50% of India leaders feel unsure about the future of work – PwC survey

India leaders increasingly agree that the workplace – which in the past was for the people – has now evolved into a workspace of the people and that the future will entail further reimagining of the workforce and work model. Aligning individual goals to organisational purpose has now become all the more critical with the pivotal role it plays in driving organisational growth in a hybrid world. Despite this realisation, cost pressures, competing investments or priorities, lack of systems and data, and organisational culture are the biggest inhibitors faced by India leaders in creating a more fit for future workplace. This is according to PwC India’s People and culture first: Transformation journey in the future of work report. It also reveals that the future of work involves tapping into talent virtually in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities on the one hand, and leveraging the gig economy on the other.

The report further highlights the six no-regrets moves* identified by India leaders to prepare for the future of work and also presents the six imperatives** identified by PwC India to eliminate the blockers to workforce challenges and to future-proof organisations.

Chaitali Mukherjee, Partner and Leader, People & Organisation and HR Transformation, PwC India said: “Earlier workforce challenges centred around broader areas of organisational design and capabilities woven in with organisational culture. But with the changing nature of the workplace, the challenges seem to be more employee driven, both globally and locally. At this juncture, it is important for all organisations across the world to prioritise leadership capabilities in order to orchestrate changes and move the needle in business.

Over the past two years, the pandemic has compelled leaders to question their choices on many aspects affecting their organisations, right from people to culture to technology. They have realised, as our report indicates, that along with strategic organisational intent and system optimisation, they also need to proactively act on workforce initiatives, build capability in a well-considered way, and, among other things, work towards making their culture more resilient in order to be future ready.”

For each of the six no-regrets moves*, PwC recommends six business imperatives** to eliminate the blockers to workforce challenges and future-proof organisations:

 Six no-regrets movesPwC recommended imperative/ what organisations need to do
1.Anticipate and plan for the futureRecognise ‘prioritising and sense making’ as an organisational capability that is critical to drive investment decisions.
2.Build trust in the organisationDemocratise the workplace concept to focus on a ‘workplace of the people’ as against a ‘workplace for the people’.
3.Optimise workforce productivity and performanceUse technology to enable productivity and performance, while management enables culture.
4.Enable the skills of the futurePrioritise culture as a competitive advantage.
5.Prepare for and deploy technology with humans in mindFocus on human-led, tech-enabled ways of working.
6.Build ability to rapidly access and deploy talentView the organisation in the ‘skills and capability age’.

The imperatives mentioned above highlight the need to focus on the following three critical questions to action the six no-regrets moves that place people and culture first in the journey of transformation; answers to these questions will pave the way for the future of work:

  1. Culture promotes innovation. Innovation drives growth: Are we valuing capability and culture to drive organisational performance and productivity?
  2. Identifying relevant skill sets and upskilling will enable organisations to stay ahead of the curve. Are we readying ourselves for the ‘Skills Age’?
  3. Cost pressures and competing investments/priorities are common issues for most organisations. Are we holding ourselves accountable for prioritising the right investment decisions?

“All of this entails a change in leadership perspective – now is the time for leaders to undergo a mindset change and understand that employees should not be fitted into a single frame or viewed through a homogeneous lens,” Chaitali added.