YOUR BUSI­NESS

Busi­nesses are rush­ing to adapt to a dy­namic work­force, but what’s the best way to pre­pare for the work­place of the fu­ture?

Virgin Australia Voyeur - - VOYEUR / SLACK -

Within just a year, 50 per cent of the global work­force will be mil­len­ni­als. As newer gen­er­a­tions en­ter the job mar­ket, busi­nesses need to adapt and grow with the ex­pec­ta­tions of this gen­er­a­tion of work­ers. This will­ing­ness to ac­cept change is core to re­main­ing com­pet­i­tive in at­tract­ing tal­ent.

So how can com­pa­nies pre­pare to meet these ex­pec­ta­tions and foster an en­vi­ron­ment that’s con­ducive to re­tain­ing the best tal­ent and pro­duc­tiv­ity? In a re­cent study by col­lab­o­ra­tion hub Slack, 87 per cent of par­tic­i­pants listed trans­parency as an im­por­tant fac­tor in de­ter­min­ing work­place sat­is­fac­tion.

In fact, trust and trans­parency are key fac­tors in in­creas­ing en­gage­ment, en­cour­ag­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity and align­ing em­ploy­ees’ be­lief in a shared goal.

This new gen­er­a­tion of work­ers are strong ad­vo­cates for trans­parency for a num­ber of rea­sons. Some see trans­parency as a growth plat­form — a way in which em­ploy­ees can gain ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion, learn about in­ter­nal op­por­tu­ni­ties or sim­ply ex­pand their job de­scrip­tion by tak­ing on dif­fer­ent projects. Oth­ers view a com­pany that val­ues trans­parency as an in­di­ca­tor they can trust the com­pany and their col­leagues.

For these rea­sons, busi­nesses that up­hold a cul­ture of trans­parency are best placed for at­tract­ing top tal­ent in to­day’s com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment. Mark Co­hen, Chief Tech­nol­ogy Of­fi­cer of Aus­tralia’s lead­ing prop­erty por­tal Domain, cites trans­parency as one of the most im­por­tant pil­lars of his work­place. He notes that modern work­ers are seek­ing to be­lieve in more than just a prod­uct — they want to be­lieve in their com­pany and the im­pact of the work they do.

“We hire highly skilled peo­ple, who are very smart — and very smart peo­ple are al­ways want­ing to know the whole story,” says Co­hen. “One of the things I ex­pe­ri­ence on a day-to-day ba­sis here is that, if the trans­parency is lack­ing, it’s a down­hill slide from there.”

For Co­hen and his em­ploy­ees, mu­tual trust and trans­parency is a force for good, defin­ing each em­ployee’s role in the work­place as in­te­gral to the busi­ness as a whole. To en­sure this trust is nur­tured, Domain uses a group-wide Slack chan­nel where each em­ployee is in­vited to raise any is­sues or ques­tions about the busi­ness and where it’s head­ing. Like­wise, in­for­ma­tion about these devel­op­ments is shared in the same fo­rum, pro­vid­ing an av­enue for feed­back. “Ev­ery­thing is out in the open, peo­ple tell us what we are do­ing wrong and what we are do­ing right. It’s about ce­ment­ing a cul­ture that’s based around an open fo­rum,” says Co­hen.

What this has achieved is a flat­ten­ing of the hi­er­ar­chi­cal na­ture of busi­ness:

“It democra­tises ac­cess to every­one.” Mean­ing em­ploy­ees are no longer sep­a­rated from a man­ager, or even the CEO. “If there’s a point they want to dis­cuss, they’ll dis­cuss it, and we’ll be there to en­gage in that dis­cus­sion.”

The me­dia in­dus­try is not alone in this. Busi­nesses to­day are mov­ing away from tra­di­tional work mod­els where com­pany hi­er­ar­chy of­ten cre­ates siloed teams, to a more open and en­gag­ing en­vi­ron­ment built on trust and trans­parency. “It’s this change in com­mu­ni­ca­tion and be­havioural ex­pec­ta­tions that mil­len­ni­als de­mand and it’s not even a mat­ter of how quickly you can change [the busi­ness] — if you’re not open to it, it’s game over al­ready.”

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