The recent Wagestream Cost of Living Report 2022 has found that close to all UK employees (96%) have seen their living costs rise and, as a result, 70% now worry more about money.

Three quarters (76%) of those worrying more have seen their mental health decline. Unsurprisingly, therefore, one in five (19%) of those who have asked their employer for support in the last three months asked for help with mental health.

In this podcast, Chris and Adam Morris speak to OrgShakers’ Therese Procter about the report and what businesses can do to help their employees through these difficult times.

You can access the podcast by clicking on the image below:

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David Fairhurst

In both the US and the UK employers are waking up to the fact that the workforce is ageing. And they should, because for the first time in history, over 1/3rd of the working population are over 50!

There is growing evidence, however, that organizations on both sides of the Atlantic are failing to act.

In the UK the Chartered Management Institute (CIM) works with business and education to inspire people to become skilled leaders.

Their research found that although 85% of managers taking part in a recent survey said their organization was age inclusive, only 5% reported proactive efforts to recruit older workers.

Ann Francke, the CMI’s chief executive, described this as “a wake-up call for all organizations to practice what they preach”.

Meanwhile, in the US AARP is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age.

In a recent interview AARP’s CEO, Jo Ann Jenkins, highlighted that “78% of our members recently surveyed told us they had faced some type of age discrimination in the last year ... Yet, at the same time, older people are going to be the solution for many companies that are trying to hire people to deal with labor shortages and bring folks back into the workplace.”

OrgShakers’ Therese Procter reflected at the end of last year that “for many years the HR community (me included!) put our energy, focus and effort on progressive processes and practices that were supporting the needs of the younger working generation. Many of these innovations were ground-breaking – especially around maternity/paternity, IVF, adoption, childcare, etc. – and we should be proud of what we achieved.

“However, the ageing workforce means that we now have to widen our focus to meet the wellbeing and mental health needs of those in midlife and to consider how they can help them to live their best life while performing their job.”

As a proud midlife HR practitioner, Therese’s aim – along with her likeminded OrgShakers colleagues around the world – is to shine a light for employers on the issues people face at midlife and to provide education, policies, training, seminars, and guidelines to ensure organizations can maximize the performance of an age diverse workforce.

If you would like to know more, please get in touch: hello@orgshakers.com

To make a difference for International Women’s Day 2022, OrgShakers’ leadership coaches are proud to offer FREE 1-hour one-on-one online sessions to women professionals throughout the whole of March.
To book your FREE 1-hour one-on-one online coaching session CLICK HERE.

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As the world’s major economies begin their journey out of the pandemic, OrgShakers’ Andy Parsley warns in this Forbes interview that employers are “bouncing back into a labor market at least as tight as it was before Covid.”

Dealing with this will require organizations to think about the longer-term impact of the actions they take to address this challenge.

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To book your FREE 1-hour one-on-one online coaching session CLICK HERE.

And for organizations looking to shake up Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in their workplace, CLICK HERE to find out more about how OrgShakers can help.

Ask any economist, and they will tell you that data is fast becoming the most valuable resource in the global economy.

Which means that, with most organizations practically swimming in employee data, the HR function can dream of a future where it is able to create previously unimaginable value through its People Strategies.

This video shows how OrgShakers can help organizations unlock that value ...

Congratulation to OrgShaker’s Therese Procter for being awarded Chartered Companion status of the UK’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) … the highest level of recognition in the world of HR and people development.

The CIPD's select group of Chartered Companions are exceptional leaders who have a proven track record within organisations and have demonstrated exceptional impact on the profession over their careers. This is the highest accolade and level of membership awarded by the CIPD professional body and the selection of individuals to enter this group is made directly by the CIPD Board.

For more information about this year’s recipients of this prestigious award click on the link below:

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As we look back to the receding horror of 2020 and the misery and fear it brought to so many, we must also recognise the flexibility and resourcefulness demonstrated by countless organisations and their employees in rising to the challenges created by Covid-19.

Today it is clear that the pandemic served to accelerate workplace changes which were already underway, and at OrgShakers we believe that over the year ahead leaders have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to permanently embed these new ways of working into their organisations.

Here is our summary of the Top-5 items we think every leader should have on their ‘to-do’ list for 2021:

1. Have an informed opinion on hybrid working

We are predicting that one of the liveliest topics of conversation amongst business leaders will be around where the organisation should position itself on the hybrid working spectrum.

Some will argue that remote working will deliver productivity and work-life balance benefits, while others will argue that bringing people together enhances creativity and team cohesion. Both are correct and the challenge will be to navigate a balance which meets the specific needs of the individual organisation and its people.

The role of HR in these discussions will be pivotal as the outcomes will have a profound impact on the long-term People Strategy of the organisation from the size and purpose of office locations to the acquisition of key skills in a global talent ecosystem where the best people can work from where they want. Having an informed opinion about hybrid working will, therefore, be vital.

With our combination of skills and experience, OrgShakers are uniquely placed to support leaders in identifying a hybrid working strategy that is right for their organisation.

2. Embrace work-task planning and the global talent ecosystem

In the past, organisations would focus on workforce planning (who does what) and the talent acquisition processes required to hire employees with the right skills and experience.

Recent months have shown that the organisations which were able to adapt most effectively to disruption are those which focused on work-task planning (what needs to be done) and harnessing a wider ecosystem of employees, contractors, and technology to achieve the required outcomes.

We are predicting that this change in focus, coupled with an increase in hybrid working, will transform the way organisations think about talent management and organisation design. In particular, we anticipate a shift away from filling the boxes in a rigid structure with ‘owned’ talent, towards task-focused global teams of internal and external talent operating within an increasingly dynamic organisational framework.

3. Use AI and machine-learning to generate insight from employee data

The Big Tech firms now routinely generate valuable marketing insights by using AI and machine-learning tools to analyse the consumer data they hold in vast, virtual ‘data lakes’.

At OrgShakers, we have now created our own data lake containing employment data for over 700-million individuals – around a quarter of the global workforce. And, because this information is updated by our army of data bots every two days, it gives us a living, real-time image of the global labour market which our Data Scientists can explore using the same technologies as the Big Tech firms.

It is a uniquely powerful combination which has already enabled us to answer some challenging questions:

  • What skills are currently in the greatest demand?
  • What new skills are emerging?
  • Where are the individuals with those skills?
  • Where are specific organisations hiring from?
  • Who are they losing people to?
  • How good are they at retaining key talent?

Doing this has helped us to realise that whereas the past was shaped by people and organisations that had all the right answers, the future will be shaped by those who ask the right questions.

So, through 2021 OrgShakers will be working with leaders who share our relentless curiosity to find – and answer – the questions which will make the biggest difference to their organisations.

[You can find our more about OrgShakers’ AI-driven insights by clicking here]

4. Boost the wellness and neuro-productivity of every employee

The pandemic has heightened employee awareness of the importance of workplace health, and while many organisations have wellness programs in place these are typically focused on stand-alone initiatives such as the employee assistance programs offered by health insurance providers, peer-to-peer mental health ‘first aid’ programs, and gyms or gym memberships.

These are all useful tools, but to make a long-term, sustainable difference OrgShakers believe that organisations need to evolve a culture which takes a holistic approach to physical and mental wellness. An approach which focuses not just on supporting those individuals who need help, but also on boosting the performance and neuro-productivity of the entire workforce.

To help organisations achieve this, OrgShakers have created NeuroLab – a multi-disciplinary team of specialists with experience in shaping the culture, leadership capabilities, and individual behaviours required to drive meaningful and measurable change.

We are excited about the opportunity this will create for us to partner with progressive organisations to develop initiatives which will positively impact the performance and wellbeing of their people in the year ahead.

5. Hard-wire resilience into everything we do

In his 2017 book, The New Leadership Literacies, futurologist Bob Johansen identified his “big three” disruptive global challenges for the 2020s … “climate disruption, cyber terrorism, and pandemics – all of which will likely be on a scale that was previously unimaginable”.

At OrgShakers we believe that the message for leaders is clear – we cannot assume that the disruption caused by Covid-19 is a one-off event. Rather, we need to ensure that the hard-won lessons of 2020 are embedded into the fabric of our organisations in preparation for the systemic shocks that are likely to disrupt us in the future.

To achieve this, organisations will need continue to evolve their cultures, enhance the capabilities of their leaders, and create the dynamic structures and working practices required to ensure their resilience to external disruption.

They will need to plan against previously unthinkable scenarios, and ensure their people are equipped and inspired to deal with whatever the future may bring.

They will, in short, need to be ready for anything.

In doing so, however, they will also become better organisations, making a bigger difference to their customers, their employees, their communities, and the planet.

At OrgShakers we believe that this is the golden opportunity afforded to us over the year ahead – and we would be delighted to help your organisation seize this opportunity in any way we can.

Together we can shake things up for the better in 2021!

For decades, the Talent Ecosystem which drives the global economy has faced disruption from five powerful forces: Technology & Automation; Demographic Change; Social Justice & Diversity; Environment & Sustainability; and the Physical & Mental Wellbeing of employees.

At different times, each has driven fundamental change in the way organisations are structured and led – and in the skills and working practices employees need to acquire. Today, however, these five disruptors are acting simultaneously to create forces which are shaking the foundations of the global Talent Ecosystem like never before.

In this session first presented at the Excellence in Leadership 2020 Summit, David Fairhurst and Andy Parsley explore the impact this interaction will have on the future workplace – and outline the ways in which progressive organisations are currently developing the leadership capabilities and people practices they will need to seize the opportunities created by these seismic changes.

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See notes to editors for interview bids.

A post-pandemic remarginalization of disadvantaged workers risks creating a ‘talent trap’ for employers

  • Young people, older workers, working mums and other groups risk being pushed back to the fringes of the world of work following the Covid-19 pandemic
  • David Fairhurst, one of the world’s most influential HR practitioners, warns that a failure to continue to invest in these previously underrepresented groups of workers will create a ‘talent trap’ for employers when the economy recovers
  • Evidence is already emerging that this investment is being withdrawn

London, 7th May 2020 – David Fairhurst warns that firms risk falling into a disastrous talent trap if they fail to respond decisively to the potential remarginalization of previously underrepresented groups in the workforce.

In 2014 Fairhurst forecast in an interview with the Financial Times that, within a decade, declining birth-rates in the major global economies would lead to labour shortages on a scale that would cripple economic growth – a ‘workforce cliff’.[i]

His predictions were correct, and by the beginning of 2020 demand for employees was already beginning to outstrip supply, with countries around the world reporting record levels of employment and unfilled vacancies as they neared the edge of the workforce cliff.

A key strategy used by businesses in this increasingly competitive labour market had been to hire from a much wider pool of talent. They had done this through investment in progressive employment practices, often targeting groups which had historically been underrepresented in the workforce. These included young people, older workers, women returners, people with disabilities, migrants, and individuals from disadvantaged communities.

Covid-19 has had a seismic impact on the global economy, and Fairhurst is now predicting that it has pushed back the impact of the workforce cliff by 3-5 years. He warns, however, that if firms now pull-the-plug on the investment they have made in their employment practices in light of the easing pressure on the labour market, they risk remarginalizing these historically underrepresented groups.

He points out that this could have serious medium-term consequences for organisations as the underlying demographic changes creating the workforce cliff remain.

Fairhurst emphasises that “the faster the recovery, the faster the challenges of labour supply and demand will return. Those organisations that have invested in maintaining the diversity of their workforces will quickly gain a significant competitive advantage – a diversity dividend. Those, on the other hand, that have failed to invest risk falling into a talent trap they will struggle to escape from.”

Evidence is emerging, however, that this investment is already beginning to be withdrawn.

A poll conducted between April 3rd and 8th by d&I Leaders[ii] – a global community of senior Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) professionals – found that “four in ten said that they worried that D&I would fall off the agenda at their organisation” as a result of Covid-19.

In conversation with Fairhurst, Stephen Frost – CEO of Frost Included and former Head of D&I for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games – said “post-Covid-19, companies can either sustain, postpone, or cancel their D&I programmes. In the UK almost three-quarters have already cancelled or postponed – and in the US many companies have done the same.”

Fairhurst also shares a conversation with Susan Reichle – President and CEO of the International Youth Foundation which has just launched a ‘Global Youth Resiliency Fund’[iii] to speed resources to young people – who told him that she can already see young people from disadvantaged backgrounds facing difficulties in accessing the education and training they need. “There has been a significant shift by organisations to online delivery of programmes which is creating a barrier for young people who might not have up-to-date computers or might be struggling to pay for internet access. These are the young people whose leadership we need to seize our future. As a society we cannot afford to leave them behind.” With both Barclay’s CEO Jes Stanley and WPP CEO Mark Read predicting that remote and dispersed working could increasingly become the norm[iv], this Digital Roadblock will become an increasingly difficult hurdle for these young people to overcome.

Similar concerns are also reflected in the findings of the second UK Association of Employment and Learning Providers Covid-19 impact survey[v] that if no guarantees of financial support from the Department for Education are forthcoming, half of training providers will downsize, mothball their business, or shut down completely, meaning that hundreds of thousands of young people and unemployed adults will have no training available to them when the crisis is over.

At the other end of the age spectrum, the International Labour Organisation has forecast that older workers are likely “to experience higher unemployment and underemployment rates, as well as decreased working hours” following the Covid-19 pandemic[vi].

At a time when the number of UK pensioners are living in poverty has risen to two million[vii] (16%) and almost a quarter (24%) have no savings[viii], the remarginalization of older workers risks inciting a wave of Age Rage across the country.

To avoid falling into the talent trap created by remarginalization, Fairhurst suggests employers focus their efforts on a small number of targeted interventions:

  1. Active engagement with underrepresented groups. “For over 30 years, the International Youth Foundation (iyfnet.org) have worked with partners around the world in ensuring that youth develop the technical and life skills they need to earn a livelihood. Partnering with them gives employers accelerated access to the young people who need their support the most. Meanwhile, Rest Less (www.restless.co.uk) works with age-diverse organisations to help people in their 50s, 60s, and beyond find a role which meets their needs.”
  2. Enhancing employee wellbeing. “Post Covid-19 pandemic, employers will be judged on the care they give to the physical and mental wellbeing of employees – both in the workplace and in their lives outside work. I predict that we will see many organisations creating a new leadership role: Chief Wellbeing Officer. With money and mental health being so closely linked, a valuable tool for all workers to gain control and greater flexibility over their finances is income streaming. Wagestream (wagestream.co.uk), for example, enables workers to track their wages, access advances on pay they have already earned, create saving plans which automatically set aside a small amount of monthly earnings, and access financial education programmes and money management tools.”
  3. Embedding Diversity & Inclusion into post-pandemic HR Strategies. “A progressive approach to D&I will be critical if organisations are to avoid the looming talent trap. At OrgShakers (OrgShakers.com) we are already talking to a number of major global businesses about the integration of D&I policies and initiatives into their core strategy.”

— ENDS —

Notes to Editors

For more information and to request an interview with David Fairhurst, contact:

Andy Parsley, OrgShakers | info@orgshakers.com | +44 7810 894171

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David Fairhurst is the Founder of OrgShakers, a global HR consultancy which helps businesses shape their organizations to be both focused and nimble to achieve short-term performance as well as long-term organizational health.

Before founding OrgShakers Fairhurst was Executive Vice President, Global Chief People Officer at McDonald’s Corporation – one of the world’s largest HR and Training leadership positions with oversight of almost 2-million employees in over 120 countries.

For four consecutive years Fairhurst was voted the UK’s ‘Most Influential Practitioner’ by readers of HR Magazine, receiving their lifetime achievement award in 2012. He was also the first HR professional to be named ‘Business Communicator of the Year’ by the Institute of Internal Communications – a title previously awarded to leading business figures such as Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, and Virgin founder Richard Branson.

Born in 1968 in Wigan, David grew up as part of a family of retailers, and amongst his earliest memories are “helping out” in his grandfather’s grocery store. David earned his bachelor’s degree at Lancaster University and his master’s degree at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School which has recognised his ongoing contribution as a Visiting Professor with an honorary Doctorate in Business Administration. He also holds an honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from Middlesex University.

Fairhurst is a Global Strategic Advisor to Wagestream and Rest Less.
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Frost Included – f(i) – is a unique consulting company that embeds inclusion in decision-making.  f(i) operates worldwide and focuses on both conscious leadership development and unconscious system nudges to make organisations more diverse and inclusive.  Clients range from global multinationals to governments, academia, media and pro bono.  f(i) are especially proud of their focus on outcomes and developing productive sustainable relationships with the teams we work with. For more information please visit www.frostincluded.com

_______________

The International Youth Foundation (IYF) is a global youth network, an organization advocating for youth empowerment and connecting countries to knowledge, experience, and resources to help young people build a better future.

The IYF works to empower youth in line with 2030 Global Goals Agenda, to create a sustainable world for all young people through education, advocacy, and the promotion of respect and compassion.

The IYF informs, engages, and mobilizes new audiences to take action and raise funds that support sustainable development programs for youth around the world.

 _______________

Rest Less launched in December 2018 and is a membership community for the over 50s designed to help its members get more out of life. Rest Less has thousands of jobs available on its site from progressive age-diverse employers across the country. Rest Less is the leading site in the UK to offer flexible opportunities to work, volunteer or even start a new career path, specifically targeting the rapidly growing over 50s market.

 _______________

Wagestream is on a mission to bring better financial health to workers across the globe. By putting workplace data into the hands of workers, Wagestream’s financial solutions allow employees to track, budget, save and stream their earnings, all in real time without impacting employers’ cash flow.

Wagestream unlocks the constraints of the monthly pay cycle and eradicates the debt issues and financial stress many workers face between pay days. Wagestream was founded with a social purpose and it’s early charity investors include Fair by Design, Joseph Rowntree, Barrow Cadbury Trust, and Big Society Capital, social impact charities committed to improving the financial lives of everyday people.

The company has responded to the Covid-19 crisis by making the service free to the NHS, they have also sped up the onboarding process from 3 weeks to just 24 hours.  Wagestream also has built a solution for employees to access furlough income and statutory sick pay.

Wagestream Ltd is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority as an EMD Agent (reference 902046) of PayrNet Limited, an Electronic Money Institution authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (reference number: 900594).

[i]https://www.ft.com/content/152c6fda-b6a6-11e3-905b-00144feabdc0

[ii] https://dileaders.com/reports/

[iii] www.iyfnet.org/blog/global-youth-resiliency-fund

[iv] https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/barclays-chief-executive-flexible-working-will-become-the-norm/

[v] https://www.aelp.org.uk/news/news/press-releases/training-providers-working-miracles-to-preserve-apprenticeships-and-other-skills-programmes-but-living-on-borrowed-time-latest-aelp-covid-19-impact-survey-shows/

[vi] https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/WCMS_738753/lang--en/index.htm

[vii] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-199495-to-201718

[viii]

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