Deloitte study: While most respondents believe harnessing disruption is key to innovation, only 9% of New Zealand respondents believe their leaders are doing it today
Deloitte's 2023 Global Human Capital Trends report, New Fundamentals for a Boundaryless World, examines how leaders are managing the slew of global, economic and societal changes and how organisations can succeed in a constantly evolving environment by evolving with it.
Overall, respondents to the study recognise the boundaries that have traditionally governed the rules of work — the way jobs are organised, where work happens, and who qualifies for specific roles - are falling away.
The vast majority of businesses, 93% of NZ and 87% of global respondents understand the need for defining new fundamentals in today's world of work, but only 7% of New Zealand respondents feel their organisations are very ready to address this trend.
In the near term, 59% of New Zealand respondents report they will shift their focus towards reimagining their workforce models. This focus indicates that there is great potential for reward in coming up with a new approach toward work, workers and the workplace. However, global survey respondents ranked leadership capability among the top barriers for seven of the nine trends explored in the report showing there is still much work ahead collectively for organisations to evolve for future success.
“To thrive in our boundaryless world, organisations must define and embrace new fundamentals and find the right workplace model for their people as well as overcome leadership barriers to succeed in an evolving environment,” said Lauren Foster, Deloitte New Zealand Human Capital Partner.
Reimagining work: The end of jobs
Even though work today is primarily defined by discrete jobs and descriptions of specific tasks, many see this as an outdated notion. According to Deloitte's skills-based organisation survey, only 19% of executives and 23% of workers say work is best structured that way.
This reflects what many are already seeing in their workplaces, with 63% of executives reporting that workers are focused on team and project work outside their current job descriptions. “Organisations are more effective and people thrive when they are able to apply their full breadth of skills across a range of projects and work rather than limiting them to a specific role or activity because of their job title,” added Ms Foster.
With this changing idea of what makes teams most effective, organisations are seeking ways to change the work and how it is organised and inclusively accessible. For example, 93% of global respondents said moving away from a focus on jobs is important or very important to their organisation's success. Yet only 20% believe their organisation is very ready to tackle the challenge, representing the largest readiness gap of all trends surveyed. In New Zealand only 47% of respondents believe they have access to a workforce with the right skills to meet their business needs. Should organisations decide to urgently address this gap, additional benefits of transitioning away from jobs include unleashing worker potential to drive value, making their teams more likely to innovate and improve processes to maximise efficiency.
Reimagining workforce: Worker agency is key
In today's online and interconnected world, public awareness of an organisation’s impact on society is playing an ever-growing role in workers' decisions on where to work. For example, two in five Gen Z and millennial respondents to a Deloitte survey have rejected a job or assignment because it did not align with their values. By contrast, organisations who commit to a clear purpose or mission see notable benefits — half of the executives surveyed in the trends report saw increased worker retention and well-being.
Reimagining the workplace: Designing work for a boundaryless world
As worker agency grows and technology accelerates, organisations should challenge the idea of workplaces only being physical locations. It's a concept that has been under pressure for some time, with digital work access growing in popularity even before the pandemic. Three years after the initial impact of COVID-19, 78% of New Zealand respondents said that workers are using increased agency to negotiate work location and 70% said workers were negotiating when they work. In response to workers negotiating location, 62% of respondents said their organisation was redesigning existing work processes to reflect this change and 58% said the same about responding to workers negotiating their flexible work arrangements.
This evolution of the workplace calls on leaders to evolve with their workforces, as evidenced by 94% of global respondents who believe leadership capabilities and effectiveness are important to their organisation's success, the highest importance score across all trends. However, from a New Zealand perspective, just 9% of respondents said that their leaders were harnessing disruption as a catalyst to drive innovation and unlock net new outcomes, while 62% said that it would be the most critical role that leaders in their organisation would need to play in the next two-to-four years.
“To succeed in today's world of work, New Zealand leaders must be able to embrace change, inspire their teams, and create a culture of continuous learning and improvement. This involves recognising the need for new fundamentals in the way work is organised, where it happens, and who qualifies for specific roles, and being willing to redesign existing work processes to reflect these changes,” concluded Hamish Wilson, Deloitte New Zealand Human Capital Partner.
The insights gathered for this report leverage Deloitte's scenario planning methodology and are fuelled by research findings from a combination of social media polling, live survey polling, AI-enabled focus groups, and interviews with business and HR executives across industries and — for the first-time in the 11-year history of Deloitte's “Global Human Capital Trends” report — hundreds of workers from all over the world.
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