Article: The future of work is going to be more human: Interview with Anirban Gupta, Aon

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The future of work is going to be more human: Interview with Anirban Gupta, Aon

As the COVID-19 pandemic drives profound societal and organizational shifts, leaders have the opportunity to redesign talent strategy and models to align with the future. Future, which would be more nimble, and human as shared by Anirban Gupta, Director Performance Rewards and Org Effectiveness at Aon.
The future of work is going to be more human: Interview with Anirban Gupta, Aon

Shifting workforce trends in the pandemic era reflect a clear acceleration of certain forces, disruptive trends, and the emergence of totally new drivers of change. Some of these trends include critical skills no longer being synonymous with job roles, and prioritizing resilience for the organization as much as efficiency.

It is almost half a year into managing a crisis and the unprecedented uncertainty that it brought to us personally and professionally. As we look around, there are a number of businesses that are sustaining this crisis pretty well, while some have crashed and some are flourishing irrespective of the pandemic. While the reasons behind the success and failures could be many, however, one thing that is undeniable is that businesses who adapted to the changing ecosystem are responding outstandingly to the crisis. 

“What we have clearly seen as brought by the pandemic – businesses needs to be more nimble,” shares Anirban Gupta, Director Performance Rewards and Org Effectiveness, Aon.

Anirban further shares that while we are still trying to figure out what the new normal would be, one thing is sure, the workplace and the way workplaces function will never be the same. 

In this conversation, Anirban shares his views and reflections on the impact of the pandemic on businesses and what needs to be done by organizations to succeed in the future. Anirban also shares about an ongoing research "Managing Business Entropy: Building the Workplace of the Future,” a study Aon is doing with ISB in partnership with People Matters.

Here are some excerpts from the conversation:

A K-shaped recovery from the pandemic

Since it became obvious that the coronavirus pandemic would create a recession, the economists have debated over the shape of its recovery and the implications of this recovery on the future. Would it be a "V" shape, with a rapid recovery, a "U" shape, with a softer recovery, or the dreaded "L" shape, with a prolonged period of depressed economic activity.

Anirban shares, “What COVID-19 has brought out in front of us is that the macro environment is changing at an extremely rapid pace and what it is actually doing is exposing the gap between the organizations that are proactively adapting to this new environment and organizations that are grappling with this change.”

“I think what COVID-19 has reflected which is also known as K-shaped theory (occurs when an economy recuperates unevenly, and there's a separate trajectory for two segments of organizations in the same industry). There will be a set of organizations who will win this instability and unpredictability that this crisis has to offer,” says Anirban.

Anirban further shares that he feels that what helps these organizations to survive the most difficult disruption is by adapting to new situations, augmenting their practices and executing really fast. 

People at the core of the future of work

Even before COVID-19 happened, the business strategies were undergoing a lot of transformation with the rapid proliferation of technology across industries. However, most organizations looked at it as a technology play and not really a play on talent strategy. Anirban shares that with the pandemic, a lot of focus was put on talent people and reinventing talent management. Months later, many questions abound: Will all who can work remotely do so for the near and long term? Will we be able to ever travel safely again? What environmental changes are needed to guarantee the safety of our physical workplaces?

The pandemic has completely put people at the centre and the theory that the future is going to be more human has become a reality!

“It is clear, you can’t just operate on business strategy until you have a people process in place,” says Anirban.

He further shares, “Organizations who will succeed in the future will be organizations who will unleash the human potential.”

New organizations for the emerging new world of work

Anirban also shares a very interesting point on the business journey throughout the disruption. He says, for the last five to seven years we have talked about VUCA and today we have entered into a post-VUCA world where VUCA pales in comparison to what we are experiencing now.

While we are still trying to figure out what the new normal would be, one thing is for sure, the workplace and the way workplaces function will never be the same. And this is not a time to sit back and wait for events to unfold. To be prepared for the future, you have to understand it.

Aon and ISB in partnership with People Matters have launched a study, “Managing Business Entropy: Building the Workplace of the Future” to uncover the best practices of how successful organizations are looking at redefining their talent and talent management programs to drive superior business outcomes. 

Anirban further adds, “Today organizations are dying younger. Earlier successful organizations had a shelf life of 100 years, in the last decade it's been  30-40 years and it will most likely come down in the next decade.” As a part of this research, we would try to discover the assumptions around creating ambidextrous organizations that are capable of flourishing in a complex and an ambiguous business environment and have capabilities, processes, systems and structures in place that help organisations be future ready.” 

To participate in the study, click here and get actionable insights to help you make decisions for your future workplace and understand how people are going to be the most important asset for you.

Reflecting on the nature of the study, Anirban shares, the study aims to delve deeper in to how the future workplaces would look like on the following parameters:

  • Value Orientation
  • Talent Orientation
  • Organization Design Orientation
  • Capability Orientation
  • Performance Management System Orientation
  • Career Orientation
  • Rewards Orientation

The study will provide key data and insights on areas like people strategy adopted to achieve the mission and goals of the organization, key elements of organization design in terms of work organizations, decision making, reporting, etc. in alignment with the organization strategy, the key behaviors expected of employees to drive organizational goals, and the key PMS tenets of an organization.

Click here on the link to identify the gaps in your talent strategy and redesign it to make it future-proof from the next disruptor.

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Topics: Talent Management, C-Suite

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