Tuesday 5 May 2020


Posted by
James Dalton

The latest research from one of the world’s most respected management consultancy’s confirms that Covid19 is accelerating the biggest business transformation on record. More than that, it points to a new and ‘better’ normal being created, right now …

The new study just completed by Willis Towers Watson has found that 90% of companies believe their culture has improved, 83% believe their employee experience is better, and 84% believe employee engagement has increased. Perhaps, finally, organisations are beginning to understand that when people feel safe, supported and ‘part of it’, they do their jobs better.

The Willis research provides some telling data, detailing the key factors driving this business change and ‘people transformation’.  In essence, it looks and feels like an organisational reset, where people are listening more, communicating more, learning more – and actually doing more.

More engagement = more productivity.
79% of companies who took part in the Willis study feel that the ‘new way of working’ can be more efficient and effective in the long term, through a major re-focusing on personal productivity, wellbeing and resilience. I’ve felt this at first hand, having just come off a call with the CEO of a business bank that’s moved their whole workforce to homeworking and found that they’re dealing impressively with a 700% increase in business loan applications – in a much more effective manner than they were only six weeks ago when the team were all office-based and managing much lower workloads.

The culture of leadership is changing.
According to Watson, 63% of HR professionals say that their culture has improved, with 59% believing their employee wellbeing has risen, and 55% stating that their employee experience has strengthened. That’s an astonishing transformation – and the change is being mirrored in leadership itself: pre-Covid, only 53% of HR teams said their leaders were “responding to the leads of others” and that number has now risen to a remarkable 81%.

Working-at-Home really can work.
Flexible work at home has always had the potential to give people a feeling of empowerment and focus. The Willis study has found that 79% of companies see a positive or neutral change in employee productivity, with only 21% saying it has been detrimental to efficiency. It’s clear that home working  is here to stay in some shape and form –  with phenomenal platforms such as  www.Visibly.io providing easy-to-use eco-systems that enable homeworkforces, or ‘blended’ workforces, to remain engaged and even become public advocates of their business.

The greatest learning experience of our lives.
It’s a time of disruption and cost-cutting, yet 78% of organisations are investing in more onboarding (for example, to accommodate remote workers), 74% are investing in recruitment to re-shape their workforce, 69% are investing in training – and 48% are changing their performance management procedures to reflect this ‘new normal’. We’re seeing this seismic shift here at PeopleStory, with clients requesting neuroscienced Change Management, Team Development and Leadership learning, as well as Proposition Development and Copywriting training to frame their new narrative. Organisations are reshaping, re-imagining, repurposing; and investing wisely in changing the mindsets, skillsets and culture-set to do that.

Having spent many years working the change curve in all types of organisations – across tactical initiatives, major projects and enterprise-wide programmes dedicated to improving workplace engagement, the employee experience and organisational culture – the irony isn’t lost on me that it’s taken a global threat to push us into a new era.

But it was always thus; and always will be. The human brain is hardwired to protect us from threat and from being killed. We have five times the brain neurons dedicated to detecting that threat than anything else. So we only fundamentally ‘move’ when we ‘see’ that threat and deal with it – or on those occasions when our inner light bulb is brought to life and shows us that we can work positively, and enjoy our time working, in much better ways.


James Dalton, Head of Learning & Engagement, PeopleStory.



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