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Deloitte expert details the ‘palpable shift’ happening in workplaces

Deloitte’s Global Future of Work Leader Steve Hatfield joins Yahoo Finance Live to explain how workplace cultures have evolved over the years, particularly since COVID, and how skills are becoming a top priority.

Video Transcript

DAVE BRIGGS: In a boundaryless world, work isn't defined by jobs. The workplace isn't a specific place. And many workers aren't traditional employees. That is not from the trailer of James Cameron's upcoming blockbuster film. That's from a massive study on the future of work. In it, Deloitte polled more than 10,000 business and HR leaders for more than 100 countries across every industry.

Steve Hatfield is Deloitte's global future of work leader. He joins us now. That was my best movie trailer voice. That's why I'm doing this for a living. Steve, good to see you. I want to break that statement in half and start with the beginning-- a boundaryless world, work isn't defined by jobs. What do you mean by that?

STEVE HATFIELD: Well, Dave, great to be here. Thank you for having us. And thank you for that introduction. So what we found in this latest trends report-- and this is the 13th year of our trends report. So we've been watching these trends for that long. That there's a palpable shift from work being defined as something that's repeatable and something that's structured into something that's much more agile and much more fluid. And the boundaries around that have changed.

And so we're moving from jobs to skills. We're moving from full-time employees to workers within an ecosystem. We're moving to a world where we're harnessing worker agency. And it creates this set of dynamics around the boundaries that we used to think of as those that drove how work, workforce, and workplace were shaped, have shifted.

SEANA SMITH: And Steve, to that point, there's been a lot of talk about returning to the office. More and more companies, Disney's Bob Iger coming out yesterday saying employees need to be back in the office four days a week. Is that something that you think isn't going to stick? And employees aren't, then, going to put up with if, in fact, there's a massive, massive priority and a massive emphasis on mobility and flexibility?

STEVE HATFIELD: Yeah, the nature of the hybrid model, the demands of sort of the agility that we're talking about in the trends report, the way in which workers are all able now to interact on digital platforms in our new digital workplace, it speaks to a trend of the workplace itself being very different, not being the place that we go to, to perform our jobs, not going to the place where we get the work done, but rather, it's an input to the work itself.

And so we're urging organizations to sort of clock into that to think about, well, what work needs to be done in a physical location versus a virtual location, and tap into the workforce sentiment that's been really clear about them wanting the kind of flexibility that exists within a hybrid model. So in our millennial and Gen Z study from earlier this year, 75% of them globally would want a hybrid work model. In our women at work study, it was 65%.

And so when we look at the dynamics around the current trends report, we sort of see that the issues around this boundaryless world, this ecosystem driven, digital workplace enabled, skills focused kind of work environment means that there are some real obstacles to getting that to happen. And one of them is actually legacy mindsets. It's the largest obstacle in the way of making these kinds of trends take place in the workplace.

DAVE BRIGGS: So, several questions arise from all that. But at the core of all of it is, what can we employees do to prepare for this? And what can employers do to prepare for this?

STEVE HATFIELD: Yeah, it's a great question, Dave. So we think that there's a new set of fundamentals now, one that leaders and organizations need to clock into pretty quickly. So first, there's this need to think like a researcher, to bring much more experimentation to the table in terms of the re-imagination of work, the reimagination of the workplace. Second, to co-create with your workforce. That level of worker agency, their degree of self determination, the degree to which they actually have such an important stake in what's going on, tap into that.

Those organizations that co-create with their workforce are two times as likely to be more innovative, 1 and 1/2 times as likely to have a workforce that's more engaged and motivated. And then finally, this palpable shift that took place over the pandemic to humanize, to focus on human outcomes, and to help your project teams, to help your team leaders understand how they're humanizing and how they're elevating human outcomes to the fore and how work gets done.

SEANA SMITH: Certainly sounds like a number of changes when we talk about the future of work. Steve Hatfield, thanks, as always, for coming on.