The business landscape has changed drastically in the last twenty years, and perhaps even more so in the last two. It’s vital that organisational development managers adapt to the ever-changing needs of each industry, while also curating a great work environment for its employees, to create a thriving modern business.
We live in a fast-paced world, and things will continue to change and shift at an accelerated rate. This includes businesses, employees, and leadership. It takes strong and clear management to lead a team through the changes and challenges of a 21st-century workplace.
Challenges facing modern businesses
There are many challenges businesses are now facing that are new and unknown. While modern technology has allowed us to broaden our horizons and opened the doors to new and exciting ways of working, it’s not without its issues. With all new inventions, comes unheard-of and brand-new problems.
A few problems facing modern businesses are:
Though working from home and hybrid working models have helped businesses and employees have a more balanced work and home life, some worries about productivity can arise.
- Employee retention
More than ever, employees are changing jobs quicker, and staying with one company for an entire career is not as common as it once used to be. Employees will ultimately stay if it’s a right ‘fit’ for them.
- Talent acquisition
Skills and labour shortages present great opportunities for jobseekers, but can be a major concern for some businesses. Having an enticing workforce is necessary.
Generation Z, those born in ‘96 and beyond – who essentially only have memories of the 21st century – are less likely to stay at their job for more than two years, and have a heavy emphasis on wellbeing. This group of workers will make up one-third of the global workforce.
They don’t know or resign to the belief of the 20th century working systems, because they have simply never had to work within them. It’s time for leaders to create a strong and positive company culture to keep up with the needs of the newest generation of employees.
A fully engaged workforce
Organisational cultures need to move from communities of the compliant to communities of the willing – a workforce happy to use initiative, committed to their organisations, and passionate about their work.
To do this management must reinvent itself – to shift its paradigms from control-based success to freedom-based success – to reinvent itself so that it inspires people to use all of their capabilities in their workplaces every day. Hierarchical management facilitates planning and organising, but it certainly does not facilitate initiative, commitment, and passion – the gifts people give to their organisation when they are fully engaged.
This is more necessary than ever when 67% of Australians are now either working from home* or undertaking a hybrid working model. Connection is now virtual – and managers have to pivot and figure out how their employees want to stay engaged and involved. This lends to the new way of life where employees’ needs and wants getting met are a key component to creating success.
*Source: Australian Institute of Family Studies
The modern business model
Much of 20th Century management theory was directed at achieving a ‘robotic’ response from its workforce – the ‘one best way, performed, consistently, on command and without question’.
The simple truth is machines make great robots, humans don’t. Management must find ways of unleashing and co-ordinating the profound power and challenges of the humanness of its workforce. Humanness describes those attributes that make us human – the pair of hands, plus the brain, plus the heart, beliefs, and ethics. Human beings are social beings who thrive in competent relationships and struggle in dysfunctional relationships.
Successful modern cultures will deliver on the following critical ‘human needs’:
- Dignity – each person will know that they are respected as the individual they are.
- Equity – each person will be treated and remunerated equitably and ethically.
- Significance – each person will have a sense of purpose and achievement in the job roles. with the consequent opportunity to take pride in what they do.
- Communication – each person shares 360° communication about their job, its role in achieving their organisation’s objectives, and progress towards attaining those objectives.
- Identify/Inclusion – each person will have a sense of belonging and inclusion in their workplace.
- Safety – each person will feel safe – physically, emotionally, and intellectually.
Delivering on these will ‘flick the switch’ on passion, creativity, and commitment. Essential managerial skills to facilitate this will also include:
- Intellectual intelligence – ‘grey matter grunt’
- Emotional Intelligence – characterised by strong interpersonal relationships maturity
- Ethical Intelligence – the ability to know the right thing to do and the courage to do it.
Successful human relationships are premised on trust and respect. Without these, the quality of the relationship is compromised. The above three intelligences go a long way in underpinning competent relationships. Relationships will remain the largest single factor influencing human productivity, as we aim to reconnect through as many channels as we’ve ever had before.
People are generally favouring a strong work/life balance over salary, and fostering that going forward is how you will build a thriving modern business. Boundaries are important and clear, and healthy relationships with open communication and trust are absolutely paramount.
Organisations inevitably have to be different to respond to the challenges modern business. Those that do it ‘smart’ will have a great commercial advantage, particularly those that recognise the huge potential of the management of ‘humanness’. The College for Adult Learning can help your organisation change its management style to develop and encourage employees who are effective, efficient, and engaged in turn producing highly successful organisations.
CAL’s Diploma of Business (Organisational Development) (BSB50120) teaches you the key skills to support the strategic development of people and culture within any business.
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