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The future of work and risk

Global health and economic and political events of the past few years have changed the way we view work, life and our futures. And COVID-19, climate change, technological disruptions and other seemingly immutable shifts continue to affect how work gets done.

Companies are rethinking work models while employee expectations about when, how and where they work have also changed. They are transforming work by accelerating automation, diversifying talent sources and adopting more flexibility about where and when work gets done. These strategies, among others, can impact both companies and employees in wholly beneficial ways.

But to support these changes over time, companies need to systematically plan and regularly evaluate:

  • Opportunities to unlock value by exploring new work models (e.g., expanding geographic reach for the right talent and skills, real estate utilization)
  • Emerging business and people risks around cybersecurity, health and safety, business disruption, your ability to attract and keep the right talent, dilution of cultural cohesion, ESG considerations and diversity, equity and inclusion strategies
  • How to manage risks and the investments needed to enable and sustain the chosen work models

Challenges and priorities for employers

Pressures around attracting and retaining talent have risen dramatically across virtually all employees. Half of employees are currently working remotely or a mix of onsite and remotely and this is expected to continue. The two most common factors in changing the ways of working over the next three years are expected to be where work gets done, and the use of automation, artificial intelligence and digitization.

Over the next three years, employers intend to take action in three strategic areas: work, Total Rewards and careers. Our 2022 Reimagining Work and Rewards Survey shows substantial increases in the percentages of employers expecting to make extensive changes in the following strategic areas:

  • Optimizing work and job design (+50%)
  • Resetting the Total Rewards philosophy (+80%)
  • Defining careers (+90%)

Now is the time

As organizations bring employees back into the workplace, they face new risks. In order to establish a new post-pandemic model, employers should set their best work pattern based on the value creation opportunities being targeted and the associated risks that will be managed. With the risks and rewards of transformed work understood, you can begin to build a new model of work as a healthy company, that will attract and retain the best talent and meet the needs and preferences of diverse employee populations.

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