Select your region

Leading for a
changed future

What are your 'AHA' moments?

Get ready for the new normal

As we transition into a world post-crisis, it’s time for leaders to define what that means for their business and how they can build operational resilience for the future. Get our insights on developing a framework for the future that looks at the learning from the period, champions the positive transformations and ensures agility and sustainability for the future.

An Enlighten leaders' guide

operational resilience

Leading for a changed future – what are your ‘AHA’ moments in 2020 defines operational resilience and examines how leaders can build a more suitable framework for the future.

Get ready for the new normal

As we transition into a world post-crisis, it’s time for leaders to define what that means for their business and how they can build operational resilience for the future. Get our insights on developing a framework for the future that looks at the learning from the period, champions the positive transformations and ensures agility and sustainability for the future.

An Enlighten leaders' guide

operational resilience

Leading for a changed future – what are your ‘AHA’ moments in 2020 defines operational resilience and examines how leaders can build a more suitable framework for the future.

5 ways leaders can build their operational resilience


Enlighten tech helps Northern Trust find resources to share the COVID-19 workload

Northern Trust – Enlighten technology is the solution for workload management

Finding The Right-Fit Technology for Business | Enlighten OpEx

The Link Group – The right-fit technology paves the way for the future

How to Pivot through The New Normal with Suncorp Insurance Manager

Suncorp – A Single Source of Truth for clarity on the new normal

Get ahead with the right partner

Explore how Enlighten can help you build operational resilience and get ready for the future with a free consultation. Contact us now to book in a virtual coffee chat with one of our leadership team and learn more.


Northern Trust – Enlighten technology is the solution for workload management

The crisis highlighted to the Northern Trust the need for being able to deliver their services in an appropriate time, despite the circumstances, and servicing customers sufficiently with a growing demand for their asset servicing and valuation offerings. To that end, they needed to understand their capacity, the cycle time on tasks, the work in progress and the load distribution at any particular time to be able to redeploy quickly and effectively.

Leveraging Enlighten’s solutions, the organisation was able to identify areas where staff could take over work usually performed by other regions. Geographical boundaries were no longer a concern with the remote working situation, and they were able to adapt to the crisis and leverage additional resources quickly.

Pete Cherecwich, President of Asset Servicing at Northern Trust, commented on the flexibility the Enlighten partnership allowed during a high-pressure time. “We’re sending work all over the place. For example, a lot of our asset servicing for the Australian market was performed from Manila in the Philippines. When that closed down, we moved it to Bangkok in Thailand, then to Chicago, and once the Philippines office implemented work from home measures, we moved it back to Manila,” he says. “If we know who has the capacity, we can move that workaround to maximise our output. So, if the volume in Asia is too high, we can have people in the US log in and pick up the slack.

This is a strong example of a business that pivoted quickly, building operational resilience with a future focus and utilising strategic partnerships for greater agility during a disruption.

Learn more about Enlighten’s insights on operational resilience for the future here.


The Link Group – The right-fit technology paves the way for the future

Nigel McCammon, COO APAC, The Link Group

The Link Group has turned the ongoing crisis around to see an incredible 6-12% increase in productivity over the last couple of months thanks to strategic use of the right tools. Tapping into Enlighten’s Single Source of Truth solutions, the organisation based their management strategy around meaningful metrics to drive outcome-based decision-making.

A critical turning point and Aha moment for them was in leveraging the tool’s in-built insights to demonstrate patterns that supported the focus on an elastic workforce. They realised there was significant potential in rethinking how they assigned capacity and leaned on external sources for support, and uncovered a newfound opportunity to harvest capacity from existing sources.

Nigel McCammon, Chief Operations Officer of APAC at The Link Group, speaks about the unique simplicity of Single Source of Truth, saying, “Sometimes the simplicity of the data in the right moment is all that’s needed to carry the message.”

He also highlights the critical importance of having not just visibility, but traceability in data. “There’s a subtle but significant difference in those two words,” he explains. “Visibility suggests observation of an individual’s activity, but traceability gives much more detail, like how our people spend their paid time or how our members and clients interact through the various mediums that we have in the business. Traceability is the critical enabler for us to make better decisions.”

Building on insights from Single Source of Truth, the company has been able to shift past crisis management into developing operational resilience, identifying four key pillars of capability to be strengthened: data integrity, risk and control, people and processes development and change delivery.

This is a game-changing example of an organisation that got ahead by investing in the right tools, designed to enhance their human element.

Get more of Enlighten’s insights on choosing the best-fit tech solutions for your business.


Suncorp – A Single Source of Truth for clarity on the new normal

Annabelle Thompson, Executive Manager, General Insurance Sales & Service at Suncorp

When New Zealand announced the highest level of lockdown procedures starting on 25 March 2020, Suncorp had only just 48 hours to activate 100% remote work arrangements and ensure their employees had all the resources needed to stay work productively from home.

To pivot quickly, Suncorp leaned on Enlighten’s unique Single Source of Truth solutions, tapping into its insights to manage a remote workforce and drive decision-making.

With those insights, Suncorp came to a key realisation or, as we like to call it, Aha moment – that data is crucial to making better business decisions.

Annabelle Thompson, Executive Manager, General Insurance Sales & Service at Suncorp, stresses the importance of clear and comprehensible data in helping the company improve their decision-making process in a way that bolsters its bottom line.

“We use data to build business cases around what’s costing us, whether that’s lost time, drops in customer satisfaction, or whatever metric we may be measuring, and that makes it so much clearer for us to make good decisions,” says Thompson. “Now, we’re investing in process improvements in certain areas because of the data we’ve captured, and it’s helped me forward forecast demands and get my resourcing right for my team.”

In addition to providing straightforward data for better decision-making, Single Source of Truth also helps Suncorp manage their employees’ productivity. Clear visibility, regardless of location, has allowed the company to assess and manage their team’s performance, identify patterns and focus on helping their people be as productive as they could be.

“With data, we’ve built coaching more specifically around the needs of individual employees, rather than just using a blanket team approach,” she shares.

Suncorp is a great example of an organisation that champions the positives and appreciates that, with the right tools, a crisis can be an opportunity to create a better system of management for the future.

Get more of Enlighten’s insights on building operational resilience with a Single Source of Truth.

Navigating an uncertain future with a clearer view of data

In the final insights piece of our series, Leading for a changed future – what are your ‘AHA’ moments, we explore the critical nature of data in ensuring ideal business outcomes. How can leaders build their operational resilience by driving visibility over meaningful metrics? Find out more.

Data is the cornerstone of future business success. It is the new gold, the new oil. In a changed world, data will be the most critical success factor of performance and an organisation’s ability to build operational resilience.

As we shift into the next phase of the ongoing crisis, leaders face monumental decisions amidst a significant management transformation, exploring the new elastic workforce, considering increasingly complex compliance obligations and helping their teams adapt to the future. Data will play a pivotal role in supporting leaders through these make or break choices. But an overwhelming amount of data or poorly managed analysis can be damaging to a company’s ability to simultaneously manage the crisis, support day-to-day operations and build agility for the future.

The data gap

A Deloitte study found that 49 per cent of leaders acknowledge data’s importance in enabling better decisions, while 16 per cent find it essential for adapting strategies and a further 10 per cent use it in improving relationships with partners and customers. And data does have significant value for businesses. It’s critical for making decisions and problem-solving around performance, outdated processes and changing consumer and client needs, the core parts of any business model.

Most leaders see the value in leveraging data in decision-making but aren’t able to tap into it as their systems are not set up to provide the right insights. Especially in post-crisis world, technology will lead the way in enabling change and leaders must invest now in ensuring data is accurate, timely, comprehensive, efficient and accessible.

Navigating a changed world

The digital future brings with it unique challenges unlike any leaders have faced before. The solution is to enable a Single Source of Truth, a comprehensive source consolidating all critical metrics under a singular view so leaders can quickly base decisions around comparative data. Northern Trust recently demonstrated the success of their data management strategy during the crisis, tapping into tailored dashboards that allow them to shift capacity across teams instantly with the right information on not just workloads, but attached skills and profiles. The organisation was able to address reduced outsourced support with efficiently shifting capacity amongst their onshore teams and analyse productivity to actually grow their output and meet a rising demand for their services.

Pete Cherecwich President of Asset Servicing, commented on the realisation brought about by the data, noting that “every crisis forces people to ask themselves whether they really need a function to be performed within their office, or whether they can have someone else do it for them.”

So, how can leaders use data to establish their position in the new world and build sustainable businesses? Here are five ways a Single Source of Truth can help power your future:

  • Enable productivity and quality. Improving data quality ensures more accurate analysis of productivity to reduce wasted effort and idle capacity and automate error-prone tasks. While leaders should be careful not to intrude on employees’ privacy, this can help provide useful suggestions on efficiently allocating resources.
  • Drive a stronger customer experience. Especially in a world post-crisis, the customer’s need is evolving rapidly, and touchpoints are increasingly digital. Leaders will need meaningful insights to predict and form the new customer journey, keep them engaged and provide a tailored experience to stay relevant in a changed future.
  • Ensure an engaged workplace culture. In the new remote world, leaders must work to engage employees and maintain the social fabric of the organizational culture. Looking at the data around their performance can indicate their motivation in the role and environment and measuring that against new leadership changes and company policies being implemented will highlight what suits the workforce best.
  • Manage risks and meet compliance obligations. Automated information consolidation is critical in getting ahead of evolving regulatory demands and increased security risks in the remote environment. From early detection of new risks to breaking down analytics for various stakeholders, a Single Source of Truth will help mitigate damage rapidly and efficiently.
  • Keeping up with the rate of change. Leaders that tap into the potential of data now will be leagues ahead in keeping pace with innovation in their industries, as whole sectors are redefined by digital disruption. Data can help businesses reduce testing time in bringing new services or products to market and keep an eye on the changing demands in virtually real-time.

To build resilience in a new and still uncertain world, leaders must scale their innovation efforts to meet unprecedented market shifts and this can only be done with the real-time access and a comprehensive view of data. Investing in a Single Source of Truth ensures all elements of the business, from employee management to customer experience, can work cohesively, powered by cross-functional insights.

Get a clearer view of your data. To explore how Enlighten can help, reach out to one of our executives, Helen Mackay, at for a virtual coffee chat.

Let’s start a conversation

Nurturing an enterprise-wide resilient compliance culture that performs

In the latest insights piece of our ongoing series, Leading for a changed future – what are your ‘AHA’ moments, we explore the complex landscape of compliance management in the new working world. How can an enterprise-wide compliance mindset help mitigate the potential risks for your organisation in a changed future? Find out more.

Compliance management has always been complicated, even before the crisis. Now, on the precipice of the most significant shift and profound change in management thinking, global leaders face new challenges in maintaining compliance while managing a newly emerging elastic workforce.

Moving forward, developing comprehensive processes around effective compliance will be even more critical. And this starts with encouraging an enterprise-wide compliance-first culture, where employees at every level accept responsibility over risk management.

Compliance in a changing world

Gone are the days where compliance sits as the sole responsibility of a compliance officer or single department. As the world is increasingly digital, there are unique challenges and new risks that must be addressed. Non-compliance can be devastating, as highlighted in the fallout from the Banking Royal Commission report.

Non-compliance directly impacts leaders as they are seen as ultimately responsible. From fines to an irreversible loss of reputation, non-compliance isn’t something to take lightly. Customers also lose trust and faith in a company if they feel their rights are not protected, leading to further financial losses. This, in turn, negatively impacts employee morale which leads to reduced productivity, high employee turnover, and the inability to attract stronger talent to fill gaps. In the current environment, with worsening business conditions, this is the last thing any company needs.

An enterprise-wide team effort

It’s time for leaders to operationalise compliance across the entire enterprise. This means integrating risk management into every level of the business process, including it in the outcome-based activities of your people and ensuring they put it to use.

To then get your company to embrace compliance at every level, the first step is acknowledging the importance of compliance and what it means in the context of the new working world. Leaders should ask: do you have the right licenses for a remote workforce? Does your current policies address confidentiality standards outside the office? How are you adapting digital controls to meet obligations remotely? Are you safely fast-tracking the adoption of new digital tools? How are you mitigating increased cyber risks in a rapidly digitalising world? And the list goes on.

So, how can leaders ensure they embrace the new world safely and securely with confidence and peace of mind when it comes to compliance? The answer lies in having the support of the full workforce.

Here are five critical steps you can immediately take to ensure your enterprise stays compliant:

  1. Devise policies that address new gaps in compliance. The new working model requires new thinking around compliance. Leaders must ensure that internal policies cover issues like maintaining device security, cordoning off virtual meeting rooms, protecting employee privacy while observing performance remotely and more.
  2. Promote a compliance-first culture. Leaders must start from the top down, setting an example for a positive compliance mindset, encouraging employees to take ownership over processes and enabling increased integration between departments to create a shared sense of responsibility.
  3. Deploy appropriate tools and training. You must invest in your people by providing training to use any new digital tools effectively. The 2019 TAS Compliance Index found that nearly 40 per cent of financial services organisations provided less than a day’s training on compliance and 17per cent of firms still used Microsoft Excel as their primary compliance management tool.
  4. Adopt strategic partnerships. Collaboration is critical in meeting compliance challenges head-on and reducing the strain on the organisation and its people. Partnerships allow leaders to quickly assess, review and deploy purpose-fit solutions that help automate processes and reduce the risk of human error.
  5. Review all of your third-party partners. Don’t just focus on your internal processes – the compliance activities of third parties will also impact your ability to meet obligations. The TAS Index also highlighted a severe gap here with over 20 per cent of organisations reliant on external service providers to offer insight into their activities.

The importance of building a more digital-ready, and operationally-resilient business has found new significance. As we transition into the next phase of the crisis, leaders will feel more pressure to ramp up digital transformation and investment into the elastic workforce. However, failing to manage compliance during this will expose organisations to devastating risks

Put compliance worries at ease with the right support. To explore how Enlighten can help, reach out to one of our executives, Helen Mackay, at for a virtual coffee chat.

Let’s start a conversation

What does the Future Hold for Elastic Workforce? | Enlighten 5-in-5 with Andrew Johansen, COO of Enlighten
Andrew Johansen interview

5-in-5 with Andrew Johansen – The future elastic workforce

In the third instalment, we are in conversation with Andrew Johansen, Co-Founder and COO of Enlighten, to understand what the new elastic workforce model looks like and how it will play a pivotal role in helping organisations build operational resilience. Read on to get his insights.  

In our ‘AHA’ Moments – 5-in-5 leadership conversation series, we spend 5 minutes with inspiring leaders who are making a difference through their leadership, asking five critical questions of the now.

What was a key ‘AHA’ moment for you during the last few months?

I think the biggest ever global work-from-home experiment has been a challenge for people and organisations across industries. So, it is incredible to see how quickly people have adapted both personally and professionally. In general, organisations with pre-existing work-from-home solutions, the ability to share and route work with good operational metrics and rhythm have coped exceptionally well; some have changed their models forever. This shift does not only include a new domestic increase in the work-from-home environment but in some cases, global elastic workforces that can quickly move work from country to country promptly depending on demand. I think the most significant AHA moment for me is that appropriate tools and operational metrics and rhythm create not only resilient companies but also massive opportunities to thrive in this environment.

What does operational resilience involve?

Operational resilience involves companies being able to deal with external threats while providing the same level of service to their customers without additional expense. Resilience requires swift reactions and being able to put sufficient plans in place to ensure business continuity. We have found those organisations that understand their operational capability have been able to thrive when others are struggling to survive. We have also noticed that organisations are looking to continue to improve not only their capability but also their resilience.

What does the elastic workforce mean for you?

I think the elastic workforce is about creating a balance between flexibility and output for the company and the individual in the working environment. For this to occur, we need a way to manage and route the work to the right people with the right skills at the right time, a knowledge resource that is real-time and a system to manage and understand our operational performance. This management system needs to be bound in an operational rhythm that strives for excellence. 

This framework, essentially, needs to consider seven key factors:

  • What do our customers think of our products and services?
  • What do our employees feel about working in this organisation?
  • Do our resources have the right skills, and are we developing them appropriately?
  • Do we have a framework to manage and mitigate our risks?
  • How productive are we as individuals, teams and divisions?
  • How effective are our processes and procedures?
  • How much do our operations cost us and where are the most significant opportunities?

How did Enlighten embrace the elastic workforce?

Internally, we can have our engineers work from any part of the globe at any time of the day. The days of 9 to 5 in the office are over. We are now working to create a rhythm that allows flexibility, inclusiveness and collaboration simultaneously. I expect we will have a combination of virtual and physical contact to ensure we keep the social fabric where possible. 

Our consulting teams have been working with clients on several implementations globally to support them during this challenging time, to ensure they are not just surviving but thriving in their new environment. Delivering consulting ‘virtually’ presents several challenges, but also many opportunities. The use of remote consulting support creates so many opportunities for our clients, implementation teams and partners.

What is the new normal at Enlighten?

Our technical team have all been working from home these last few months, and because the tools and metrics have been in place for several years now, we have coped very well with this change. I have seen many positive aspects but also recognise we need to be as inclusive as possible and communicate as frequently as possible to keep our team culture. 

I am not sure you can ever replace the face-to-face deployment advantage. Still, we now have a highly skilled consulting group that can deliver results and provide support globally to all of our clients anytime and anywhere. We aren’t bound by geography anymore, and therefore, our consultants can be deployed across several regions, which affords the significant flexibility in itself. This new way of working allows us to explore the best model for our clients now and in the future. I expect we will end up with several client options and hybrid delivery models, depending on the client’s requirements.

Getting ready for the new world with the right technology

In this article, we examine the pivotal role of technology in shaping the future work environment. What are the key considerations for determining the most appropriate innovative solutions for your business? Businesses worldwide are on the precipice of the most significant transformational change experienced in decades – the shift from a more conventional office environment to an alternative mobile workforce. And significant changes like this require dedicated attention and investment. Looking ahead, leaders across the globe face the same challenge – ensuring a steady state of operational resilience across the entire enterprise while further transition and change takes place. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is to always be prepared for the unexpected, as well as the importance of harnessing a constant state of readiness for change and new ways of working.

It starts with people

Effectively adopting the right-fit technology starts with understanding the desire within a business to invest in technology in the first place. Any investment in technology must create real value for the organisation and its people, ensuring that it meets a critical need and is not just technology for technology’s sake. Leaders must also encourage employee buy-in to ensure the effective use of any new digital tools. Human capital remains the most valuable asset of any business, and regardless of the innovation available, a people-first approach is critical to the success of any technology deployed. The dangers of ignoring employees’ needs are numerous, ranging from poor customer experiences to high staff turnover. Leaders must work quickly to address this, especially as we transition into managing a remote workforce, or as we call it, an elastic workforce. When done well, organisations will see happier employees, sustainable profitability and higher productivity.

A blueprint for the future 

The function of technology revolves around two critical aspects: moving work to the people with the right skills and measuring the effectiveness of the work through meaningful metrics (customer satisfaction, quality, speed, etc.) that define success. So, how can leaders leverage technology appropriately to build up their operational resilience and effectively manage an increasingly remote and mobile workforce? Here are five game-changing ways you can create a successful modern workplace built on the right technology:
  1. Evaluate current systems. Before investing in digital solutions, it’s essential to review existing systems. Start by understanding the digital literacy of the workforce, their response to current tools available, the gaps in the workflow and the capacity for existing resources to be used more efficiently or in addressing a different issue.
  2. Connect offline and online communications.The flipside of increased flexibility in the workforce is increased physical distancing from the rest of the workforce. Social connectivity is critical for moving forward. Leaders must explore tools that bring online and offline communications together, allowing employees to stay connected. A Deloitte paper on digital workplaces found that online social networks internally help boost productivity by 7% and employee satisfaction by 20%.
  3. Focus on the employee experience.Everyone engages with technology differently, with varying levels of comfort. Leaders should consider investing in tools that allow a degree of personalisation and customisation so that their people can optimise their own workflow.
  4. Invest in ongoing training.Giving people tools that they are not familiar with means lost efficiency. Proper training and development need to be designed around someone’s digital literacy to ensure they can benefit from the tools provided, as well as keep up with ongoing improvements or adjustments with ease.
  5. Choose technology that grows with you.Investing in the right tools can be costly, so it’s crucial to optimise the spend by ensuring tools are adaptable and agile. Leaders should choose the right-fit by first addressing the underlying principle of enabling the human element. Solutions aimed to provide employees with the right information at the right time are less likely to be outpaced by innovation given a sharper focus on the capabilities of people.
Essentially, the traditional work environment has profoundly changed and there is no going back. The right-fit technology is a key part of building operational resilience and being ready for ongoing change. When done right, investing in the right technology will close the gap between the way we’re used to working and the new normal we must embrace. Redefine your business transformation today with Enlighten. To explore your options, reach out to one of our executives, Helen Mackay, at for a virtual coffee chat.

Let’s start a conversation

What is Operational Resilience in a post-crisis world?

The unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 crisis has changed the business landscape forever. Now, leaders are grappling with the rapid onset of a new normal; a new way of leading and a new way of operating businesses. While companies slowly emerge from the lockdown, leaders are reviewing the changes and designing a future framework that builds on initial learnings, champions positive transformation, and ensures sustainable operational resilience for the future.

In our previous insights series, Leading for a healthier business future, we examined proactive crisis management, from implementing crisis response teams to measuring the right metrics for increased agility and even the beginnings of shaping the new company roadmap. Now, as we shift into the next phase, it’s time to look beyond the crisis and understand what it means to maintain a healthier business future.

Operational resilience is, at its core, the ability of an organisation to serve its customers and protect itself and its people in the face of crises by anticipating, mitigating, recovering from and adapting to future such events. This means leaders must be able to manage crises while enabling day-to-day operations, continuing to meet regulatory obligations, reducing risks and preparing for security threats. Being operationally resilient involves addressing every facet of the business, from technology deployed to workplace culture, and will require top-down commitment from senior leadership.

The new business environment requires leaders to manage a new normal and understand what it will take to be operationally resilient in a redefined future. This new world is mostly digital, and driven by remote workforces. Forbes predicts that video meetings are here to stay, and changes to the workforce will be permanently adopted. AI-driven technology solutions will be even more popular in enabling these changes, hinting at large-scale digital disruption expected to hit most industries. With this comes increasing challenges around workforce management, digital transformation, cybersecurity, compliance management, customer experience and more. Leaders must be prepared to guide their organisations through significant changes changes and supporting their people through this transformation will need be central to business strategy.

Drawing on our extensive experience helping clients in building agility and sustainability in their businesses, we’ve developed a framework to help you manage this incredibly different future. Our new series, Leading for a changed future – what are your ‘AHA’ moments? explores the critical areas for leaders to invest in for true operational resilience. 

To build resilience in the post-crisis future, leaders must understand:

  1. How to manage an elastic workforce. As we’ve discovered during this crisis, the remote work environment demands a very different way of managing to ensure teams are engaged, productive and collaborative despite the distance. Leaders have had to pivot quickly to meet this change and discover a significant opportunity in enhancing productivity and motivation with the increased flexibility afforded to workers. The challenge now is finding the right balance and measuring the right metrics to continue to build on the success of this forced experiment.
  2. The critical role of technology in productivity. From video conferencing to collaborative team tools, a wealth of innovative tech solutions will be needed to help manage the flexible workforce and ensure ongoing improvement. However, leaders must approach this strategically, ensuring that they don’t invest in technology for technology’s sake, or falling into the trap of pin-point solutions that complicate the process. They must also work to get employee buy-in on the tools and enable the workforce to adopt these effectively, with the right training.
  3. The importance of compliance-first thinking. As new systems and technology are introduced, leaders are faced with increasingly complex security and compliance challenges. To mitigate risks, comprehensive compliance management will need to be explored, from enabling a compliance-first mindset across all levels of the organisations to understanding how key partnerships, such as with RegTech organisations, can help simplify the process, reduce risks and manage costs. Leaders need to step away from viewing compliance as the sole responsibility of the Compliance officers and ensure commitment from all individuals.
  4. How a Single Source of Truth is necessary for transformation. Metrics will be essential across the complete transformation to allow visibility on people and performance, easing the transition. Leaders will need to factor in insights around productivity, customer engagement, employee engagement, organisational culture, quality, risks and costs in decision-making. A Single Source of Truth will help create a resilient operating rhythm that is dependable, accurate, and consistently updated. This will ensure organisations will have the right people at the right place at the right time with the right reporting capability.

Ultimately, achieving operational resilience is a journey of continuous improvement. Leaders must constantly assess, analyse and adapt strategies, knowing there is no one-size-fits-all, and every major business crisis will present its unique challenges. The road to total business transformation will be long and with barriers of resistance, resources and time, requiring investment and consistent support from senior leadership to get people on board for change.

It’s time for leaders to get on the front foot and prepare to face the new normal.

Lead your business into a changed future with Enlighten. To explore your options, reach out to Helen Mackay, Head of Sales and Marketing at for a virtual coffee chat.

Let’s start a conversation

Successfully managing your new elastic workforce

A critical change out of the COVID-19 crisis is the shaping of a new working concept – the elastic workforce. As we shift into the next phase of the ongoing disruption, leaders are starting to consider the opportunity to drive operational resilience through redefined management.

In our leadership insights series, Leading for a changed future – what are your ‘AHA’ moments, we explore how leaders can build agility and sustainability in their organisations. An elastic workforce will be pivotal in allowing leaders to tap into the unique value of its people to drive performance and productivity no matter the circumstance, knowing that their teams are engaged and motivated.

The first step is truly understanding what that means and what it looks like for each individual organisation. There is a wealth of possibilities for leaders to explore in flexibility, ranging from loosening geographical bounds to reimagining roles completely. The current crisis put the spotlight on remote working, but we must now build on this in other forms.

A bolder and better future

The concepts behind an elastic workforce is not new. A 2016 PwC report outlines some of the innovative ideas the company explored for itself, including unprescribed sick leave to allow employees to care for others; reduced hours and flexible working times; job sharing and more. Chief People Officer, Mike Fenlon, stated at the time, “… achieving a culture of flexibility requires a culture of trust – where we can openly discuss our flexibility needs without fear of being viewed as less committed.”

The results speak for themselves in numerous examples. A 2019 report by the Australian Government and Workplace Gender Equality Agency found game-changing cases of companies benefiting from nurturing an elastic workforce, including:

A blueprint for change

So, how can leaders leverage and manage an elastic workforce effectively? Here are three ways to drive that transformation:

  1. People-focused management. This shift is about putting people first which means adapting leadership styles where needed. Leaders must understand that everyone, regardless of circumstance, deserves the same degree of flexibility and that the trust is a given, not something to be earned. If an individual was respected enough to be hired, the same thinking must apply to flexibility.
  2. Accurate information. As explored previously in our piece on meaningful metrics during crisis management, insight-driven data must drive the future. A Single Source of Truth for key metrics helps identify capacity and pairs it with the contextual information needed for leaders to make rapid decisions, especially in reallocating resources to allow flexibility in job roles.
  3. Outcomes over apparent productivity. Leaders must not lose sight of the fact that hours worked or time spent does not translate to better outputs, with short bursts of activity often leading to increased productivity. The key is to ensure the metrics measure true outcomes and that people are given the tools necessary to enable their output as needed.

It comes down to engagement. Investing in workplace flexibility promises significant benefits to productivity by ensuring: employee buy-in, earning the organisation their trust, respect and commitment; higher morale with the additional control they are afforded over their own lives; value added through highly engaged employees that are more driven to produce results even off-time; and even the ability to attract a broader pool of talent enticed by the solid workplace culture on offer.

Leaders, it’s time to embrace the elastic workforce or risk being left behind!

Lead your business into a changed future with Enlighten. To explore your options, reach out to Helen Mackay, Head of Sales and Marketing at for a virtual coffee chat.

Let’s start a conversation

Craig Rice interview

5-in-5 with Craig Rice – Pivoting in a crisis

To kick-off, we are in conversation with Craig Rice, Head of Mercer Administration Services in Wollongong, to explore how Mercer embraced an elastic workforce model quickly during the crisis. Building on existing philosophies to drive results and engagement, Mercer focused on the new normal while investing in ongoing flexibility to consider new possibilities in the workforce of the future.

In our ‘AHA’ Moments – 5-in-5 leadership conversation series, we spend 5 minutes with inspiring leaders who are making a difference through their leadership, asking five critical questions of the now.

What has Mercer’s journey been like transitioning through the phases of the crisis?

I think we’ve done an exceptional job. Right across the organisation, we’ve corralled behind the global principle out of our head office in New York, which is about people first. We’ve always had policies in place that reflect that principle and this made it very easy for Mercer’s leaders to have a clear context to assist decision making.

As an organisation, Mercer has had, for several years, a concept around the flexibility of roles and a technology infrastructure that can be leveraged quickly to allow agility in work environments. For example, about a year prior, we had provided everyone with laptops. So, moving to work from home was very seamless, given our investment in business continuity practices over time.

Has your leadership style had to adapt to the crisis? 

I think it’s fair to say my style, which is to check in with people, give them the space to be able to do their work, hasn’t changed. I’m a very much an output-oriented leader, so I don’t mind how you get there, as long as you get there.

But we also needed to acknowledge that closing the gap on the connection you’d had in the office, of being able to eyeball someone, walk past them, have corridor chats, etc., had to be replaced with more targeted and mindful communication. We introduced the use of instant messenger and zoom, enforced policies around being on time for meetings and showing due respect for people – it was about adapting our style for the situational aspects.

We also surveyed our colleagues to try and understand the shifting moods during this period and the need for greater flexibility. Tapping into the most up to date sentiment has been important to address emerging issues in a timely manner.

What is the new workforce for Mercer? 

The new workforce model is around flexibility, which has been a philosophy of Mercer’s for some years. So this crisis has just proven that one area of flexibility – your environment – can work differently. Now, we’re rolling out a program that extends our different ways of working, by looking at job sharing, decompression of hours, and more. It’s going to be about tailoring individual needs, balancing business needs and breaking down some of the taboos of old school management.

It says to people that I do trust you, I am valuing your contribution, and I don’t have to micromanage you.

So, I think we’re going to see lots more people approach their team leaders and ask for permanent arrangements with flexibility around locations or hours and a host of different things. We have to be creative and smart enough to overlay the service expectations. We have an opportunity to look at the design of work, our resource profile and capacity, so that we can deliver more efficient and sustainable services.

We’ve also seen location doesn’t matter anymore and we’ve proven we can operate as a team no matter where we are, so when you look at the future of work, it’s about more opportunities, thinking and possibilities than before. It’s about creating an environment where leaders across the business realise they can make things happen and be bold enough to suggest something a little different.

What was the pivotal ‘AHA’ moment for Mercer in this time? 

What I was trying to do in that early stage, as we transitioned to work from home, was look at the broader operational trends, and this is where the Enlighten dashboards came into play. We needed the information to drive that rapid and agile decision-making.. It was critical being able to look at the macro picture of your operation and ensure your team remained informed and in control.

Whilst data is interesting, it’s about the insights that you drive from that data. The team were able to answer the big questions – has our productivity dropped, has our productivity improved, why has it improved, where has it improved, etc. It has provided insights around opportunity to optimise your business; you need to be in there understanding what’s happening day by day.

How has this shaped Mercer’s view of operational resilience for the future?

There are various stages of resilience. It starts with personal resilience; how you are coping with change, and how people have transitioned through the emotional phases of this forced change. The other part of resilience is about really making sure the context around why you are operating and what you are doing everyday fits into the broader picture.

We spent a lot of time helping people reconnect with the purpose of the business; we exist to serve our client’s members. We have had many conversations with quite distressed members, some that are financially challenged, and are really struggling in the current COVID environment. When your people align to your purpose, objectives and values, they will go that extra step, as they know they are making a difference in the lives of members at this time.

Overall business resilience comes back down to the ability to tap into your people and know when they’re going well and when they’re not. As leaders we need to reinforce the desired behaviours, show empathy and support our people deliver the service they want to provide to our clients and their members..

Crisis leadership. Learn more on Enlighten.