The time is now for employers and organizations to “double down” on an innovation-driven future, says Royal Bank executive Mark Beckles at a recent panel alongside Mark Patterson, executive director at Magnet, and Dr. Wendy Cukier, founder of the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University.
“We don’t know what we don’t know, but if history is a predictor of the future, we know enough to be innovative in our approaches around how we’re going to create a just society,” said Beckles, who is the vice-president of social impact and innovation at the bank.
“As I’ve said before, when organizations have a common purpose around key and big issues, when we come together, anything is possible.”
The webinar, Defining the “New Normal” and Designing the Employee Experience of the Future, Today, was hosted by Magnet and EnPoint, and part of the Building Future Ready Communities: Virtual Tour series that highlights diverse voices on topics related to the future of work.
Beckles, Patterson and Cukier discussed how organizations will need to adapt in a post-COVID world.
Beckles said without a doubt, technology is the “great social leveller” in the workplace today, not only by enabling employees to work from home but also by blurring geographical boundaries and allowing employers to attract talent not possible with an in-person office work model.
But with those advantages, the greater reliance on technology during the pandemic has also laid bare the inequities that exist.
Patterson says everyone — corporate Canada, post-secondary institutions, governments and not-for-profit organizations like Magnet — has a responsibility to collaborate and ensure that we create the future we want.
“We need to come together. Not let a lot of the divisive issues out there right now drive us apart,” said Patterson, who heads the social innovation platform.
Magnet has tripled its team since the pandemic began and while productivity has increased, Patterson says what’s just as important is continuing to build a sense of community and a common shared purpose.
Cukier says it’s also key for individuals to be the driver of change.
“Organizations are nothing but bunches of people,” she said.
“It comes back to thinking about your own power and influence and being clear of where your strengths and weaknesses are, and thinking about not just how you can advance your own career prospects but how you can lift as you climb.”
A post-COVID world will present an opportunity to rebuild for the better and rethink how we can create organizations with a laser-sharp focus on issues of inequality, she added.
Watch the full event recording below: