Productivity and performance gains resulting from hybrid working during the pandemic may have come at the expense of longer term employee trust, said PwC recently when releasing results of a survey.
The survey draws on the views of almost 4,000 business and HR leaders from 26 countries and regions and 28 industry sectors on current workforce challenges and what the future of work may look like for companies, PwC noted.
- 57% of respondents saying their organisation performed better against workforce performance and productivity targets over the past 12 months, compared to a mere 4% saying their company performed significantly worse in that time.
- However, when it comes to the issue of employee trust, only 30% of the business and HR leaders strongly believe their organisation is building high levels of trust between workers and their direct supervisors.
- Burnout may be partially responsible — nearly three-quarters (74%) are not fully confident that workload is manageable enough for employees to make full use of personal time.
As businesses accelerate digital transformation, our findings highlight leadership and culture as crucial areas of execution risk, said Bhushan Sethi, Joint Global People and Organisation Leader, PwC US.
“The confluence of factors such as the potential for worker distrust, competitive talent markets and changing workforce expectations puts a greater emphasis on the role of leaders today — especially the need for inclusive leadership in a hybrid work environment,” Sethi pointed out.
Effective organisational planning can pay dividends
The research found effective organisational planning can pay dividends, according to PwC.
Companies that undertook both scenario-based planning (where leaders anticipate their needs for multiple possible futures) and dynamic planning (whereby leaders build responsiveness into plans) were 30 percentage points more likely to perform at or above financial and other targets than those who use neither approach, PwC said.
In addition, companies that undertake dynamic planning alone, compared to those who embark on scenario-based planning alone, see about a 10 percentage point advantage, the firm added.
Digitisation remains a top concern
Digitisation will continue to be a top concern for leaders, and there is currently a gap between the heightened role technology will play in the workforce strategy and an understanding of the risks, PwC said.
Only 21% of leaders surveyed strongly agreed that they can identify the potential risks caused by decisions to replace human work with technology, according to survey results.
only 25% strongly agreed they communicate clearly and consistently to employees and other stakeholders about the impact of automation and AI, survey results indicate.
A focus on skills needs should also be included as a planning imperative, PwC advised.
A third of the HR and business leaders surveyed say it’s very important to identify the skills the organisation will need in the future due to technological change but only 26% strongly agree they can currently do this, the firm noted.