New World of Work: What is New Work?
What’s behind this buzzword? While many have just discovered the idea (thanks to the Corona Pandemic), the idea actually started back in the 1980s and has been evolving ever since. But the thing is: when interviewed, nobody can really clearly explain what it’s about.
New World of Work Principles
New Work should be something that we want, and a culture we want to live in. Essentially, new work is based on the following 6 principles: productivity, social responsibility, self-responsibility, freedom, development, and sense.
Only 10% of those interviewed felt that their organization could succeed with the working methods of yesterday. The rest of the respondents either felt that things needed to change or that they were unsure.
And of all the principles, freedom was one of the most popular topics, but the one that yielded the most discussion. There is a fear of loss of control on one hand, but on the other hand, there seemed to be a sentiment that this was more ego based. While employees need and deserve to feel free in their jobs, human beings still need a set of “guiding principles” so to speak to help them stay on track. These principles should have a healthy balance between being loose and strict.
Freedom is also linked to the principle of personal responsibility. And it’s actually a big driver of productivity. If people feel personally responsible for something, their productivity will boost. However, it was interesting to note that one of the biggest obstacles to enabling personal responsibility was the fear of losing control of their employees.
Sense resonates the most with younger generations, as they tend to always ask “why”. Why are they doing things, and why should they do things: essentially, does it make sense and bring value. If you can give them a sense, it has a high effect potential, especially in terms of employer branding.
Development is integral, but only 40,4% of respondents said they were practicing this principle in their company. What was found was that with smaller enterprises, the fear of over-developing their employees would mean they would leave to their matured skill set or expectations of pay. And for larger companies, their issues were that there seemed to be a mismatch between what’s available in terms of additional education and company needs.
This was all very interesting because this principle is so integral to successful employer branding and overall business success.
Social Responsibility also has a strong impact on employer branding. People find it important that the companies they join are socially attractive and do their part to be as socially responsible as possible. So, when reviewing this principle, ensure it fits with your community, the goals of the company, and the employees.
Key Figures on New World of Work
New work doesn’t mean just doing new work things, like offering fitness studio memberships, having ping pong tables, etc. There has to be a change in organization and the way we work, think and behave together. Incorporating empathy into your new work strategy (including roles of managers and leaders) is key to really getting this concept off the ground.
Only 32% of organizations are prepared for the challenges of the new world of work. Yet, by contrast, 76,2% of companies surveyed believe that the importance of New Work will rise sharply in the future. A key takeaway from this is that it is imperative to take the time to incorporate methods to transition to new work to more or less “future-proof” your enterprise.
Recommendations for Action
- Create functional structures and lean processes to enable employees to actively participate in development and knowledge sharing without major hurdles
- Create platforms for knowledge transfer so that the knowledge is in the heads of the employees and is also retained for the long term
- Incorporate regular retrospectives into your operations to learn from past mistakes and avoid them in the future
- Regular strategy days help to focus and not lose sight of the corporate vision
- Managers and employees must work together to develop the necessary skills
- Managers must learn to relinquish decision-making power and control and to trust employees
- Employees must be introduced to working freely and on their own responsibility
- Allow sufficient time and proceed step by step
- The workforce must be involved from the outset (well-thought-out internal and external communication is crucial)
- New Work is highly individual
- Perform an honest and objective status quo analysis
- Formulate a concrete target image
- Always think of New Work from an organizational perspective, never from a limiting perspective.
We hosted a webinar with Christoph Neumann on the topic of the New World of Work. In case you missed it, you can watch it on demand.