We were delighted to partner with Virgin Unite for the fourth time, bringing together HR leaders from across Australia for an exclusive gathering under the 100% Human at Work theme. The foundation of 100% Human at Work is based on the belief that businesses should consider people as human beings, not mere resources.
The latest Gallup research shows that 77% of people are not engaged at work, 59% are emotionally detached, and 18% are miserable. Today’s gathering was a chance for our HR community to collaborate and co-create the future of work through engaging talks, interactive panels and workshops.
Attendees heard from experts in various fields and had the opportunity to break into small groups to share experiences and insights on how to shape a vision for a better future of work that serves both humanity and the planet. Every session encouraged us to think critically about the changes we can drive in our own organisation to make our business 100% Human.
We started the day with a Walk on Country, led by Binowee Bayles, Head of Indigenous Programs at AMP. With her infectious energy, Binowee took us on an eye-opening experience, sharing her extensive knowledge of the land and her passion for building shared understanding. Seeing the land through Binowee’s eyes helped us better understand the native plants that have had many uses for First Nations peoples from the beginning of time, details in the buildings in The Rocks, and a newfound respect for Mother Earth. Sharing this experience with the 100% Human at Work community set the stage for an impactful day. During the walk, we built trust with one another, which paved the way for authentic conversations throughout the rest of the day.
Balancing the Human and Artificial Future of Work
First up, Creel Price, Co-Founder of Investible, led a thought-provoking discussion with expert panellists Dr Fiona Kerr, Founder and CEO of the NeuroTech Institute, and Dr Sean Gallagher, Director, Center for the New Workforce at Swinburne University of Technology. The discussion revolved around generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how we can build a human future of work. From a research lens, the panel examined the solutions that can help businesses empower their workers to thrive in disruptive times and create value for their organisations. They highlighted the unique advantages that both people and technology can offer and emphasised the importance of shaping a human-centric future that balances human and AI. The panel then asked us to consider how disruption affects the structure of work and how we can use AI to realise human potential. The 100% Human at Work community explored what we might lose by automating and how we can maintain the unique benefits of both AI and a human future of work. We unpacked how we can actively shape technology in line with the type of world we want to live in. A key takeaway from this discussion was the power of physical connection and how it can facilitate improved application of generative AI in the future.
Harnessing Talent and Generational Differences
During our breakout room sessions, we spent time in small groups exploring how to effectively harness talent, especially in today’s significant talent shortage. We heard from experts in the field and discussed best-in-class hiring practices that bring excluded groups to work. A key takeaway from this session was the importance of partnering with specialist organisations that can introduce untapped markets. We also explored programs to attract mature workers, migrants and applicants of all abilities.
In another interactive group session, we mined the collective intelligence of the room to unpack how businesses can amplify the voices of people with lived experience to bring insight into generational differences. We explored how to unlock the value of storytelling and how to create purpose by linking strategy with company values. The session also highlighted the fact that well-being solutions are only as good as the environment they are put into. As a group, we explored opportunities to give all generations a seat at the table and a voice to contribute to the company blueprint. We also discussed the importance of creating communities and prioritising flexibility to address individuality and diversity.
The Power of People First
An absolute highlight was a thought-provoking session with Jason Timor, Managing Director of Stonecrab. Jason brought his passion for indigenous engagement and addressed the role of business in reconciliation and The Voice to Parliament. A key takeaway from his sessions was the importance of crafting your ‘why’ first, then looking at your ‘what’. The community also explored the role businesses play in giving all minority groups, including Indigenous Australians, an equal opportunity.
Finally, Sally Braidwood, Head of ESG and Corporate Reputation Research at Ipsos ANZ, and Ipsos ANZ CEO Simon Wake shared recent research in the field of mentally healthy organisations using quantitative data. They explored the impact of Leadership, Fulfillment and Connection, focusing on Leadership as the primary driving factor. A key takeaway from the session was the importance of managing conflict within the organisation in a transparent, fair and consistent way. The research also highlights the significance of following through with promises, unlocking the power of vulnerability, making people feel valued and embedding diversity and inclusion within our work environment. The real impact was the power that comes with accessing a network of like-minded people to learn from others and implement initiatives trialled and tested within other environments.
We would like to extend a big thank you to Virgin Unite, our expert panellists, and our very engaged community of senior HR leaders from all over Australia. We look forward to hosting many more insightful gatherings for our network over the next few months. Stay tuned for updates on our upcoming sessions here.