priority for organizations since the pandemic, with 92 percent of top employers incorporating it into work design and 58 percent addressing it in performance conversations.
  • Learning and professional development. The most progressive major employers are devoting more resources to this area: 43 percent now offer a career coach and 62 percent already offer mentoring and advice.

A great example of super-personalization can be seen in the Charge Forward Leadership program of the UK’s largest employer, Bentley Motors. Leaders complete a series of diagnostic tests, including 360-degree feedback, capabilities-based interviews, individual style profiles, and logical reasoning. All leaders then receive an individual development report and have a 90-minute session with an external coach to discuss the results of their assessment, focusing specifically on their strengths and areas of development. Following this, all leaders hold development conversations with their line manager and create a tailored plan comprising on-the-job learning and off-the-job development opportunities.

Leaders listen to the heartbeat of the organization.

A key trend in the report has been the growth of “leadership listening” approaches. Specifically, the research shows that in 2023:

  • 44 percent of major employers worldwide have a strategy for listening to their employees.
  • 55 percent have an integrated approach to listening techniques.

Securitas UK, a leading certified employer, recognized the importance of creating an integrated listening approach across the business, using everything from giving senior executive leaders face-to-face time with frontline workers to the use of chatbots and AI-powered surveys to ensure they best understand how workers work. feel about the direction of the business and the reality of work.

To ensure that what the company was hearing was truly a reflection of the reality of the workforce, Securitas focused on building important foundations of workplace culture, such as belonging and safety, and ensuring that employees could ask questions to executives regularly, like in the city. hallways.

An approach that uses both technology and human facets (such as the use of sentiment analysis software that communicates with workers and, if necessary, allows for follow-up with a line manager) emphasizes that the employee voice is heard , which the company wants to hear. and that listening will also be followed by action.

Positive impact: the new North Star

Finally, a clear commitment to “positive impact” on the world will be the new lodestar for everything enlightened companies do in the future. Positive impact among major employer organizations can be defined and achieved in three ways:

  • Nine in 10 (91 percent) of major employers currently have a defined purpose. A truly “lived” purpose works best when it comes directly from the hearts of all those who work there and remains a constant in their daily decisions.
  • The purpose of any organization can only be as good as the opinions it allows itself to be heard. This is why three-quarters (76 percent) of major employers now say they ensure diverse representation across multiple levels of the organization – an increase from 15 percent in 2022. Enlightened attitudes toward D&I They are not only imperative in their own right but also for the drive for a broader positive impact on society.
  • Finally, sustainability is key to determining how organizations behave as good employers. Three in five (62 percent) of major employers in 2023 will systematically have a dashboard showing social and environmental performance.

Here in the UK, a clear commitment to “positive impact” can be seen at Foster + Partners, a leading certified employer. The Foster + Partners Accountability Framework (FRF) has been at the heart of its business since its development in 2014, informing work on masterplans, buildings, products and business operations and forming the platform for its corporate, social and environmental responsibility. (strategy and annual report The FRF is made up of 10 interconnected themes (wellbeing, community impact, social equity, energy and carbon, mobility and connectivity, resources, water, land and ecology, feedback and planning for change), allowing Foster + Partners clearly articulate and apply your values ​​and social purpose. Having a clear framework is also key to communicating your purpose and values ​​to your employees, partners and clients.

He Report on world labor trends reveals a strong sense of humanity that runs through these three tendencies. Every organization must evaluate how far it has pushed personalization into the daily employee experience, whether its leaders are truly listening to their people, and whether a clear commitment to positive impact on society will be the north star of everything they do.

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