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The Future Workforce Will Need a Workplace Of Trust And One That Engages Them While Honouring Flexibility The future will require that companies focus on output, outcomes and employee productivity to make up for the impact of the pandemic on various industries

By Sumeet Doshi

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The pandemic, with its mixed bag of adversities and life-altering learnings, has also given birth to a new ideology on how to approach work, the workplace and the workforce. It saw employers take a keen interest in both physical and mental health of their employees and take the future of workforce management into boardroom discussions. The pandemic taught what was previously inconceivable by most companies; an indefinite call for work from home, is the new normal. As employers plan for their workforce re-entry into the place of work, there are several possibilities being evaluated given that a remote workforce will continue to be in the mix making for a hybrid work model.

The future will require that companies focus on output, outcomes and employee productivity to make up for the impact of the pandemic on various industries. And all of this will need to be done with an employee-centric approach as it has now been proven more than ever that businesses are built around people and not the other way round. With a multi-generational workforce this is not as easy as it seems and definitely a philosophy of "different strokes for different folks' will need to be adopted, especially when it comes to the youthful population of the workforce. With Gen Zs and Gen Alphas now entering the workforce, employers need to make a conscious effort to understand what keeps them ticking and plan accordingly. A few considerations that could be looked at include:

Millennials and Gen Z need a chance to express their voice and flexibility in the way they operate

According to a global survey conducted by The Workforce Institute at UKG, 35 per cent of Gen Z workforce demand schedule flexibility to deliver their best work. They bring new expectations to the workplace, driven by their digital upbringing and self-identified emotional barriers to success. They have strong feelings about how and when they want to work, especially compared with generations past. Also, today's youth are inquisitive and believe in equality, transparency, and fair work practices.

Over the years, it's becoming increasingly apparent that it is not just about monetary benefits, the youth also want job benefits that demonstrate a culture of caring coupled with purpose, connection, authenticity, motivation, and sense of belonging. Another research presented by The Workplace Institute indicates India is one of the top three countries where younger workers feel their seniors have ignored their voice. The study further highlights that organisations are much more likely to perform well financially when their employees feel heard, engaged and have a sense of belonging

Working styles must to evolve to meet the needs of the new generation

With the younger generation increasingly preferring the flexibility of gig over traditional jobs, yet hesitant on the lack of stability such jobs provide, organizations need to look at how to combine flexibility with stability to attract the best of this talent pool. Most of the Gen Z population do admit, limited experience in working with teams but still concur that access to senior leaders in the company is critical to workplace success creating the need for the right amount of handholding and mentoring.

Working under leaders who trust them, being given the right tasks to work on and having independence at work with the ability to control schedules, take the right vacation and break are all critical to this group according to the same study by the Workforce Institute. All of these indicate that the right mix of flexibility and oversight is key to enabling the success of today's youth.

Empower more, manage less

The future workforce will look for more direction and guidance from their leaders and less scrutiny and control. They will require tools that will help them maximise on their efficiency at the workplace so that they can distribute their energies across their areas of interests and learning new skills. They will look forward to a place that is equitable and values them irrespective of their mode of work, remote or onsite, and allow for a frictionless work experience. Most workers today, being digital natives, expect their work and workplace to be digital first too. As organisations are currently undergoing transformation, most of them are exploring enterprise tech tools that can help organisations get better visibility into their workforce, their availability, deployment, and compliance with the labour laws. These investments are the need of the hour to leverage the best of your talent while growing your bottom line.

It's the company's responsibility to create meaningful, connected work experiences for them. A hybrid model of working which promotes organisational integration, communication, collaboration, and connectivity will drive the essential modifications considering the future of work. A robust and modernised workforce management solution can help organisations build a bridge between the company's top leaders and young employees and provide employers with quick, real-time, and unlimited information about the younger workforce's needs and requirements. It also helps create an environment of transparency, which encourages young employees to improve their agility and engagement. In the ongoing war for talent the winners will be those who keep in mind the evolving needs of the youth of today and tomorrow.

Sumeet Doshi

Country Manager-India, Ultimate Kronos Group

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