In this article, originally published in the Daily Telegraph, I dive into the heart of the 2023 Intergenerational Report (IGR), focusing on its most crucial aspect: the human impact. While the report extensively covers economic forecasts and policy priorities, here we shift our attention to what really matters – the people who fuel this economic engine.
There has been much focus on the 2023 Intergenerational Report (IGR) and the potential implications and policy priorities stemming from it.
When I read reports like this, I’m drawn to the people perspective of them as, really, that’s what matters beneath the dollars and data. The IGR has a strong focus on productivity, for which many have an outdated view that it’s about the number of widgets that can be produced in a certain time. In reality, productivity is about how people, processes and technology come together to produce outcomes.
As Treasurer Jim Chalmers highlighted, it’s not about making people work harder and longer for less but focusing on practical things to drive productivity growth in the coming years. He called out four key targets — economic dynamism and resilience; data and digital; a skilled and adaptable workforce; and the care economy and services sectors. Workforce management is at the core of delivering these targets. The practice enables organisations to see who and what their people are working on, how long it takes, what time is productive versus non-productive, how much it costs and how it can be optimised.
When done right, workforce management puts people first and people today want flexibility and choice. They want to be able to set their availability for work, see their shifts on a digital platform, know how much they will get paid and then get paid as soon as they have worked.
I’ve worked across most industries over the years and, from my experience, our care sector lacks most of these abilities. I’ve written extensively about the need for healthcare to mature in the workforce management, especially rostering of care workers and simplified payment. These processes, which are under a complicated award and enterprise structure, are still often being completed on paper.
Organisations continuing to operate this way will lack relevance and resilience into the future and will become too expensive to run as less and less people want to work there. Time now should be spent on developing a skilled and adaptable workforce to set us up for the next 40 years.
We need to look after our people and change our outdated views on productivity, and we need to act now.
Jarrod McGrath is author of The Modern CEO and is CEO of Smart WFM