Workforces: Gig economy gone good
To truly make circular talent models stick, however, businesses need to think about how best to ensure sustainability in their roles. This means giving people the ability to work anywhere, anytime. Flexibility is a cornerstone of sustainable business, and nowhere is this more championed than in the gig economy.
In 2020 we’ll see the gig economy becoming integrated into large corporates, whereas previously they were restricted to digital natives. This will be possible through a focus on process changes and mindset which accepts that flexible working is part of the future and it is here to stay. At its core, the gig economy enables businesses to tap into talent pools that are hard to reach: those with caring needs, disabled people, or those outside of major cities. As almost every industry is now facing a major skills shortage, bringing the gig economy out of the shadows and into the corporate enterprise world will mean that in 2020, we will see previously untapped talent adding new or forgotten skills to the workforce.
The onus will be on big corporates to make the move to these sustainable talent models, enabling employees to come and go as they please, while ultimately helping drive the bottom line.
Workplaces: Enter the Trust Economy
All of the above relies on a huge degree of trust, both between suppliers and corporates, and employers and employees. Trust will enable transparency. And with transparency comes a whole world of possibilities, both within workplaces and across circular supply chains. Good job, then, that we will see the birth of the Trust Economy in 2020.
Making the Trust Economy a reality will rely on transforming corporate mentalities. In circular supply chains, having trust across the whole ecosystem is crucial for sustainability and ethical practices. Businesses must be trusted to source products ethically, and treat every worker in that supply chain fairly. Meanwhile, consumers place their trust in businesses who are doing all they can to be sustainable – through actions, not just words.
From an employer and employee perspective, Microsoft recently trialled a 4-day working week in Japan, which saw increased productivity. The transition for corporates should be from a model that measures by time spent to one measuring by outcome. This enables productivity with purpose, rather than just being busy: this comes as much from the physical workspace itself as from an employee’s to-do list. It also relies on employers implicitly trusting their employees to get the job done, and then rewarding those employees for the work they complete.
Circularity might sound like a wishy-washy term to those who don’t see its impact. But within the next year, we will see all of the above start to take shape in some of the world’s biggest businesses. For the C-Suite, 2020 should be the year that sustainability is brought out from the darkness and into the light.