Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed a number of great changes to the workplace. There’s the surge in the advancement of AI; four-day work weeks being tested in companies around the world; and remote and hybrid forms of working finding favor with employees everywhere. The workplace culture as we knew it just a decade or so ago is seeing a major ideological shift. Change might bring challenges and questions, but it also offers opportunities.
It is for this reason that a workplace culture conference, CultureCon™, will be held this year in the Australian cities of Melbourne and Sydney.
“CultureCon™ is an event that we’ve established based on a series of universal needs,” says Associate Professor Karl Treacher, group CEO of The Culture Institute of Australia and Chairman of The Brand Institute.
The invitation-only, one-day event will be packed with industry leaders sharing their insights on the new ways of working, as well as their empirical predictions about the future of the workplace. It will also feature leading experts in culture and engagement along with renowned business leaders and HR professionals. Ideas and issues discussed will include game-changing leadership practices and the implications of AI in the workplace, trends in work styles and case studies from some of the largest companies in Australia.
Ahead of the Melbourne conference, which is to take place on 28 March, we spoke with Treacher – who has spent two decades working in culture diagnostics and advisory – about the particulars of the event and his insights into the changing world of work.
The war on talent and the importance of taking an intuitive approach
Ask Treacher at what point the need for a large-scale discussion about the global work culture arises and he’s quick to answer: at the start of a 20-year war on talent.
“Organizations are finding it really hard to attract and, more importantly, to retain talent. Treacher explains that the biggest post-pandemic transformation has been in the mindset of employees.
“They certainly feel a sense of loyalty and belonging, if employers build it culturally,” he notes. “However, they don’t feel that sense of obligation or pressure to be in the workplace like they used to. This is incredibly important for all CEOs and leaders to understand.
“The predictions are that the leaders who follow a particular strategy will have a higher churn rate, will struggle to get quality talent and will end up chasing their tail. Whereas the leaders who are more intuitive and perceptive of what’s actually happening – and are putting in place more flexible working arrangements – are the ones who have already seen significant performance growth and are attracting great talent.”
The question of ethics against development at large
As ChatGPT begins to write everything from poems to codes within seconds, a concern that springs to mind is: who, or what, is actually performing an employee’s task? While this lack of transparency poses a real problem within some industries, Treacher predicts that the development of AI could also offer new possibilities.
“It’s going to be the most interesting development, technologically. We’ve got things like virtual water coolers and virtual environments that will bring cultures together and help people collaborate,” Treacher explains. “But in particular, it is going to have a very disruptive role moving forward, because the concept of responsible AI needs to be elevated to catch up with where it is today. The governance of AI is going to be a big challenge and this is one of the topics discussed at CultureCon™.
Learning to unlearn
As employers express concern about how to create, build and foster a healthy work culture in the digital age, the message from Treacher and The Culture Institute is very clear: “Challenge your assumptions and acknowledge that we are in a new era of workplace culture, one where leaders can no longer pretend to understand culture while palming it off to HR; an era where every leader will need a substantial level of cultural acumen, well beyond what exists today. CultureCon™ is just the start.”
To secure an exclusive 50 percent discount off your CultureCon™ ticket, simply visit the ticket page and enter the code CEOMAG50 at checkout. Tickets are limited and available for purchase until 10 March.