Empowering Workers, Delivering a Jobs-rich Recovery

Empowering Workers, Delivering a Jobs-rich Recovery

As part of an OECD Forum series, the virtual event Empowering Workers, Delivering a Jobs-rich Recovery took place on 13 July 2021.

This event has now ended and registration is closed – but don't worry, you can still watch the replay!



Prospects for the world economy have brightened. Yet, the lasting and unequal impact of the pandemic on employment is not likely to go away soon. The jobs recovery will lag the wider economic recovery and securing a job is not only about income, but also about access to healthcare, childcare, education, housing and pensions. Whilst the crisis has profoundly disrupted lives and livelihoods, it presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to deliver a jobs-rich, fairer, greener and more connected future. Let’s make it work for everyone.


On 7 July the OECD launched the 2021 edition of the Employment Outlook, the OECD’s annual report on jobs and employment in OECD countries. Each edition reviews recent trends, policy developments, and prospects. As vaccination campaigns continue and some countries begin to loosen COVID restrictions, the 2021 edition looks at the long-standing structural issues that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis in OECD countries.


Read the latest OECD Employment Outlook 2021: Navigating the COVID-19 crisis and recovery and find out more about the challenges brought about by the crisis and the policies to address them.
Go to the profile of David H. Deans

Abnormal Leadership Manifesto

The following is my Q&A with Google Bard about the Future of Work in America. Note, the AI answers to my questions (Q:) closely align with my own perspective. A leader's retrospective mindset merely demonstrates their lack of imagination. Q: In a post-pandemic environment that has created an opportunity to change and evolve our work-life balance, why are so many business leaders craving a "return to normal" in America. Why can't they imagine a better scenario than the prior status quo? The pre-pandemic Normal actually was problematic on several levels for most Americans. A: There are a few reasons why business leaders might be craving a return to the pre-pandemic normal. Fear of the unknown. The pandemic has been a time of great uncertainty for businesses, and many leaders are simply looking for a return to stability. They may be concerned about the impact of remote work on productivity, collaboration, and culture. They may also be worried about the cost of maintaining a hybrid workforce, or the difficulty of attracting and retaining top talent in a competitive market. Lack of trust in employees. Some business leaders may not trust their employees to be productive when working from home. They may believe that employees are more likely to slack off or take advantage of the flexibility of remote work. They may also be concerned about the security of confidential information when it is stored on employees' personal devices. A focus on the bottom line. Some business leaders may be more concerned with the bottom line than with the well-being of their employees. They may believe that remote work is less efficient and that it leads to higher costs, such as increased IT support and office space. They may also be concerned about the impact of remote work on customer service, as employees may be less available to answer questions or resolve issues. It is important to note that not all business leaders are opposed to a hybrid workforce. Many leaders are open to the idea of allowing employees to work from home part-time or full-time, as long as it is done in a way that is productive and efficient. However, the pandemic has highlighted the challenges of remote work, and it is likely that some businesses will continue to favor a traditional office environment. It is also important to note that the pre-pandemic normal was not ideal for most Americans. Many people were working long hours, commuting long distances, and struggling to balance work and family. The pandemic has given many people a chance to reassess their priorities and to demand a better work-life balance. It is possible that the post-pandemic normal will be a better one for most Americans, but it will require businesses to be flexible and to adapt to the changing needs of their employees. Q: The Gallup study of "employee engagement" (or the ongoing lack of it) seems to indicate that "a traditional office environment" may be a significant contributing cause to the cultural failings of the pre-pandemic Normal. So, why do some business leaders crave a return to low levels of employee engagement? That seems like irrational behavior. A: I agree that it seems irrational for business leaders to crave a return to low levels of employee engagement. However, there are a few possible explanations for this behavior. Leadership style: Some leaders may be more comfortable with a traditional top-down management style, in which employees are expected to follow orders without question. This style of leadership can be effective in some situations, but it is often not conducive to employee engagement. Fear of change: Some leaders may be afraid of change, and they may see a return to the pre-pandemic normal as a way to avoid having to make changes to their business. However, change is inevitable, and businesses that fail to adapt to change will eventually be left behind. Short-term thinking: Some leaders may be focused on short-term profits, and they may see a return to the pre-pandemic normal as a way to save money on things like office space and IT support. However, businesses that focus on short-term profits at the expense of employee engagement are likely to suffer in the long run. It is important for business leaders to recognize that employee engagement is not just a nice-to-have, it is essential for business success. Engaged employees are more productive, more creative, and more likely to stay with their company. Businesses that want to succeed in the long run need to invest in employee engagement. Tips for improving employee engagement: Create a culture of trust and respect: Employees need to feel like they are trusted and respected by their managers and colleagues. This means giving employees autonomy and decision-making power, and it means listening to their ideas and feedback. Provide opportunities for learning and development: Employees need to feel like they are growing and developing in their careers. This means providing them with opportunities for training, development, and mentoring. Foster a sense of community: Employees need to feel like they are part of a team and that they are working towards a common goal. This can be done by creating opportunities for social interaction, celebrating successes, and providing recognition for individual and team accomplishments. Balance work and life: Employees need to be able to balance their work and personal lives. This means providing them with flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting and flextime, and it means understanding that sometimes employees need to take time off for personal reasons. By following these tips, businesses can create a workplace where employees are engaged, productive, and happy. Q: Okay, so what is your assessment, are there enough progressive American business leaders that will join a "Work Passion Movement" that combines the benefits of Flexible Working models with Digital Transformation methodologies? A: I believe there are enough progressive American business leaders who would be interested in joining a "Work Passion Movement" that combines the benefits of flexible working models with digital transformation methodologies. A recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 70% of employees want to work remotely at least part-time. And a study by the Boston Consulting Group found that companies that offer flexible work arrangements are more likely to attract and retain top talent. Digital transformation can also help businesses to improve employee engagement and productivity. For example, by using tools like video conferencing and project management software, employees can collaborate more effectively and stay connected even when they are working remotely. Of course, there are some challenges to implementing a "Work Passion Movement." For example, businesses need to make sure that they have the right technology in place to support remote work. And they need to create a culture of trust and flexibility so that employees feel comfortable working in a non-traditional way. However, I believe that the benefits of a "Work Passion Movement" outweigh the challenges. By embracing flexible working models and digital transformation, businesses can create a more productive, engaged, and happy workforce. Benefits of joining a Work Passion Movement: Increased productivity: Studies have shown that employees who work from home are more productive than those who work in the office. This is because they are able to work in a distraction-free environment and they have more control over their work-life balance. Improved employee morale: Employees who are able to work from home are more likely to be happy and engaged in their work. This is because they have more flexibility and they are able to spend more time with their families and friends. Reduced costs: Businesses that allow employees to work from home can save money on office space, utilities, and other expenses. If you are a business leader who is interested in joining a "Work Passion Movement," here are a few things you can do: Survey your employees to see if they are interested in working from home, or any location other than a traditional office. Create a policy that outlines the rules and expectations for remote work. Provide your employees with the technology and training they need to be successful working from home. Trust your employees and give them the flexibility they need to do their jobs. Learn more from my thoughts on the quest for Work Passion advancements. We are engaged, fearless and passionate. Join us.
Go to the profile of David H. Deans

An Inconvenient Truth: HR Leadership in 2022

Organizations must focus on equipping people managers, who are the stewards of sustainable performance, with the right skillsets to ensure they and their teams succeed in their preferred "hybrid working" environment, according to the latest research by Gartner. Here are their insightful survey findings https://bit.ly/3JoajsI
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Business Technology for The Anywhere Workspace

As we enter 2022, more employers will empower their key employees to work wherever they desire and engage with customers whenever and however they prefer. Moreover, the ongoing transformation to an 'Anywhere Workspace' will drive strategic IT spending and advance cloud-based SaaS adoption. The latest research findings https://bit.ly/3HyA0G6
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Work from Home: Broadband Service Provider Upside

As demand for broadband internet access increases, many providers focus on infrastructure upgrades. "I believe that broadband service providers will target the employers of remote workers that are based in home offices. They require reliable and secure network access to the corporate data center and SaaS applications." > More...
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Future of Digital Work: Ongoing Renewal and Acceleration

Savvy CEOs are inspiring their executive leadership team to clearly articulate a 'Digital Workspace' strategy that will differentiate them from their peer group within the Global Networked Economy. Today, a compelling digital business growth agenda is a paramount goal for all forward-looking board of directors. Gartner Inc. has shared insights from their latest worldwide market study.
Go to the profile of Willemien Bax

Skills in the Digital Workplace

What needs to happen to equip people with the skills they need in today’s more digital workplace? What is the role of business in making that happen?
Go to the profile of Willemien Bax

Inequalities in society and the labour market

The current crisis is increasing the inequalities in society and the labour market that were already significant. What are, in your view, the most urgent actions to take to reverse this trend?