Business dynamism and unlocking talent: a state of constant evolution.
By Michelle Loader
As momentum into 2022 builds, leaders are summoning their courage and pulling purpose into sharp focus as we frame up the challenges and harness the changed reality. As a people solutions company interacting with hundreds of leading executives each week, we believe the faster we realise ‘normal’ is now increasingly a fluid state, the faster we normalise our state of constant evolution. An update below on some of the areas we are challenging right now.
Goodbye to old routines
Routine roles, routine thinking and routine operating environments have become relics of the past. Business dynamism requires leaders to recognise and recruit for dynamic capabilities, identifying areas of competitive advantage, seizing these opportunities, and rapidly innovating. The question is how do we keep up with constant evolution, and bring people along with us?
Last year the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2021 ranked Australia 22nd out of 64 countries. The research revealed that Australian businesses are still lagging on entrepreneurship and dynamic managerial capabilities. Melissa Wilson, Senior Economist at the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) says our rankings were low for entrepreneurship of managers (60th), awareness of changing market conditions (43rd), company agility and responding quickly to opportunities and threats (both 56th), and flexibility and adaptability in the face of new challenges (39th) (CEDA, 2021).
We have an opportunity to ignite business dynamism and reconnect productivity to meet changing employee expectations. The new realities of hybrid working, improved products and services, and collective leadership paint a compelling picture of new ways of working, new ways of connecting to talent, of leading and making decisions that serve the broader organisation and ecosystem, as well as prioritising the greater good over individual goals. This will require innovative thinking and challenging existing systems and environments alongside performance, reward and recognition.
Right along the stakeholder value chain, motivations have changed. A new emphasis on sustainability is best represented in the rapidly rising interest in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in nearly every organisation. At the Financial Review’s recent CFO Live Summit, the head of global capital markets for investment bank UBS in Australasia, Richard Sleijpen, said large holders of capital are looking to make an impact by investing with an ESG framework in mind. “All investors now have ESG framework as part of their decision-making process with very few, if any exceptions.” (AFR, 2021)
> Employees of all generations are prioritising purpose over pay, a very compelling employee value proposition to attract talent.
> Investors are making ESG central to their investment strategies.
> Boards are being asked to assess risk via systems thinking in a fluid environment.
> Suppliers are adjusting to establish transparent credentials.
Business leaders who focus on doing more good instead of less bad will attract a more future-ready, more resilient, and a more engaged workforce. Thankfully, we have stopped debating why purpose matters, and are now focusing instead on how we achieve it. Leaders who treat their employees and contracted talent with the same respect as their investors can build a deep, purpose driven culture across the company.
The Great Realignment
Whilst there is much debate about the reality and the facts of the great resignation within the Australian context, the battle for future-ready talent is real and our need to augment our workforce to be future ready is a priority. One thing the pandemic has highlighted, is the not negotiable of keeping empathy and wellbeing intact amidst daily pressure to deliver in a constant state of evolution. The issue for employers is more about the “great realignment” – focusing on purpose, reskilling, working to create impact, understanding value and, via digital and ESG, finding better ways to understand our stakeholders, customers, employees and contracted talent. How do our values relate to the value we create?
Business dynamism in Australia requires us to dynamite old school business models and fixed ideas of productivity. We need to innovate solutions to tackle the problems our people care about, “real world solutions to real world problems”. When we align our entrepreneurial business goals to the motivations of our stakeholders, we will energise our people to embrace this new, dynamically evolving world. All things can change, whilst an embraced purpose remains the same.