Four human capital trends that are here to stay

A report by HRD Australia highlighted what many of us already know: some of the changes wrought by Covid-19 are here to stay. Here are four trends that employers should embrace.

If the shock of Covid-19 taught the world anything, it’s that the world is unlikely to be run by machines anytime soon. Human heroes, in the form of nurses, teachers, grocers and small business owners, kept the economy running when a deep economic crisis threatened to engulf the world.

At the same time, the pandemic led to changes in work cultures and routines that are unlikely to be reversed. Here they are.

Flexible working arrangements

Say it clear, say it loud. Employees are simply not going back to the office full time. And while that may be bad news for inner city cafes who rely on weekday CBD foot traffic, the savings in commute times and office space mean a win for productivity.

Four Human Capital Trends That Are Here To Stay

A recent study by Seek found that work-life balance outranked salary, career development and location as the prime drivers for those eyeing off a new job. And with unemployment in Australia as a 50 year low, new job seekers are calling the shots when it comes to flexible working arrangements.  

Unitive head and change management expert Joe Ringer says that the change is part of an ongoing trend that is likely to open up some difficult conversations. “The move to flexible working arrangements may be uncomfortable for some of those traditional employers and in many cases will lead to difficult conversations. But I see an opportunity in giving human talent more of say in where they work and even opening up choice around work times.”

Maintaining a strong work culture

One of the challenges facing business leaders with the new hybrid working model is maintaining a strong work culture. Leaders must find new ways to keep their workforces engaged.

Ringer says that this is a win for open and transparent cultural development.

“One of the biggest challenges for a business leader is to step up and develop cultures of trust and mutual respect. If we define culture as ‘the way things are done around here’ – then clearly we are in for a big cultural change,” he said.

Diversity is the key to the future

One of the biggest challenges facing employers is that gains in diversity over the last few decades are not eroded – especially when it comes to gender in the workforce.

Dr Leah Ruppanner, Founding Director of The Future of Work Lab was recently interviewed by Mamamia and called on men and dads to demand more flexibility in working arrangements to end the traditional belief that work flexibility was a women’s issue.

“Men should be putting their hands up to do the flexible work in part because if we go back to business as usual, which is just women take flexible work… and men don’t, it just reinforces inequality,” she told the podcast.

Ringer goes further and sees an opportunity to encourage greater diversity.

“A Deloitte finding shows that diversity can really power creativity and innovation in your organisation,” he says. “And that is not just gender. There are generation and ethnic cultural diversity that are valuable voices to organisations.”


With burn-out numbers increasing, worker shortages and pressures on business to retain talent, Ringer has long been a supporter of taking a much more holistic view of well-being in the workplace.

“Building a cultural of radical trust where those conversations can happen is so important to maintaining the mental health of your employees,” he says.

For support in how you can build more resilient, innovative and productive workplaces, get in touch with Unitive Consulting.

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