December 7, 2021

DPB Human Capital Management Academic Director, Anna Tavis, Discusses Her Upcoming Book, “Humans at Work”

Anna Tavis, PhD, a clinical professor and academic director of the Human Capital Management Department within the NYU SPS Division of Programs in Business, is a leading expert on the workplace experience. She serves on the editorial board of Workforce Solutions Review, is a senior fellow with The Conference Board, and is an academic in residence with Executive Networks. She was named to Thinkers50 Radar for 2020. Her latest book, “Humans at Work - The Art and Practice of Creating the Hybrid Workplace,” co-authored with Stela Lupushor, chief-reframer at Reframe.Work, senior fellow and member of the steering committee of Human Capital Analytics Institute at The Conference Board, and adjunct instructor in the Human Capital Management Department will be published in March 2022 by Kogan Page. In it, the authors advocate the adoption of human-centric practices as a critical part of tailoring work and workplaces to the future of work.

What changes are you seeing in the workplace?
There has been a big transformation in the world of work. Technology, data analytics, and artificial intelligence already impact how people work and engage with organizations, and the pandemic has accelerated these trends. A dispersed workforce, greater transparency, social change, generational shift, and value chain disruptions are driving new behaviors and expectations from the workplace.

How is work now defined?
The whole meaning of work is changing. It includes not only how people work, but who is considered a member of the workforce, the value individuals get from work, and the infrastructural elements organizations need to put in place in order to support all of the changes occurring. Work is moving from purely what you do to survive to being more purposeful. We have to rethink, redesign, and reimagine work with humans at the center, rather than adjacent to technology and machines.

Tell us about the book
Humans at Work
focuses on the pivot towards human-centered organizations. In it, we explore four components—Work, Workforce, Workplace, and Worth. We study the ways in which the concept of work has evolved through the ages and why it is harder to define work today. The book also discusses how success measurement systems must evolve from simply capturing the efficiency of work towards broader impact-driven thinking. We look at the complexity of the relationship between the work environment and the workforce and build the case for using human-centric design for the work environment. Part of the book investigates the evolving definition of the workplace that includes physical workspace, the digital work environment, and increasingly, the intersection and integration of the two. And finally, we delve into the changing dynamics of the value exchange between workers and their employers, illustrating how organizations are recognizing a more complex set of motives and drivers for employee engagement and diversifying their approaches to rewards.

Any final thoughts on the future of work?
We will see a big shift from companies prioritizing customers to prioritizing employees. If we don’t have happy employees, we will not have happy customers.

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