The pandemic has shocked the economy and transformed how organizations operate, creating a ‘new normal’ for institutes, economic development agencies, employees and job seekers. With the introduction of social distancing, digitalization has seen tremendous growth; research by Mckinsey & Company reported that 80% of organizations interact with customers digitally, three times more than before the pandemic. Furthermore, several trends have emerged, such as the need for upskilling/reskilling, change in flexibility from location to time in response to remote work, value for employee mental health support, and shift from managing employee work experience to life experience, i.e., the ’employee experience’.
The global 2021 Employee Experience survey conducted by Willis Towers Watson found that 92% of organizations have prioritized employee experience enhancements over the next three years, higher by 52% from before the pandemic; yet 79% of organizations reported that they have not yet arrived at their new workplace reality. From the employee perspective, during the initial phase of the global pandemic, 72% of employees had full confidence in leaders to protect employee health and wellbeing, but that number had fallen to 57% as 52% of employees reported high to moderate anxiety and 66% reported work distractions.
The employee experience matters because it is the individual moments that shape an employee’s perception and dedication to an organization’s purpose, brand and culture. Yet the current uncertain environment creates challenges for organizations to build a supportive employee experience and company culture, and creates hurdles for employees and job seekers to not only excel in the new world of work, but also take advantage of opportunities brought on by technological and market disruptions that create space for entrepreneurship and new job creation.
Here is our summary of key takeaways from the session:
1. What comes to mind when you think about ‘building future ready communities’?
Panelists shared their perspectives to this question in the form of both complex, system-wide and interconnected challenges and things to be addressed and opportunities to build back better.
The Employee Experience:
2. What is the most memorable “success story” you’ve experienced when you think about how your organization/group has contributed to ‘building future ready communities’?
3. Any parting words of wisdom, calls to action, or questions for consideration you’d like to pose to our audience?
4. What are some resources, books, Ted Talks, or podcasts, that have been instrumental in shaping your view on the future of work?
When we think about defining the “new normal” and designing the employee experience of the future, today, the recurring theme throughout the conversation was despite not knowing what the future holds and/or not being 100% clear on how to support communities and employees in navigating these changes, that the power in bringing together people with a shared vision and common purpose can create sustainable and meaningful impact.
While the global pandemic has affected the lives of all, some more so than others, it has also opened our eyes to the opportunity of a better future. Now is the time to build better, to learn what works and what doesn’t, and to take accountability for ourselves as well as for the communities we are a part of. When we come together as a community, we can inspire, innovate and create a better, more inclusive, future world of work.
Guiding discussion questions:
About the Panelists
Mark Beckles, Vice President, Social Impact & Innovation, RBC Corporate Citizenship
Mark has over 25 years’ experience in financial services, Mark has executive leadership experiences in banking, insurance, risk management and non-profit leadership. Mark leads the strategic execution of RBC’s Social Impact portfolios including RBC Future Launch, RBC Tech for Nature and RBC Emerging Artists. Mark also leads stakeholder relations to cultivate and maintain key relationships across Canada including policy makers, partners and stakeholders to advance RBC’s community investment priorities. Mark holds an MBA in International Business from the University of Bradford and has completed executive programs with Richard Ivey School of Business and holds the Institute of Corporate Directors designation (ICD.D).
Royal Bank of Canada
RBC is a global financial institution with a purpose-driven, principles-led approach to delivering leading performance, and creating value for our clients and communities. For more than 150 years, RBC has gone where their clients have gone – expanding across Canada, the United States, and to select global markets. Today, RBC hold strong market positions in five business segments, with 17 million clients who continue to put their trust in RBC. RBC is on a purpose-driven journey to build the RBC of the future and reimagine the role they play in the lives of their customers. RBC’s purpose inspires them every day to bring their best and use their imagination and insights to build a better future for their clients and communities.
Dr. Wendy Cukier, Founder, Diversity Institute, Ryerson University
Dr. Wendy Cukier is the Diversity Institute Founder, Academic Director of the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub and Research Lead of the Future Skills Centre. She is the co-author of the bestseller, Innovation Nation: Canadian Leadership from Java to Jurassic Park and former VP of Research and Innovation. The Diversity Institute has 100 research staff, 100 research associates from around the world, 200 industry partners and focuses on dimensions of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, future skills, and entrepreneurship and innovation. Harnessing the power of innovation, it promotes the advancement of underrepresented groups. The Diversity Institute is also a research lead for the $300 million Future Skills Centre and the $8.6 million Women Entrepreneurship Hub.
Wendy has been recognized with the Harry Jerome Diversity Award, the Bob Marley Award, the Canada-Pakistan Business Council’s Female Professional of the Year, the Metropolis Research Award, the CATA Alliance, Sara Kirke Award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and 100 Most Powerful Women by WXN. She has been named a YWCA Woman of Distinction and one of the International Women’s Forum 2020 Women Who Make a Difference, a Woman of Influence and one of the “100 Alumni who shaped the Century” by the University of Toronto. Wendy holds a PhD, an MBA, an MA, and honorary doctorates from Laval and Concordia.
Ryerson University is at the intersection of mind and action. They champion diversity, entrepreneurship and innovation, and are dedicated to creating a culture of action. As Canada’s leader in innovative and career-oriented education, they believe that education and experience go hand-in-hand. What their students learn in the classroom is enhanced by real-world knowledge through internships and co-ops, or amplified through zone learning, specialized minors and graduate programs.
Mark Patterson, Executive Director, Magnet
A changemaker pioneering new approaches in career development, inclusive recruitment, and contextualized labour market information to drive social and economic change. For more than a decade, he has focused on providing opportunities for diverse job seekers and addressing the needs of employers. Mark leads Magnet, a technology enabled social innovation project based at Ryerson University. Magnet harnesses intelligent matching technology, data and analytics to effectively connect people, businesses, and organizations to opportunity; with the goal of helping regions and communities collaborate and grow.
Magnet is a not-for-profit, founded by Ryerson University. The Magnet platform aims to accelerate inclusive economic growth for all in Canada, through targeted activities in three key areas: Careers, Business and Community, using Magnet’s data-rich, intelligent matching technology.