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5 changes to workplace culture that HR can drive in 2021

5 changes to workplace culture that HR can drive in 2021



As we kick off the year, there is always speculation about what lies ahead for the next 12 months. However given the unknowns, the intrigue and uncertainty this year are greater than ever.

According to a recently published report by O.C. Tanner's 2021 Global Cultural Report, the year ahead promises to be one of “crisis, opportunity and compelling data”.

Here are the five big changes predicted by the research, factoring in the impact of the pandemic.

#1 Digital transformation continues apace

Getting buy-in from employees is a crucial factor in the success of an organisation’s digital transformation. 

“Most organisations assume employees are afraid of artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies. The research shows any fear is more nuanced and centres on how the organisation implements new tools,” the report states.

It also suggests that companies perform at their best when they weigh the impact technology will have on the employee experience and work culture.

Employees are ready to get on board with this. Almost two- thirds (65%) are optimistic about new technology at their company, while 32% of companies are culturally ready to embrace new technology.  

#2 Increase in transparency

The research revealed that organisations that have increased their transparency since March have experienced and 85% boost to employee engagement and a 152% jump in a willingness to do more.

Conversely, organisations without a formal recognition programme have a 20% higher score in intention-to-leave amid employees, a 49% decrease in engagement and a two-fold increase in fear of Covid-19.

#3 Recognition a crucial factor

Companies with integrated recognition are 73% less likely to have had layoffs in the past year and 44% less likely to have had employees suffering from burnout.

According to O.C. Tanner, “When organisations use programmes and tools that elevate the role of recognition and enable authentic connection, cultural and business success follows. Embedding recognition into culture allows it to become the natural response to great work across the organisation.”

oc tanner recognition

#4 Organisational culture

HR and senior leaders have a key role to play in consolidating the changes to the workplace forged by the impact of Covid-19.

“Leaders will need to find ways to bring people back together, even if it means doing this remotely, and some leaders may even need to strip everything back and re-build a more positive, connected and purpose-driven culture from the ground up,” the research states.

#5 Focus on diversity & inclusion

A number of studies published over the past year have highlighted the fact that many employees believe their companies initiatives in D&I are not sincere. Business leaders need to up the ante and take real action with their D&I programmes.

Also read: Top 100 companies for diversity & inclusion in 2020

“Organisations can no longer remain silent on social issues. Employees expect their companies to be vocal on issues of injustice and inequity and this includes a greater emphasis on D&I,” the research explains.

This is an especially salient point given that Gen Z now makes up the vast majority of the workforce – a cohort with a strong focus on social issues.

Images courtesy O.C. Tanner

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