In the new era of work, organizations need to foster a culture that promotes trust, transparency, inclusion and empowerment. With the hybrid work model being on the rise, employees need to be trusted and empowered to structure their work and make decisions on how to best perform their tasks. Not only do employees need management’s consent to lead themselves, they also need the ability to do so. This requires an understanding of how their work contributes to the organization’s purpose and overall goals.
Given the importance of corporate culture and the move to a more distributed workforce, business leaders should take the opportunity to pause and assess the current state of their culture. In doing so, they should deliberately evolve it to achieve their business, people and customer objectives. Those who keep people at the center of their efforts will find opportunities to match the needs of the business with the needs of people through values and behaviors. With a deliberate culture blueprint in hand, leaders can effectively shift culture and differentiate as one of the great, not just the good.
Leadership in the new normal
The role of trust-based leadership in building and transforming the organization for the new era of work cannot be overemphasized. Going forward, organizations require what is called an “adaptive” leadership — one that is based on leading with emotional intelligence, focusing on shared values, and fostering continuous learning and development for everyone.
The role of a leader has changed over the past decade. This evolution was accelerated by the organizational turbulence caused by the pandemic and the changes in how we conduct work. In this new environment, successful leaders have demonstrated personal resilience, the ability to lead teams virtually, to connect, to be empathetic, and tackle the hard task of decision making. Sixty-five percent of respondents in the EY Work Reimagined Employee Survey 2021 agree or strongly agree that their manager or leader is effective at their job regardless of whether they are on-site or remote.
To successfully lead teams in the new era of work, leaders need empathy, encourage collaboration, innovation and experimentation, and adopt a digital mindset.
Reimagining the people experience
An organization’s ability to attract and retain new talent now depends heavily on their ability to offer a flexible working environment. As the EY Work Reimagined Employee Survey 2021 shows, 9 out of 10 employees want flexibility in where and when they work. If forced to choose between flexibility in work location and work time, a majority of employees (54%) prefer flexibility in when they work, with flexible start and finish times being on top of the list, followed by options for a compressed or four-day workweek.