Using benchmarking, workforce analytics and upskilling to build a values-driven culture
- 6 Min Read
Companies have an abundance of employee data at their fingertips. PwC believes efficient use of new technology will set apart companies looking to retain employees through culture and opportunity
Digital acceleration was already pushing businesses to streamline processes with new technologies. The pandemic pushed them further, and faster, to create a tech-enabled, engaging working environment and utilise workforce analytics to focus on building a culture-driven and inclusive workplace.
There’s a growing interest in wellbeing and collaboration, and there has also been an uptick in disclosures around diversity.
Organisations have also strived to create a workplace environment which allows employees to have a better work-life balance to avoid burnout and find better ways to align their own personal values with the organisation they work for.
“The change over the last two years has been both unpredictable and unprecedented for businesses,” says Nik Shah, Principal at PwC.
“Early on in the pandemic, the initial focus was employee safety. Then we moved into a state of how to drive business outcomes and what kind of work environment we want to create that will help our employees –– and our businesses –– succeed.”
Listening to your people to improve inclusivity
While the pandemic has upended how businesses approach building an inclusive workforce, utilising analytics and feedback has become imperative for HR leaders to gain access to how teams are performing, noting employee preferences, analysing workforce metrics, and gathering feedback to make strategic decisions.
“The single biggest concept that has come out of the pandemic is how organisations have become more attuned to listening, reacting and responding to their workforce,” Shah says.
Listening to, and incorporating, employee feedback is one of the great enablers of the kind of culture that can give your organisation a competitive advantage.
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) efforts also can go a long way here –– especially when those efforts align with strategy, purpose and your operating model. Inclusion efforts are often directly linked to better economic outcomes, and they can be a powerful force in creating a unified culture and collaborative and engaged working environment that retains and attracts top talent.
“Now more than ever”, says Shah, “the nature of work allows employers to draw talent from all over, as work is now being performed in different venues and geographies with a myriad of employee considerations.”
Elevating the workforce through data-driven analytics
The need to quickly adapt and stay agile has meant businesses have had to gather and aggregate employee data to confirm decision making is data-driven, often utilising new analytics tools in the process.
Creating a successful, values-driven culture requires effort from the entire workforce, as a top-down leadership approach is no longer effective when understanding the true complexities employees face in the workplace.
Furthermore, since the pandemic has significantly shifted how leaders and co-workers communicate with each other, the requirement to utilise new technologies, communication methods and software analytics platforms that can provide instant feedback, has been key for businesses to keep their workforce motivated.
Workers are also attracted to employers committed to fostering inclusivity, and these efforts can help build trust and help businesses build better employee experiences that contribute to societal good.
PwC’s Hopes and Fears Survey notes that 75% of workers want to work for an organisation which will make a positive contribution to society, with 50% of global US workers feeling excited or confident about their professional future.
Cy Coons, a Partner at PwC, believes organisations have had to become more “human” in a post-pandemic worlxd, with HR leaders holding compassionate conversations and meeting any challenges collaboratively.
“When you look at the way we work, the defining line between work and life has slimmed down in ways that are reshaping the workforce into a more open and inclusive environment,” Coons says.
He explains the pandemic has acted as an “inflection point” in many people’s careers. “It allowed many to reflect and understand what they want their life to look like and think about what’s next,” Coons says.
“Topics such as upskilling and re-empowering the workforce have become vital in achieving the perfect balance to support the workforce through various dimensions, while also delivering economic output.”
Upskilling talent to drive innovation
Re-training and upskilling have become two key buzzwords amongst HR leaders as businesses face the elevated need to prioritise employee needs and retention rates to survive in a competitive talent market.
“Organisations are grappling with The Great Resignation and ‘reshuffle’, which has ultimately left a large fraction of employees searching for their greater mission,” says Coons.
Upskilling is a powerful way for businesses to provide a pathway to new career opportunities and give employees choices about their professional goals. This empowerment, in return, can be a talent acquisition and retention lever as learning programs and company-wide perks lead to greater career advancement opportunities.
“With a significantly large segment of the population retiring at a greater rate than in historical patterns, one thing is clear: employees are now looking to learn, grow, develop,” adds Coons.
“There’s also this notion that they’re really interested in working in an environment that they care about, with alignment to their own mission and personal and philosophical viewpoints.”
Shah agrees: “It’s an interesting continuum; on one hand, employees want to develop and thrive in their career, and on the other, organisations are trying to make the work compelling enough to both fit the needs of the employee and build an engaged and collaborative working environment.”
Leveraging new technologies
Business and HR leaders now have access to a wide range of software technologies and advanced analytics systems to support their upskilling programs and to drive employee engagement to leverage a values-driven culture.
“If the corporate experience isn’t as good as the consumer experience, then that’s not good enough,” says Shah. “The ability to provide the right infrastructure, tool set and updated technologies is what will differentiate organisations. The winners are those that have the opportunities ready, are prepared to gather feedback, will utilise built-in software platforms and benchmark analytics to assess the business and integrate data from multiple systems in order to provide a holistic view of the business and its workforce.”
Businesses have also had to move from a reactive to responsive environment. Coons believes that success lies in having the ability to consistently respond to the changing dynamics of the workplace through constant conversations and learning through data and analytics.
“At PwC, we’re continuously helping our clients upskill their workforce to confirm expectations are met both professionally and personally. Understanding expectations and utilising technologies is powerful, but the motivator side of the upskilling element is key. This is through effective communication and providing the education, knowledge, and required skill set which is what will differentiate a business as an innovator in its field.”
Find out how PwC can help you transform your workforce:
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ProEdge can empower your organisation to upskill at scale.