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Decent work made a reality for all, said global business leaders

7th of October 2021 marked the 10th anniversary of the World Day for Decent Work (#WDDW). Thus, emphasizing the renewed pressure on governments and organizations to prioritize decent work as they work towards building a new economy that puts people first.

Between 2019 and 2021, the number of unemployed people rose from 187.3 million to 220.5 million, across the globe. Although this number is expected to fall to approximately 205 million in 2022, it is evident that urgent measures must be put in place to prioritize the improvement of human capital for a new economy and workplace.

Here are nine leaders revealing how to make decent work a reality for everyone.

Empowering organizations with empathy

The job landscape is ever-evolving but Donald Allan Jr., President and CFO of Stanley Black & Decker noted that in the next few years we are bound to witness the most radical transformation to the way we work.

“We are trying to define for employees what good work looks like in the future, including how we empower people to do their jobs efficiently, what skills and teams are necessary to achieve success, and what that success looks like”, said Allan Jr.

Indeed the time has come for the workplace and workforce to re-architect ourselves, our strategies, systems, and structures with the changing realities. 

“The new work philosophy will be embedded in agility and flexibility together with empathy”, said Atrayee Sarkar, Vice-President, Human Resource Management of Tata Steel

Flexibility in skills and degrees to drive innovation

“We are removing barriers such as unnecessary degree requirements that create disparities”, said Carin Taylor, Chief Diversity Officer of Workday. 

Workday is grounded in the belief that for impactful and empowering innovations to become a reality, it is necessary to remove barriers that can “cause disparities for certain communities, culture, wellbeing, value inclusion, belonging, and equity for all”, added Taylor. 

Reason being is that innovation is not a one size fits all process. Therefore, Workday actively partners with organizations that intentionally upskill and re-skill people in under-served communities. 

The removal of barriers such as degrees and certifications also provides employees with the opportunity to learn, develop, and grow from and with their colleagues

The future of work is no longer a distant reality. It is here and as such we need to “rewire how we think about work to drive innovation, inclusion, and performance”, said Tanuj Kapilashrami, Group Head of Human Resources at Standard Chartered. 

Moreover, a flexible job requirement and description is a necessary strategic workforce initiative especially for the young people who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. 

“At Zurich Insurance Group, we’re looking in particular at how we can drive youth employability to help young people to get their foot in the door in the job market”, shared Kara Wenger, Head of Work Sustainability at Zurich Insurance. 

Dignity-driven work

“Social inequality is on the rise and that’s bad for society and bad for business”, said Patrick Hull, VP Future of Work at Unilever. This is the reality in which the world of work is currently in. 

“Until we take a systemic view on the jobs and skills needed to collectively reset the future of work, societies will not thrive”, shared Kate Bravery, Global Advisory and Insight Leader of Mercer (MMC). 

Therefore, to ensure that decent work is made a reality for all, “dignity of labor and full employment [must be] at the centre of a just recovery”, said Sharon Burrow, the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation. 

That said, it is not on the onus of businesses alone to rebuild and invest in climate-friendly jobs for all. It is a joint effort between “peer companies, civil society, trade unions, international organizations, and governments to drive change”, added Hull. 

A simple way forward is to have “companies disclose on how they are creating good jobs”, said Bhushan Sethi, Partner, Joint Global Leader, People & Organization of PwC. 

In short, to build a better future of work that prioritizes people first, leaders must be well-equipped with to empower their workforce with empathy, flexibility, and dignity. 

LEARNTech Asia
LEARNTech Asia
LEARNTech Asia showcases innovation in learning in Asia. We feature stories and resources in online learning, workplace learning, adult education, EdTech, and creative solutions by teachers and trainers in learning institutions, non-profits, and enterprises that enhance human capacity and inspire communities of lifelong learners.