Creating a human future of work

We were delighted to be part of Virgin Unite and The B Team’s 100% Human at Work gathering in Sydney last week. The gathering brought together leaders from 70 of Australia’s most progressive companies, with the mission to drive action and create a more human future of work.

What is the 100% Human at Work Initiative?

The B Team launched the 100% Human at Work Initiative because they believe the time has come for businesses to start thinking of people as human beings and not as resources. They responded to a global shift which moves away from just maximizing profits to focus on how businesses can help people achieve their highest potential and drive positive change in the world. 

Talent was an enthusiastic supporter and one of the founding members of the Australian arm of this initiative, working alongside 150 other members to bring this concept to life. The worldwide network is helping to shape and identify what it means to be a 100% Human organisation under five core pillars: respect, equality, growth, belonging and purpose. By 2026, 100% Human at Work aims to catalyse one million businesses globally to change the way they work for the better and to help people thrive and realise their full potential.

Jean Oelwang addressing the crowd at 100% Human at Work gathering

Virgin Unite President, Jean Oelwang, welcomed everyone to the gathering and spoke about the importance of not just creating change but also looking at the way we drive that change in the workplace. Despite the fact that 58% of people say the relationship they have with the company they work for is one of the most important relationships they have in life, research shows that over 85% of workers are disengaged at work. It’s a compelling reason to work towards creating happier healthier and more human workplaces. 

With some exciting presentations and fantastic topics we wanted to share with you our five key takeaways from the day:

1. Rehumanise leadership 

 “Your culture plan should be just as important as your business plan” - Radek Sali, founder and chairman of Light Warrior

Radek Sali presenting at 100% Human at Work gathering

Radek Sali spoke about the importance of leaders creating a strong culture in their organisation. He told attendees that culture is an essential point of difference, “competitors can see your products and your marketing, but they can’t see or copy your culture”. He also highlighted the importance of rehumanising leadership with a focus on people, principles and passion before profit. “Leaders have a responsibility to create purpose in an organisation that extends into the community. Don’t just give money, take action”. 

2. Bring together technology and humanity

“Technology can liberate humanity. It can support and enable us to be smarter, stronger and faster” - Josh Comrie, Co-Founder and CEO, Ambit

100% Human at Work event panel

One of the panels of the day focused on the convergence of technology on humanity. Economist Allison Pennington expressed her grave concerns for the future of the Australian economy due to a lack of investment in technology and new industries. She outlined that Australia is too heavily reliant on the resource sector citing that the manufacturing industry has lost over 200,000 jobs in the past 10 years. In a world where augmented intelligence is having a greater impact on the workforce, the panel discussed the importance of reskilling and continued learning. While some tasks will become automated, these are the “dull, dirty and dangerous” tasks. Although automation will change roles and the skills required by people will evolve, technology will never replace people. Panellist Josh Comrie, Co-Founder and CEO of Ambit said, “Augmented intelligence can create a more exciting and meaningful existence for humans”.

3. Measure what matters 

The companies that are going to be the winners in 10 years are the ones that realise that doing business as usual is no longer an option.” Halla Tomasdottir - CEO, The B Team

Halla Tomasdottir speaking to the audience at 100% Human at Work event

Halla Tomasdottir spoke about the importance of having a long term mindset and encouraged attendees to lead with a moral compass focusing on purpose and principles. She said that an open mind and the willingness to learn is essential today and in the future of work, “know-it-all leaders belong to the past - you need to be a learn-it-all-leader”. When it comes to how to measure success she explained that companies and leaders need to look at financial and non-financial metrics, with a full assessment of the triple bottom line - environmental, social and governance. “There needs to be a collaboration to create a new global standard for how we evaluate success beyond finances”. 

4. Create human cultures 

“Leaders need to understand the economic benefits of a human centric culture” Mark Nielsen, APAC CEO Talent

Mark Nielsen and Radek Sali at 100% Human at Work gathering

In a panel discussion including Talent’s CEO Mark Nielsen, Radek Sali, and Gen Z expert Clair Madden, the importance of culture and values was addressed in depth. “We spend most of our waking lives at work,” Radek said, comparing a bad workplace to a bad relationship. Claire Madden explained that gen Z’s have substituted depth of relationships for breadth of connections and that because of this people are looking towards the workplace to provide an environment where they can feel connected. Mark discussed the importance of being an authentic vulnerable leader and how it encourages your team feel comfortable to do the same, “a part of the role of a leader is to empower their team to feel safe to be their true and whole selves at work”. 

5. Hire for value fit not culture fit

“Culture happens whether you create it or not” - Dom Price, Resident Work Futurist, Atlassian

Atlassian’s Dom Price addressing the audience at 100% Human at Work gathering

In a lively session, Atlassian’s Dom Price declared “culture exists in every single organisation whether you work on it or not, it’s what happens in the office when you’re not there.” Dom confirmed that the best cultures are created by hiring people who represent diverse perspectives and backgrounds, reflecting on previous teams he had been in with people exactly like him. “It was great fun. Nothing got done, but we had a great time.” Diverse teams lead to much better outcomes, citing the frequently overused term ‘culture fit’ and how this is code for hiring the same people again and again.  “Hire people on value fit and culture add – this is much more important than culture fit.” 

We were so impressed with the passion and enthusiasm from the speakers and attendees and their commitment towards creating a more human focused future of work. To find out more about the 100% Human at Work movement please get in touch.