Employees have never been more prepared to switch career paths, learn new skills and take on entirely new roles. At the same time companies around the globe change tack to survive a post-pandemic world, a recent study has found has revealed up to 70% of employees are willing to retrain for completely new and different jobs. Not only that, one fifth of those workers surveyed by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in May this year were actively looking for new jobs while just over half said they would be open to searching for a new position.

BCG canvassed 10,500 knowledge workers across Australia, US, Japan, Germany France and the UK for its wide-reaching survey into workplace sentiment. Along with discovering most respondents craved change and believed the grass was greener elsewhere, researchers found over three quarters also desired more flexibility in the way they worked – 92% in when they worked and 76% in where they worked. Other findings included the growing importance of a company’s stance on both diversity and climate when it came to choosing an employer.

Issues such as these mean that yesterday’s business models will not survive without a “bold new approach” BCG researchers conclude in the recent report How To Prepare for the Future of Work. How to Prepare for the Future of Work - Future of Work | BCG “No one-size-fits-all model exists,” they state, “but every business can take steps to ensure that its functions and infrastructure are ready for the future.”  

Here are 6 Steps BCG recommends companies take right now along with a few Australian organisations already well on track for post-pandemic prosperity.

1. Proactively create a better reality:

Take the lead by encouraging employee vaccinations, revising healthy and safety policies. Anticipate possibilities and plan for multiple outcomes.

2. Decide where work is done:

Define core objectives to determine whether work is best carried out wholly or partially onsite or primarily offsite. Adjust as necessary and support employees with the right tools, space and training if necessary.

One large Australian organisation to recently overhaul workplace strategy in favour of flexibility is Thryv Australia, owner of the Yellow and White Pages. Last week Thryv announced the closure of its Melbourne head office and introduced a ‘Work From Anywhere’ (WFA) policy that allows employees to be located across Australia. Thryv Australia CEO John Allan described the move as among the biggest in the company’s 140-year history, telling Mumbrella: “Companies across the world are grappling with ever-changing regulations, ongoing lockdowns and myriad conditions to choose the most appropriate working model for their teams.”

Thryv employees will still have face-to-face contact in the form of regular in-person meetings for the purposes of brainstorming and social events. On the WFA side, Thryv is ensuring optimal connectivity by implementing the latest cloud-based technologies, as well as training, social and communication programs. Employee well-being and social connection are critical components of the new WFA strategy, hence a series of fun ‘Thryv Live’ events featuring comedians and entertainers.

In the United States, PricewaterhouseCoopers also made headlines this month by announcing the same style of workplace policy, making it one of the biggest employers to embrace permanent remote work. All 40,000 US-based PwC client services employees will be allowed to work virtually from anywhere in the US. Those who choose to do so will need to attend the office up to three days’ a month for face-to-face meetings, training and client visits.

3. Future-proof your company technology:

Prioritise cybersecurity, hire talented technical staff, acquire the latest in digital capabilities and accelerate the use of artificial intelligence and virtual reality. BCG found that 75% of executives believe digital transformation is now one of the corporate world’s most urgent priorities given changes wrought by the pandemic.

Fast-growing Australian fitness and nutrition brand EHPLabs is one company to have made the most of connecting with customers via digital technology right from its inception in 2012. EHPLabs currently reaches over 90 million people worldwide through aggregated social media channels and through athlete ambassadors including global fitness coach Lauren Simpson.

Within the next month the innovative Aussie outfit – which grew 57.7% in the last year alone to conclude FYE June 30 2021 with $88.7 million in revenue  - will launch a new mobile commercial channel via its EHP Fit App. The aim of the FitTech offering is to build and scale value-adding workouts, meal plans and other features with the long-term goal being to develop AI and VR technologies to learn more about customers’ fitness and diet habits. 

“We’re obsessed and completely focussed on enhancing the customer experience,” said EHPLabs founder and owner Izhar Basha. “Right now the world is all about mobile and bringing the virtual world into reality – and you can only enhance value if you become a repository for customer information and then understand what it is telling you.”

4. Focus on customer outcomes & give people what they really want:

Look beyond simply supplying goods and services to ways of solving problems and providing more meaningful outcomes. 

5. Attract top talent:

Employees are after flexible workplaces where they feel connected, able to learn and encouraged to develop new skills.

At EHPLabs for example, Mr Basha said as soon as covid hit, 22 staff in the suddenly-defunct sales and distribution department were retrained within days to run the online customer experience and online live chat. Likewise, when global sales froze the gun-sales-person managing the team underwent a two-week crash course in social media athlete management. “Being able to retrain and reallocate people into areas that are thriving gives them both job security as well as terrific insight into other areas of the business,” Mr Basha said.  The company will soon be recruiting at least 45 new roles in digital marketing and product development.

6. Adapt leadership styles to meet new challenges:

Managers are increasingly having to run workforces across the globe, in different time zones across locations worldwide. Old-fashioned management practices based on watching over workers must be replaced with a focus on fostering culture, setting objectives and enabling teams to thrive.