The future of work had already started to change before the Covid pandemic, but it certainly accelerated during those unprecedented times. There were no rules to follow; we had to come up with a way of adapting and thriving to not only create the best possible working environment for our people, but still deliver for our clients.

Stretching well beyond basic work from home arrangements, we saw an opportunity to design our future of work strategy, to get the right balance between flexibility and productivity. A key consideration was how we could maintain vital on the job training, the “learning by osmosis” that occurs in the office, and build a culture where everyone can be authentic, curious, and bold — in short, ensuring we promoted diversity and inclusion.

Across the globe, we’ve seen a lot of organisations mandate that their employees must return to the office. WTW New Zealand has taken a different approach, developing a hybrid working blueprint. We call it the WTW Work Styles. It’s one that fosters collaboration and achieves the right results for our clients, while also giving our people the chance to see their kids win awards at school or take pets to the vet.

I have proudly watched the WTW team adapt so well to our work styles. We implemented structured “anchor” days, so that teams can work together in the office at the same time and on a regular basis. The most important part of this has been focusing on shared learning – our team doesn’t miss out on the technical conversations that help build their knowledge, and all of us have something new to learn, every day.

Part of that learning experience, and our strategy, is embracing inclusion and diversity (I&D), so that our people can be their true selves, whether at home or in the office. Our mantra at WTW is: we’re better together, because each of us is different – tahi ka kaha ake tatou.

In combining our individual talents, we unlock our collective potential. Our colleague experience has been designed to enhance a strong sense of purpose and belonging, where everyone is heard and valued, and can be their authentic self. We encourage curiosity and innovation, we are bold in our thinking and step into the unknown together, and care about our impact. 

To ensure our values and I&D commitments are reflected in every interaction, we have focused on five key areas: Attract and Hire, Develop, Promote and Retain, Culture, and Brand and Insights. 

I&D has a direct impact on our ability to grow and succeed. Building a diverse workforce which leverages all our best thinking and efforts is the key to sustaining our competitive advantage. We know diverse teams make better decisions, are more creative, and are better at solving complex problems. 

We also know that our clients place a high value on I&D. WTW, from our global CEO Carl Hess through to our segment and geography leaders, is fully committed to I&D initiatives. 

Here in New Zealand, we have more diversity across our business than ever before.  We have several colleague inclusion networks, among them Gender Equity, LGBT+, Multicultural, and Young Professionals. Together we celebrate key events like Māori Language Week, Diwali, and Chinese New Year as well as support a number of our staff in having Te Reo Māori lessons.

The WTW Auckland team is also moving to state-of-the-art offices, designed for hybrid working, fostering collaboration, and reflecting our future of work strategies.

Looking back to life before Covid, I have no doubt that being able to give our staff more flexibility is a real win for our people, our clients, and our business. With our blueprint in place, we have a great base on which to build our people’s knowledge, belonging, and belief that broking offers a challenging and rewarding career.

December 2023