Blog | Why you must start at the top to change the Future of Work mindset

Why you must start at the top to change the Future of Work mindset

In the first of 10 tips inspired by our Future of Work report Mapping the Digital Future, we look at starting from the top.

To succeed in the Future of Work, CEOs and senior executives must understand digital to be fit to lead. Without executive support and understanding for transformative ideas, any successful growth is likely to be hampered.

According to Gi Fernando, Founder of Freeformers, “Our experience has taught us that digital transformation must begin at the top. This will filter through the business, encouraging people to seek new ways of working, build on best practice and leave them feeling supported by the organisation around them.”

He explains one of the most effective methods for a company to change fast is to adopt a more curious mindset, a resilient attitude and a way of working that encourages innovation and the sharing of ideas — but says the C-Suite must first lead by example.

Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, achieved a 100% approval rating from his employees in 2014, thanks to his top-down approach. “Top rated CEOs are commonly seen as relatable, accessible and transparent,” says Robert Hohman, Glassdoor CEO and co-founder.

Another proactive employer was Marissa Meyer, during her time as CEO of Yahoo!, who spoke to her entire employee base every Friday afternoon, according to Forbes, to discuss “The state of the business and company.” Comments from her employees were actively encouraged and brought into the boardroom so everyone knew they were being heard.

This is a sentiment echoed by Alain Dehaze, CEO of The Adecco Group. Writing for The World Economic Forum, he states that tomorrow’s workforce will see CEOs and employers “Fostering inter-cultural environments and an atmosphere of exchange, so all can benefit.”

In the latest Freeformers Mapping the Digital Future report, Ashok Vaswani, Chief Executive of Barclays UK, agrees. He says: “It’s a company’s leadership that has to take it on. Leaders have to live it themselves in the first instance.

“Barclays has worked hard to prepare our people for the digital world. Not just the frontline staff, whose day-to-day tasks have changed massively, but across the board. There’s no one who can avoid it.”