By systematically analyzing workplace, cultural and behavioural
data collected over the last several years, we can extrapolate key
trends and changes most likely to continue through 2018 and be-yond;
here are four to watch.
TREND ONE: AGILITY AND INNOVATION
It’s the hottest topic in every boardroom across the country. When we
ask CEOs what keeps them up at night, the most common response
is “speed of change.” This is rooted in a systemic digital disruption
that is, one by one, turning every industry on its head. In the first
wave, we saw new technology from companies like Netflix, Uber and
Airbnb disrupt incumbent players in their respective fields. A combi-nation
of small fin-techs and blockchain technology will do the same
in finance. It doesn’t matter what you sell; if you weren’t a tech firm
before, you’re going to be. This why executives across Canada are so
fixated on innovation and agility; it’s change or die.
So, what is an agile organization? In simplest terms, it’s one with
a change-ready mindset. One that moves quickly and decisively
in reaction to a new competitor or shifts in the market. It means
being more tuned-in and responsive to your customers. At the in-dividual
level, agile organizations favour growth-minded staff that
are open, curious and able to adapt. At the top, it requires lead-ers
to up their communication game because the corporate vision
(and road map for getting there) is more fluid than ever before.
TREND TWO: RESILIENCE
The flip-side of the agility coin is resilience and it’s unfortunate that
this theme hasn’t had more airtime in the C-suite. If you plan to be
more innovative and agile, then you’re also assuming a higher tol-erance
for certain risks. Being first-to-market means that, at least
some of the time, you’ll be first to make mistakes, so you need to
put a safety net in place before asking employees to take that plunge.
This safety net comes in the form of a high-trust culture. As
an organization, there are documented, concrete steps your man-agers
can take to build a reservoir of trust. Great Place to Work®
has identified three characteristics of a high-trust relationship be-tween
an employee and employer: credible leaders, respect for
employees and a sense of fair play.
When these core elements of trust are in place, you will be bet-ter
positioned to bounce back from organizational challenges that
may be associated with agility and speed.
WHEN THESE CORE ELEMENTS
OF TRUST ARE IN PLACE, YOU
WILL BE BETTER POSITIONED
TO BOUNCE BACK FROM
THAT MAY BE ASSOCIATED
WITH AGILITY AND SPEED.
TREND THREE: INCLUSION
Business leaders everywhere recognize diversity in all its forms as
a competitive advantage. Diverse perspectives drive creativity, in-novation
and foster a feeling among employees that their opinion
matters, which encourages them to give their best effort. But this
isn’t new. What’s new is the understanding that diversity isn’t the
goal – inclusion is.
Diversity is something that can be counted; it is a measurement
of the differences between people. You can tally the percentage of
employees from any given demographic group. You can set diversi-ty
targets and know precisely when those are achieved.
Through recruitment efforts and good hiring practices, you
may hit those diversity targets. But without an inclusive culture,
all those people you brought in through the front door will slip
straight out the back. As employers, it’s our job to cultivate an ex-perience
of a workplace where everyone feels valued, respected
TREND FOUR: DATA ANALYTICS
A lot of companies are talking about this, but few have har-nessed
its full potential. Big data is a term that describes the large
volume of data – both structured and unstructured – that inun-dates
a business on a day-to-day basis. Analytics is how we utilize
this data to predict critical relationships between people, culture
Google, for example, can predict the future performance of an
employee based on his or her response to a specific interview
question. Great Place to Work® can systematically link employee
survey and culture assessment data with key performance in-dicators
to help companies predict the individual behaviours
most likely to drive success. The goal, in both cases, is to arm
your executives with the empirical evidence they need to make
Advanced analytics has rapidly ascended from the playground
of technical analysts or “data geeks” to the business agendas of
C-suites because of its clear impact on the bottom line. If your
company hasn’t yet developed the capacity to undertake this type
of initiative internally, consider engaging an external support to
do so. n
Jen Wetherow is a senior director at Great Place to Work® Canada.
Panumas Yanuthai / Shutterstock.com
32 ❚ FEBRUARY 2018 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL