Originally published by Times of India, here.

 

Over the last decade, a fundamental shift has occurred in the employee-employer social contract. We have moved from the loyalty contract, where pay and basic benefits reigned, into a lifestyle contract where incorporating purpose, equity, and the greater good into one’s working experience became imperative. Now, we’re in a new era marked by the rise of the ‘Relatable Organization, which brings a human face to the way work and enables organizations and employees to thrive together.

 

With Relatable Organizations at the helm, a new vision for a more human-centric workplace is on the horizon. This vision brings the core tenets of the lifestyle contract to the forefront – choice, connection, and contribution –together to help employees thrive. According to our Mercer’s 2022 Global Talent Trends study, organizations are aligning their values and organizational priorities with their employees to foster stronger partnerships and retain talent.

 

This vision is particularly prevalent in India. The survey found that 75% of Indian employees say they are thriving while 93% said they trust their employers, much higher than the global average. In this changing landscape, now is the time for organizations to rethink processes, embrace new ways of working and identify areas where employees are seeking more support.

 

Enterprise-wide transformation is upon us for 2022, but it won’t come without challenges. Between implementing new technologies and addressing the skills gap, organizations will need to focus on transformation enablement just as much as implementing new technologies.

 

The human resources function has a huge role to play in the Relatable Organization, guiding a human-centered transformation focused on employee’s lifestyle considerations. Notably, this approach will drive a more balanced future of work, allowing organizations to remain human and relatable to the workforce. HR can also help ensure technology is an enabler of transformation rather than just a driver, interconnecting all departments.

 

With transformation at the center, here are the top areas we’re seeing the most change.

 

The ‘S’ in Environmental Social Governance (ESG) is increasing in importance

 

Organizations are feeling pressured to make progress on ESG initiatives, particularly when it comes to sustainability. According to our report, C-suite executives view workforce practices as the key to achieving organizational sustainability goals. Advancing sustainability is top of mind for employees and leadership alike: 99% of employees said they expect their employer to pursue a sustainability agenda while 96% of executives said their organization is prioritizing responsible work practices.

 

Sustainability is an important differentiator for reputation and brand. However, while many organizations have been vocal about their net-zero pledges, the undertaking can be much easier said than done. Only half of the HR executives we surveyed cited ESG as a current priority. With that being said, we expect to see ESG continue to grow in importance throughout the remainder of 2022 and into 2023.

 

The lifestyle contract puts total well-being, including financial wellness into focus

 

As companies experiment with new work models, they are listening, adapting, breaking silos, and expanding benefits packages accordingly. India is leading the charge in supporting the work from anywhere (WFA) flexible working model, deepening an organization’s commitment to their employees.

 

74% of employees will join or stay with an organization only if they can work remotely or in a hybrid structure. Fortunately, 76% of Indian organizations have offered or are planning to offer employees the ability to work from anywhere. This is such an important benefit that nearly half (47%) of employees said they are willing to forgo pay increases if it means they can enjoy the benefit of being able to work from anywhere.

 

As the talent agenda shifts, organizations are looking at how they can offer personalized benefits that speak directly to where their employees are in their journeys. Financial wellness is one such benefit area where Relatable Organizations are shining. Amid rising inflation and economic uncertainty, nearly half of the employees (46%) we surveyed said they fear for their future financial wellness. In response, Relatable Organizations are now offering opportunities for employees to design their financial futures through coaching, expert sessions, and schemes.

 

Reskilling and upskilling are a top priorities

 

India Inc., in the age of Industry 4.0, is prioritizing workforce upskilling and reskilling. New investments in these areas are being fueled by a multigenerational workforce, a growing gig economy and the increasing use of technologies, such as AI and automation.

 

The desire to become a skills-based organization is strong across the board, with HR technology and AI giving way to a ‘pay for skills’ talent agenda. The organizations we surveyed most often identified the new talent agenda to center around buying the skills needed (58%) and transferring skills by creating talent marketplaces (55%).

 

Resilient, relatable, human

 

These trends are expected to accelerate in the post-pandemic recovery period, simultaneously exposing immense fragility and highlighting extraordinary resilience in the workforce. As organizations intentionally redesign to attract and inspire talent, employees expect to see more heart and soul in a very human-centric workplace.

 

Relatable Organizations are leading the pack, putting a healthier, far more equitable and personalized way of working at the forefront. Empathy is the unique value proposition. Getting this right through conscious design will determine whether transformation leads to positive outcomes for business and society.

Padma Ramanathan
Country Report Lead and Principal - Talent Advisory, Mercer India

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