The pandemic has seen the rise of a new individualism among employees, one that will require a completely new set of requirements from organisational culture, a major new report has flagged.
The latest Fjord Trends report from services giant Accenture, an annual publication aimed at providing firms with practical guidance, found that employees were re-assessing what they wanted and expected from a company culture and employee value proposition.
It identified a trend for people to question who they were and what mattered to them. “In many cases, they’re finding new confidence to show up as themselves,” stated the report. “There’s also a growing humanisation of the workforce; professional and private lives are blending more, and admitting to not being okay is no longer a sign of weakness at work.”
People were feeling a stronger sense of agency over how and where they spend their time and attention, which was part of a trend toward individualism and independence.
This meant, said the research authors, that enhancing workplace flexibility, benefits packages, and greater employee care and compassion would continue to be notable trends in 2022.
Abbie Walsh, chief design officer, Accenture Interactive, said the pandemic had resulted in lasting changes to the way we live. She said: “Staff now see through gimmicky benefits and expect more from their employer for a better lifestyle overall. Our latest Fjord Trends report, shows that people have started questioning who they are and what matters to them and want real initiatives that support a better home life, such as flexible hours or childcare assistance.”
Walsh added this situation brought “great opportunities for businesses to create positive relationships which will develop a way of working which is better for people, society and the planet”.
The report describes a “rising individualism” underlined by a “me over we” mentality that had serious ramifications for organisations in how they led their employees, how they designed a new employee value proposition, and how they nurtured their relationships with colleagues.
The authors predict that, in the coming year, designing key performance indicators that measure the benefit/risk to people and their relationships will be a differentiator.
The concept of the “caring business” will come to the fore, finds the report. This entails designing internal processes and rules to reduce employees’ mental load – with the aim of building care into systems.
“In all aspects of work, employers can declutter the organisation of the things that most frustrate employees, and make cumbersome experiences invisible and easy, giving people space to do the work they’re meant to do,” stated the authors.
“Caring businesses will look for ways to minimise the noise, (such as communications, internal processes, external products/services), to give people more time and space for the things that matter. It’s also important to provide a differentiated experience for employees. Amid the widespread shift to remote working, and the rise in tech tools, work has often become more transactional. Companies must adjust the balance of the employee experience to be about more than just task productivity.”