Virtual Fireside Chat: The Future of Work

3 minutes read
By Eve Lacomblez, Event Specialist Online, Top Employers Institute

Unsurprisingly, the future of work continues to be a relevant topic, whether it is on social media or in the latest trends on the news. The onset of the pandemic coupled with a plethora of technological and business model innovations alongside mega trends such as climate change and sustainability has accelerated the importance of this topic.   

In this webinar we welcomed Dr. Christian Schmeichel, Chief Future of Work Officer at SAP, to discuss the Future of Work and SAPs new Future of Work Leadership Booklet. 

The session started with a question to the audience: What are the first thoughts that come to mind when you hear the words “Future of Work”? Attendees were quick to respond and there seemed to be a consensus that flexibility is key to the Future of Work. 

Dr Schmeichel went a step further and explained that companies interested in the Future of Work also must align their strategy on the future of their workforce and the future of their HR function. This will enable them to see the big picture and ensure each component is leveraging the other. 

Flexible Working Within SAP 

With over 110 000 employees, SAP understands one size doesn’t fit all. With their commitment to “Empower along business requirements” and a recent “Pledge to Flex” they want to empower their employees to have open discussions with their managers on when and where they can work to best serve the team’s goals but also better balance work with their private life. 

A question from the audience on broadening the talent pool outside of local frontiers prompted Dr. Schmeichel to confirm that although not all companies can welcome remote workers from other countries, more are doing so. SAP, on their part, are offering employees to work from abroad up to 30 days a year. 

On the topic of productivity, there is no doubt that if managed well, a hybrid work environment can prove to be greatly beneficial both for the employees and the company. SAP recently did a pulse check survey where 80% of respondents (including managers) confirmed that productivity went up, or at least remained constant, with this hybrid working model.  

The Role of HR in the Future of Work 

Dr Schmeichel says that the future of work will only accelerate, and HR functions need to evolve to keep up with the change. His advice to HR professionals is to ensure more collaboration with all the departments in the company, but also to set up more, shorter, employee engagement surveys.  

A question from the audience then asked how to avoid survey fatigue and make sure employees do fill in those more regular surveys. Dr. Schmeichel’s advice was to make these shorter and more focused. Explaining the rationale of the survey and what comes next are great ways to make employees feel heard and included. 

Another tip is to ensure the survey is user friendly, easy to fill in and enabled to display as well on a computer as on a mobile. 

The Q&A portion of the webinar touched on the new HR professional skillset, data-driven HR, the 4 day-week, and other insightful topics. To access the entire webinar, fill in the form on the right. 

Table of contents
Virtual Fireside Chat: The Future of Work