In 2010, Lynda Gratton of London Business School published ‘The Future of Work’. It was based on research conducted with 21 organisations and over 200 executives, covering a diverse range of industries, geographies and organisational structures, including those not for profit. It asked three questions:
- How will external forces shape the way my company and its people develop over the coming decades?
- How best can we prepare for these developments to ‘future proof’ the company?
- What can we learn from others about where to focus our attention and resources, what will be tough, and what will be more straightforward?
Nine years later, the London Insurance Market continues to look for its own answers to these questions, at both an enterprise and market level. In 2014, the London Matters report was published by The London Market Group (LMG) and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), examining the competitive position of the London Insurance Market. This was followed up with a further report in 2017. There have been a variety of initiatives looking at how the Market needs to adjust for the future, separate to and building on the work of other organisations as they examine their business models. These have included embracing technological change to enable increased operational efficiency, as well increasing profits as the product offering shifts to recognise new markets and opportunities. Robotics, blockchain and digitisation have been, and continue to be, synonymous with the Future of Work.
The People element has typically focused on components of the employee lifecycle that can be altered. There are multiple initiatives to recruit and embrace diverse talent at an individual firm level, as well as cross-market initiatives, such as the award-winning London Insurance Life programme by the LMG. DXC Digital Minds looks to capture the passion for change and those wishing to shape the London insurance market, incorporating brokers, carriers, service providers and more, in order to find creative solutions to shared challenges.
There is a common narrative of technology enabling people to do more interesting and exciting things. However, through our consulting and speaking with our clients, we are seeing a gap between the future organisations are painting and the reality of what individuals are experiencing. Workplaces are looking different with dress codes becoming less formal and work flexibility more common, yet engagement is falling and attrition is increasing. Leadership teams are expressing frustration at why their initiatives are not having the impact other organisations have seen, even if it is what their own employee surveys say is wanted. Employees are increasingly disenchanted as they plug gaps and focus on rework rather than more fulfilling activity, or not feeling they have a voice at the table. Mirroring broader society, people are looking to take back control of their lives and are no longer trusting leaders in the workplace to make decisions in anything but their own interest. Preparing your organisation for the future is more than redefining roles and responsibilities for current positions or recruiting those with different skills, experience and backgrounds than you have done before. The organisation itself and how it interacts with those doing the work, will need to look very different from how it does now to keep people engaged and delivering what the business needs to create sustainable profitability.
Importantly, therefore, there needs to be a significant cultural shift to embrace the Future of Work, beyond looking at the workforce of the future, which is a component part. The good news is that employees are likely to be ahead in their acceptance than their organisations. As individuals and in their personal lives, people are not change adverse and have experienced rapid change over their lifetimes, regardless of their age. Organisations move at a far slower pace. Organisations that are able to embrace the momentum of their own people are already a step ahead.
r10 released the Organisations for Adults: The Future of Work and its impact on people paper that sets out what is meant by the Future of Work for the people agenda and how the London insurance market can embrace these. It shares practical examples of changes to the employee life cycle, as well as eight success factors r10 has identified to enable the required cultural change.