Top 3 Corporate-Culture Focus Areas
As we enter our third year of the pandemic, flexibility in our approach to various problems has become routine. While HR used to follow a one-size-fits-all approach, that’s not so true now. Listening and developing programs around the needs of the individuals are the way forward.
Even the word flexibility is being reconsidered. For example, Jessica DeGroot, founder and president of the ThirdPath Institute, prefers the term "strategic flexibility." She views the issue holistically: Strategic flexibility is workplace flexibility for men and women, from entry-level to executive leadership positions, that takes into account whether they work better onsite or offsite. She also includes life stages, recognizing that employees' needs change.
Also, the employees of today not only need change, but they want to change. "People want more flexibility...we understand that is the new normal," said Vinita Clements, chief human resources officer at Nationwide. "We've had to balance the needs of our associates and their desires and also understand the needs of our customers and how do we deliver on the promise to protect people, businesses, and futures?" Governments are also looking at greater flexibility.
For example, New Zealand’s and Finland’s prime ministers have floated the idea of a four-day workweek. Also, Britain’s Labour Party in 2019 campaigned on the idea that workweeks would be shortened in the next decade. Last year, Japan's annual economic policy guidelines revealed the country would encourage employers to adopt four-day workweeks.
Panasonic is reportedly introducing an optional four-day workweek for employees, allowing its workers to spend less time working and more time enjoying being alive. They will offer its workers a third day off per week. Panasonic CEO Kusumi Yuki noted they may opt to further their studies, volunteer, or even work a side job. "We must support the wellbeing of our employees," said Kusumi, as reported by Nikkei Asia.
Three-quarters of UK workers now say work-life balance is more important to them than it was pre-pandemic, and employers are starting to respond to this. The number of jobs advertised as remote has increased by roughly 20% since 2020, as demand increases, and both companies and staff alike have begun to understand that wanting to work flexibly is not necessarily negative or due to a lack of commitment. For many workers, it’s become about how their career fits with their lifestyle – it’s a ‘want’ rather than a ‘need’ that can help increase their quality of life.
The future well-being of our employees is hinged on the flexibility of our corporate culture. This brings us to our second corporate culture point of focus area for 2022 and beyond, “well-being.