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Flexible organisational models key for future of work

Companies should embrace the idea of using more than one organisational model as workplaces evolve in the future.

Speaking at CIPD ACE 2022 Katja Schipperheijn, founder of learning and engagement platform Habit of Improvement, said companies need to shift away from relying on one particular organisational model in their workplace.

She said: "Companies with a global HR function recognise different countries have different ways of working and different cultures. You can’t have only have one fixed organisational model.

"Companies need to look to cross-functional models that are flexible, understandable and work for their team."

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Betony Kelly, principal consultant for business change and adoption at Fujitsu, said businesses need to be wary of how much their employees can tolerate sweeping changes at work.

She said: "We need to start thinking about the psychological impact of people becoming more aware and able to communicate in organisations. I think that's something that will really help this idea of long-term operational models and design. We need to understand the mental and emotional capacity people have for risk taking at work.

"We now see more of our people in work, and I think that is an opportunity for organisations to think a little bit differently about bringing technology or innovation into an organisation – how much capacity do people have for anything new and different? They may still require more mental processing time."

Natalie Sheils, chief people officer at marketing agency Mosaic Group, said introducing automation will free up leaders to concentrate on big-picture thinking.

She said: "It will become important for organisations to think of their space and their people as a talent marketplace: how can we start to develop people with a broad spectrum of skills? Automation will help us do that as we take away from the routine tasks that we do on a day-to-day basis.

"It's a question of 'how do we nurture individuals while adhering to the business as a whole'. Once we can automate, we free ourselves for high-value work as people leaders."

Emphasis was placed on the importance of ESG for future workplaces.

Beth Whittaker, chief human resources officer at Veolia, said that younger employees who will dominate the future workforce will be influenced by how much effort companies put into their ESG strategies.

She said: "By the end of this decade, millennials and Gen Z will make up 72% of your workforce. And we know that these generations place a much greater importance on ESG. So if you really want to attract talent in the future, you're going to need to have a really compelling employee value proposition. One that really embeds ESG.

"If you want to attract, develop and retain the talent needed to really drive your ESG agenda, you're going to need to focus on sourcing assessing and developing talents that have the capability and the skills to drive change."