In 2019, the Peak Human Potential report was released to understand how Australians were preparing for a future of work transformed by digital technologies. The key takeaway - in digitally disrupted environments, workers value human connection and prefer learning to be integrated into their work.
This report builds on these findings and uses first of its kind national survey data to investigate the influence of both workplace learning and collaboration on enabling innovation in Australian workplaces.
Even though three in five workers are concerned their current skill set is not suited for the next five years, we found that more than half of Australian workers spend less than an hour a week on any form of learning. 58 per cent had undertaken no formal training in the past 12 months. Without learning at work, their jobs are moving away from them – which diminishes the potential for innovation in their workplace.
Conducted in late November 2019, the survey took on new significance with the arrival of COVID-19, providing the most up-to-date, business-as-usual measure of culture in Australian workplaces.
To ensure the findings are relevant for the post-pandemic era, the Centre for the New Workforce paid particular attention to the types of learning and collaboration that enable innovation in rapidly changing environments within the Australian economy.
Researchers found that frontline workers like salespeople and factory floor workers – who bear firsthand witness to disruption – were some of the least likely to be involved in collaboratively diverse work. Omitting frontline workers in the innovation process is not only a missed opportunity but potentially a fatal flaw.
- Learning at work is not keeping pace with rapid change.
- Diversity of collaboration is lagging behind the amount needed for innovation.
- Worker-driven learning and collaboration diversity are ideal workplace settings to catalyse innovation.
- Now is the time to reimagine the physical workplace to harness disruption-led innovation and learning.