The importance of people, trust and transparency in a digital workforce

17 August 2021 3 min. read

As business and HR leaders get to grips with the post-pandemic workforce and workplace, Smart WFM’s chief executive officer Jarrod McGrath says it’s all about putting people at the epicentre.

The chief executive officer of the international human capital management consultancy last week launched the second edition of ‘The Digital Workforce’, which leverages insights from businesses and HR leaders across the globe to paint a picture of a modern digital workforce.

The book includes a five-step workforce method to maximise the value of people – its central theme – in modern organisations, with interviews from the likes of T2 Tea Global People Director Georgegina Poulos, UKG CEO Aron Ain and Australian Payroll Association CEO Tracy Angwin.

Jarrod McGrath, Chief Executive Officer, Smart WFM

“Business and leaders in human resources are trying to understand what their workforce will look like and what will make their people tick post pandemic, and that needs to go far beyond the flexibility buzzword,” said McGrath, who has worked in the space for decades.

“There are deeper, more difficult to measure ideas leaders need to get across to connect with a modern workforce, such as trust and transparency. These are relevant – people may trust some parts of their working experience and not others. To make it holistic, transparency must extend to areas like diversity and inclusion, and emerging technologies such as AI which are causing fear over people’s role in the workforce.”

The Digital Workforce emphasizes the importance of wellbeing throughout, highlighting that a traditionally narrow focus has impeded organisations’ ability to leverage tech and their workplace environments to promote a broader sense of wellbeing, whether that be physical, mental, social, financial, intellectual or emotional wellbeing.

“I think the focus on mental health, wellbeing, the real self, the whole self, will continue into the future,” said T2’s Poulos.

“The office was a place to go to work; its four walls provided a physical space entirely devoted to work. Now, the home has become the gym, the office, the movie theatre, the kids’ playground, the hospital, the kitchen, the restaurant, you name it. I think what we really need to focus on now is redefining the boundaries of the home and work within this flexible environment, and figuring out how they come together to support wellbeing as well as business success.”

The book also recommends businesses meet growing demand from workforces to have a stance on world longevity. “I think people want to work for a place that makes a difference – not just inside the company walls, but also in the broader community,” said UKG’s Ain.

“Their own expectations are they want to make a difference in their communities and the world. Social tools make that much easier to do. It’s impacting philanthropy, it’s impacting volunteerism, it’s impacting how people spend their time.”

To help businesses adapt to the digital hybrid workforce and to ensure investments in workforce management initiatives are valuable, the book provides a five-step workforce method: align, prepare, track, implement, and measure.

“This book is about changing the way we think about the workforce, creating workforce initiatives that work, and not only understanding people’s passions, but weaving those passions into the very fabric of the organisation,” added McGrath. “As we hit the reset button on how we live, work and interact, there’s never been a better time to change our approach and create more successful organisations that have people at the epicentre of everything they do.”

The Digital Workforce is available in print, virtual and audio copy on this website. A percentage of book sales will be donated to Australian Indigenous education as part of the Pledge 1% initiative.