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Business leaders continue to strive to become highly rated workplaces, with some spending money on wellness centers and recreation rooms, but many must still address the renewed interest among workers in doing “good work.” Employees increasingly search for intrinsically rewarding experiences and places where they can make a contribution that fits with their values. When jobs are broken down into tasks and some of those tasks are automated, companies need to restructure and revalue people’s contributions. Good work should include fair pay, tolerable levels of change, autonomy, control over one’s work and a chance for fulfillment, as well as a satisfying work-life balance, opportunities for travel for those who want it and a diverse, inclusive and respectful workplace. A Harvard Business Review survey of more than 1,200 business and human resources leaders in 10 industry sectors in 79 countries clearly shows just how important the human side of work is to people, and among the 45 organizational capabilities important in today’s working world, those identified as priorities for business leaders were building trust, valuing human skills, supporting mental and physical well-being, managing workloads and having workspaces that encourage collaboration and creativity.

In order to provide these factors, companies need to use technology to deliver better on-the-job experiences. The study recommends using big data and advanced analytics in workforce decision making; employing data to monitor the skills gap in the workforce; using data analytics to eliminate bias from hiring and rewards; ensuring HR professionals are trained to use analytics for workforce decision making, predicting and monitoring the skills gap, and eliminating bias from hiring and rewards; developing policies and practices to encourage flexible working; managing workloads to ensure employees don’t burn out and do take vacations; using predictive analytics for all of the above; developing career path models that mirror how people work today, not simply up-or-out paths; creating work paths that nurture adaptability and agility by promoting rotations and skills development; and designing workspaces that promote well-being and accommodate a variety of working styles. Leaders need to not only tackle burnout but also build social resilience, encourage agility and adaptability, support “intrapreneurship” and provide autonomy.

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