Socio-political unrest, a global pandemic, war in Europe, visible climate change, technological disruption… The past few years have been particularly dramatic – even life changing – for millions of people. It’s made many of us take stock, and ask questions about our lives and our work. It has increased levels of insecurity while also, perhaps paradoxically, increasing workforce expectations and demands.
All of it is having profound repercussions for employers.
Company leaders are challenged with both managing the critical issues affecting their business from ‘outside’ while simultaneously dealing with changing ‘internal’ workforce demands, expectations and requirements. Issues that were already important – such as diversity and inclusion or upskilling and wellbeing – have gathered momentum, while hitherto relatively insignificant issues – such as hybrid/remote working – have come to the fore. Talent scarcity is an immediate problem.
To ensure their company’s long term sustainability – and to comply with environmental, social and governance (ESG) regulations and wider stakeholder expectations – company leaders and HR functions are striving to understand the issues, find solutions and anticipate changes.
Indeed, ESG is increasingly central to companies’ strategic planning, brand and culture. It creates value, contributes to performance and competitiveness, strengthens stakeholder relationships and mitigates risks. All of this affects the workforce.
Companies need to act on a complex range of issues to start building a stable, sustainable workforce now.
Competing for talent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) areas that are evolving faster than workers and job seekers can be trained, while managing people with legacy skills on the payroll whose jobs will be automated.
The ‘great resignation’ triggered by Covid-19 has further highlighted the need for creating a total rewards, wellbeing and social benefits offer, including customised packages, to stand out among employers and reduce worker turnover.
Identifying systemic bias in workplace policies and practices, preventing discrimination and marginalisation, managing whistleblowing and creating an inclusive culture at all organisational levels.
Developing business strategies around the human impact of technology innovations such as AI, robotics and automation, and mitigating technology risks such as cybersecurity, mental health, job loss/insecurity or misinformation.
Accounting for issues such as ageing workforces or urban migration, and aligning people with different demographic profiles – and divergent behaviours and expectations – around a shared endeavour.
Ensuring compliance with existing and upcoming legislation — while keeping up with workers’ and other stakeholders’ changing expectations.
Assessing impacts and establishing policies linked to: mobility and environmental footprint; talent availability; leadership; wellbeing; diversity, equity and inclusion; and tax, social security and labour law compliance.
Increasing employee value perception by helping workers feel trusted (e.g. through hybrid/remote work or flexible workhours policies), cared for (wellbeing packages, etc.) and secure in times of social and economic instability.
“Workers’ expectations change faster than legislation. To attract and retain the people who will make your company thrive, you need to recognise and value the work, time and loyalty of every individual.”
The issues listed above are already facing employers today. In addition, there are always new challenges around the corner. PwC has identified 15 trends that are likely to grow in importance:
The economy will grow - with a constrained labour force
Hybrid work will evolve: enter the metaverse
Learning, skills, career pathways will become critical
Coaching will develop Power Skills in everyone
Talent Acquisition & Talent Mobility will converge
Every company will need a talent marketplace platform
Talent intelligence and skills taxonomy will be people strategy cornerstones
The intense focus on employee experience will become mainstream
Diversity will be reframed as “belonging, equity, and inclusion”
Pay & reward will get a serious refresh
Sustainability and global climate change will become HR priorities
Company will need to rearchitect their HR Technology
The people analytics crusade will touch on every aspect of your business
Building HR skills and capabilities will be nonnegotiable
The CHRO role will be integral to organisational success
PwC has a range of services and expertise to support you in analysing your business needs and practices, creating awareness and education, and setting principles and decisions around issues such as:
workforce strategy, including reskilling and upskilling
diverse, equal and inclusive leadership
culture of diversity, equity and inclusion
social justice (human rights, minimum labour rights, social dumping, discrimination)