Redesigning the Way Work Works Post-Covid, with Bruce Morton, Ep # 73

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By Mark Whitby. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

What does the future of recruitment look like?

We’ve all been forced to adapt to new ways of working in recent times. We’ve experienced a decade’s worth of change compressed into a matter of months. However, much of that change has been reactive. According to Bruce Morton, author of “Redesigning the Way Work Works,” there has never been a better opportunity to strategically redesign our way of working.

Bruce is the Global Head of Strategy for Allegis, one of the top 5 largest staffing companies in the world. Bruce has worked at Allegis for 11 years and has over 40 years of experience in the human capital industry. He is well known as a global workforce design and talent acquisition expert. He has designed, implemented and managed some of the largest resourcing solutions across many different parts of the globe.

In this fascinating interview, Bruce explains the emerging role of “work-design architect,” the trend towards “projectizing” tasks, and the concept of “talent anywhere.” He also discussed the enduring impact of Covid on the future of businesses, from car manufacturing to office spaces.

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [3:46] Bruce’s role as Global Head of Strategy at Allegis Global Solutions
  • [7:42] Discussing Bruce’s 2019 book, “Redesigning the Way Work Works” -- which of his predictions came true and how would he revise the book in light of Covid?
  • [12:14] What is the “work-design architect” and how is it opening a world of possibilities?
  • [17:59] If, when and how people should return to the office.
  • [22:08] Beyond employer branding: how companies can attract top talent and increase employee engagement by “projectizing” their tasks and introducing “stretch assignments.”
  • [28:20] The trend towards “talent anywhere” and remote working.
  • [32:02] The benefits of “one-click apply”
  • [41:38] Covid realizations and enduring impact on the future of business - from car sales to office space.
  • [43:24] Measuring outcome instead of input.
  • [46:00] Why the opportunity divide is getting bigger and what role we can play as recruiters.

“Redesigning the Way Work Works”

When Bruce turned 60, coinciding with his 40th anniversary in recruitment, he wrote the book Redesigning the Way Work Works. He considered it as a gift to himself as well as his gift to the industry. The book was published pre-covid in 2019. I asked Bruce which parts of the book would he revise post-pandemic and which of his key themes or predictions came true?

He replied: “If I have time to rewrite it or update it, I would love to be able to do that and just put a big stamp on the front ‘Post Covid’. Because some of the projections that I made in the book that I was saying five to 10 years, actually happened within the first two months of Covid.”

Bruce then proceeded to share his thoughts about innovation, how the way of working has significantly changed, and how organizations should think. One of my key takeaways was to “stop being limited by the four walls around you.” That will make more sense once you listen to the interview.

Company Branding and How to Attract Top Performers

How do you establish a culture that attracts top talent? The culture used to be based around the office environment. So how do you establish a brand of being a “great place to work” when most people are working remotely?

We started out discussing ideas you’re already familiar with, like the need to provide great benefits, embrace diversity and inclusion, and social corporate responsibility. Then Bruce shared a few paradigm-shifting concepts that I’d never heard before. He explained, “When you are trying to attract people it used to be all about the company name.” Bruce explained how we’re seeing a shift from being primarily loyal to the company to being loyal to the craft. Given that people are now more loyal to the profession or their expertise, Bruce pointed out that in order to attract strong performers and top talents, companies should focus on two things:

  • “Projectizing” tasks and
  • Giving stretch assignments

The Opportunity Divide and What We Can Do

A topic that Bruce is passionate about is the “opportunity divide.” He explains, “I think that it is horrendously staggering that the better we get at utilizing technology, the smarter we get as a human race, the opportunity divide is getting bigger and bigger… A CEO now on average earns 320 times more than an employee. Ten years ago the difference was only ten times.”

So how do we as an industry make a positive impact on people’s lives and reduce the opportunity divide? Bruce said, “How do we educate all of our clients to think about opportunity divide and truly give people opportunity? Bruce talked about recruiting based on somebody’s potential versus recruiting based on somebody’s past experience.

Bruce Morton Bio and Contact Info

Bruce is in his 40th year in the human capital industry and has been recognized as HR Thought Leader of the Year by HRO both in EMEA and in the US. He is the author of the book ‘Redesigning the Way Work Works.’ As the Head of Strategy for Allegis Global Solutions, Bruce concentrates on adding increased value to clients from new services and product idea generation, digital transformation, internal and external thought leadership through conferences and speaking engagements.

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