Report calls on employers to reimagine work with a people-first mindset

18th September by Lee Robertson

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Now in its fourth iteration, the latest The EY 2023 Work Reimagined Survey is calling on leaders to adopt a people-first mindset and warning them not to underestimate the importance of trust and empathy to build a stronger team and lead to better outcomes.

EY gathered data between June and August 2023 to better understand the continued changes in new ways of working around flexibility, talent retention and turnover and the balance of power between employees and employers. The anonymous survey captured the views of 17,050 workers and 1,575 employers from over 20 geographies covering the Americas, Asia-Pacific and EMEIA.

The report highlights how the ‘next normal’ of work is defined by complex internal and external pressures and organisations require solutions that are focused on the needs and experiences of people.

It advises that in times of transformation and disruption, leaders need to embrace a ‘we not me’ approach which promotes collaboration, drives consensus and builds a culture underpinned by trust.

EY stresses that organisations that prioritise their people in their workforce decisions report seeing markedly better outcomes. It goes onto highlight that there is a subset of about 20% organisations who meet the criteria for success in key areas related to leadership, DE&A, skills building and ways of working.

The indicators of success are outlined as featuring:

  • Employees who trust leaders and feel trusted and empowered
  • Leadership that cares about employees as people
  • Employees who feel connected and inspired at work
  • Employees who fell well informed
  • A diverse workforce
  • Efforts to build skills for the future
  • A leadership team aligned on new ways of working

EY reports that these organisations reported distinctly better outcomes compared to those who struggle on the same measures of success. This included being 2.5 times more likely to have employees who feel connected to their teams and who are four times more likely to state having a balance workload. As a sign of how these organisations are able to build resilience, their employees are five times more likely to agree their employer can adapt and build future skills and twice as likely to be optimistic that their organisation can attract the talent it needs. Culture metrics and productivity are also notably higher.

It goes onto highlight improved outcomes of what EY terms as ‘Thriving’ organisations. These include:

  • +140% more optimism that the company can attract the talent it requires
  • +204% more likely to agree company productivity has changed and improved in the last two to three years
  • +131% more likely to agree the company has navigated external pressures successfully in the last two to three years
  • +187% more likely to agree that flexible work has been successfully operationalised

Karen Smart, head of consultancy with the AoEC welcomed its publication and commented: “It clearly demonstrates that better outcomes are intrinsically linked to workplaces that are human-centred and inclusive. Taking action to cultivate trust and belonging are proven here to be linked to better cultures and higher productivity. Employers can do that easily by designing their employee value proposition and corporate culture around the traits of coaching approach where workers are given autonomy to do their jobs and people grow with new skills so that the overall experience of work is at its absolute best.”