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We all live and work in a constantly changing world and any business professional must adapt to remain relevant. Business leaders as well as those working in HR, however, are not only tasked with keeping up with the times themselves, they’re also expected to ensure the rest of the workforce is ready for new changes, challenges, and opportunities.
Researchers at Deloitte’s Center for the Edge argue that creating future-proof workforce goes beyond employee engagement. They surveyed more than 3,000 full-time US workers from 15 industries across various job levels about their attitudes toward work.
Based on their findings, they conclude that to succeed in an ever-changing environment, companies and their employees will need to keep learning in the form of creating new knowledge.
The researchers call this type of learning inherently high-risk as “it requires the willingness to fail as one seeks out new approaches that work”. They argue that leaders can help create a workforce ready to take those risks by nurturing engaged and passionate employees in three ways.
1. Leading by example
If you want your workforce to be willing to seek out and take on difficult challenges, someone needs to show them how it’s done. Commit to a personal change by ensuring you’re not shying away from challenges out of fear of failure.
“Find the passionate people in the organisation, and shine a light on their efforts – and your own – to build acceptance for risk-taking and experimentation,” the researchers recommend.
2. Provide focus
The survey results showed that employees often lack visibility into the impact of their efforts, and complex organisational structures prevent them from being able to address or even know about challenges. Help your employees understand what matters and where their efforts could make the biggest difference.
3. Create the environment
A risk-taking, challenge-seeking workforce requires an environment that encourages such behaviour. “Encourage employees to work with others with whom they can learn and let these workgroups begin to take on more responsibility and autonomy in doing the work of the organisation,” the researchers advise. In addition, be sure to recognise and celebrate efforts that lead to knowledge creation.