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Five Workplace Culture Trends of 2021

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Five Workplace Culture Trends of 2021 1

5 January 2021 – 2020 – a year like no other – is responsible for driving organisational change, especially workplace culture, which has witnessed considerable upheaval over the past 10 months. Workplace culture expert, O.C. Tanner Europe, foresees that the pandemic and its fallout will accelerate further changes on a scale never before witnessed. Here are its top five workplace culture trends of 2021:

  1. 2021 will see a big focus on organisational culture – COVID has altered priorities. Perhaps for the first time, the importance of a thriving workplace culture has been driven home, with leaders realising that culture isn’t just about the physical perks such as the table tennis table and massage chair, but is about connecting people to purpose, accomplishment and each other.  After months of remote working, furlough and general workplace flux which has caused mass anxiety and financial strain, many organisational cultures need healing and fixing. Leaders will need to find ways to bring people back together, even if it means doing this remotely , and some leaders may even need to strip everything back and re-build a more positive, connected and purpose-driven culture from the ground-up.
  2. How we work has changed for good – Research by the O.C. Tanner Institute found 77 per cent of employees say their workplace culture will never return to pre-Covid-19 normal. Remote working will continue well into 2021 and as employees have proven that remote working can be as efficient and productive as being in the office, many organisations will allow employees to work remotely permanently. On top of this,  with many organisations having had to adapt to virtual working, many normal work processes have changed for good. Companies have already adopted new recruiting and hiring processes, including virtual interviews and even the benefits that appeal to employees right now are shifting. Rather than unlimited holidays, paid parental leave has become important. There’s also a renewed focus on mental and emotional wellbeing.
  3. A greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion (D&I) – Organisations can no longer remain silent on social issues. Employees expect their companies to be vocal on issues of injustice and inequity and this includes a greater emphasis on D&I. And instead of focusing on how to avoid exclusion which is an approach initially driven by legal experts to avoid litigation, the key is to concentrate on inclusivity. This means companies should look past categories such as race, gender, or sexual orientation and nurture each person as an individual. With just 44 per cent of employees saying their company’s diversity and inclusion approach feels sincere, there is a huge opportunity for organisations to improve their efforts.
  4. Generation Z needs to be connected to purpose – Employees in this generation are entering the workplace and more than any previous generation, they are highly connected to social issues and want to make a difference in their jobs. This generation isn’t about climbing the corporate ladder but want to feel that they belong and that their company has an inspiring and relatable purpose. In order to attract and engage Gen Z employees, companies must connect their work to purpose, practice modern leadership and focus on wellbeing.
  5. Real digital transformation is happening – Covid-19 has forced true digital transformation that companies may have had on their ‘to do’ lists for years. Technology has been used to connect us together and keep us working during times of social distancing and remote working, and technological innovation is not stopping any time soon. Mobile tools are more important than ever, as well as strong data security and robust internet capabilities. We will continue to see more technological developments this year, with a focus on bringing people together despite many employees still working apart.

Robert Ordever, Managing Director of O.C. Tanner Europe says, “Leaders and HR professionals need to be prepared for the challenges ahead as they tackle the fallout from the pandemic. There must be a concerted effort to heal broken and damaged workplace cultures while building on the positive developments as a result of COVID-19. Inclusive, connected and purpose-driven workplaces must be prioritised and it’s time to drive technological advancements to bring people together. 2021 needs to be a year of deliberate and positive transformation.”

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Dollar edges before Fed meeting, euro slips

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Dollar edges before Fed meeting, euro slips 2

By Ritvik Carvalho

LONDON (Reuters) – The dollar edged higher against a basket of currencies on Wednesday as markets waited for comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who is likely to renew a commitment to ultra-easy policy.

The dollar reversed declines against riskier currencies, even as pandemic recovery hopes got a boost from the International Monetary Fund’s upgrading its forecast for 2021 global growth.

Treasury yields, whose rise had supported the dollar at the start of this year, declined overnight amid caution about the eventual size of and delays to President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus plan.

“While the Fed had been consistent for the past few months that the balance of risks was still to the downside, we could see a more neutral stance being taken,” said John Velis, FX and macro strategist at BNY Mellon.

“This would be seen as a marginally hawkish turn on the Committee, but we think that the Chair will make it quite clear that neither interest rate rises nor any quantified timeline for tapering bond purchases is under consideration.”

The Fed chair is due to speak at a news conference after the central bank’s two-day policy meeting, which ends Wednesday.

Earlier this month, he said in a web symposium with Princeton University that the U.S. economy is still far from the Fed’s inflation and employment goals, and it is too early to discuss altering monthly bond purchases.

Graphic: Federal Open Market Committee Projections – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/dgkplkqagvb/Pasted%20image%201611737561069.png

The dollar index ticked up 0.1% to 90.284 on Wednesday in Europe, following a 0.2% decline the previous session.

The gauge has been consolidating since bouncing off a nearly three-year low of 89.206 at the start of the month.

The British pound climbed to its highest since April 2018 at $1.3753 before trading slightly lower at $1.3724. [GBP/]

The Aussie dollar slipped 0.2% to 77.30 U.S. cents, paring Tuesday’s 0.5% rally.

EURO/DOLLAR = ECB/FED ?

The euro dipped 0.1% to $1.2146.

Analysts said reports on Tuesday the European Central Bank was studying whether differences with the Fed’s policy are boosting the euro – part of a wider review of financing conditions – would not have a material effect on the currency.

It’s “probably one of those headlines where it’s a buy on the dip moment in euro/dollar here,” said Jordan Rochester, FX strategist at Nomura in a note to clients. He remained long the euro/dollar spot rate, Rochester said, with a target of $1.25 by the end of March.

ECB President Christine Lagarde has repeatedly said the central bank is carefully monitoring the single currency’s exchange rate.

“We suspect they might find that higher inflation is more credible in the US and that euro/dollar spot is closer related to the global manufacturing sector (which is doing well), not European services and maybe, that expectations are elevated in terms of Europe’s comeback,” said Lars Sparresø Merklin, senior analyst at Danske Bank.

“Either way, this adds to a growing number of countries who appear uncomfortable with USD weakness.”

(Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; editing by Larry King)

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Heavy industry, transport sectors to align on net-zero climate plans

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Heavy industry, transport sectors to align on net-zero climate plans 3

By Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Over 400 companies across some of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitting industries – from shipping to steelmaking – have agreed to work together on plans to decarbonize by 2050, according to a coalition of climate advocacy groups that set up the partnership.

The agreement, to be announced at the virtual Davos World Economic Forum on Wednesday, includes giants like miner Arcelor Mittal, shipper Maersk, and oil behemoth Shell. It is intended to complement rising international ambition to make the aggressive emissions cuts scientists say are necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Companies in the agreement represent seven global industries – steel, cement, chemicals, aluminum, shipping, aviation, and trucking – that together account for nearly one-third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The deal, dubbed the Mission Possible Partnership, commits those companies to work with competitors, investors, suppliers and buyers to devise “climate action agreements” by 2024 to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

The partnership aims to accelerate global efforts to combat climate change under the Paris climate agreement. But countries’ pledges to meet the goal of halting the rise on global temperatures to 1.5 degrees C are not sufficient and require key industries to slash their emissions.

For example, airplane manufacturer Airbus, airlines like KLM , airports such as Heathrow and fuel providers like Shell will cooperate to map out a net zero plan for the entire sector and speed the transition to sustainable aviation fuels such as biofuels, for one example.

“It’s not only about corporations making a climate commitment but bringing the whole supply chain together so the sectors have an incentive to decarbonize and work faster to reduce their emissions,” Maria Mendiluce, CEO of the We Mean Business climate coalition, told Reuters.

We Mean Business is co-organizing the partnership with the Energy Transitions Commission, Rocky Mountain Institute and the World Economic Forum. The organizers say they hope the partnership will create momentum for the next round of international climate talks in Glasgow in November.

International climate negotiations are expected to get a boost now that U.S. President Joe Biden has announced Washington’s return to the Paris climate deal to cut emissions, a pact his predecessor Donald Trump rejected.

Funding for the Mission Possible Partnership came from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ climate-focused Bezos Earth Fund and Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy fund.

(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by David Gregorio)

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EDF announces delay, price rise for UK nuclear plant

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EDF announces delay, price rise for UK nuclear plant 4

PARIS (Reuters) – Britain’s Hinkley Point C nuclear plant will be delayed by six months to June 2026 and the cost will rise by another 500 million pounds ($687 million) France’s EDF said on Wednesday citing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plant, originally expected to open in 2017, has witnessed repeated delays and cost rises, with the estimate now 22-23 billion pounds ($30.2-$31.60 billion).

EDF announced in November that it would review its work schedule and costs estimate in light of the pandemic.

“A detailed review of schedule and cost has been performed to estimate the impact of the pandemic so far. The start of electricity generation from (Hinkley’s) Unit 1 is now expected in June 2026, compared to end-2025 as initially announced in 2016”, EDF said.

“Despite being affected by the COVID-19 health crisis, Hinkley Point C has made significant progress in 2020 on site, in the design execution plans and on the manufacturing of equipment,” the company said.

Shares in EDF were down 1.5% in early trade.

The 3.2 gigawatt nuclear power station in Somerset, southwest England, is being built by the British arm of EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corp.

It is the first nuclear plant to be built in Britain in decades.

In November, EDF also said it would begin decommissioning Britain’s Hinkley Point B plant, which began operation in 1976, by July 2022.

($1 = 0.7280 pounds)

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Benoit Van Overstraeten; editing by Louise Heavens and Jason Neely)

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