Posted: 15 Mar. 2021 4 min. read

Recover and Thrive - Preparing for The Next Deal 26 February 2021

Yorkshire & North East blog

The way we all think about and approach work was changing fast even before the arrival of COVID-19. Deloitte's previous human capital trends reports - our annual analysis of the leading trends impacting workplaces around the world - have shown, for several years, the value organisations were placing on the need to reskill in preparation for the future of work. The extraordinary events of 2020 have simply accelerated the need to drive this agenda forward. Many leaders now recognise the need to shift from focusing on the familiar, to planning for the unknown, and preparing for what we are calling 'their organisation's next deal'. This requires new perspectives on leadership, workforce and for employees and their workplace.

Defining the Next Deal

Last summer, Deloitte's human capital consulting team surveyed more than 10,000 workers from a range of businesses and industries across seven European countries' our Voice of the Workforce' survey. Findings highlighted that remote working is here to stay: 72% of all employees surveyed now anticipate working away from the office more often. Also, the ability to work from home and, to an extent, setting their own working pattern, has given people a sense of autonomy about how they work; something they'll be reluctant to give up anytime soon.

So, what will the new perspectives required for the 'Next Deal' look like and what are the expectations and insights for different sectors of the workforce?


Question: How is connected leadership maintained?

  • As workers have developed a stronger sense of autonomy while working remotely, leaders must respond to this and foster an environment of trust at work
  • Employees value communication and transparency - leaders need to be visible and accessible whether working side-by-side with employees in the office, or remotely


Question: How are workforce models shifting?

  • Economic uncertainty has led to workforce models shifting, talent pools are now dispersed and diverse, yet easy to access, even talent within organisations is required to be highly mobile
  • Choices between third parties, technology or permanent staff is key - and then developing a framework for how those different groups interact to allow sufficient autonomy but enough guidance


Question: What are employees looking for in their employer?

  • Investment in wellbeing should not be viewed simply as a response to the pandemic, but as a critical long-term competitive advantage
  • COVID-19 has emphasised the important role businesses have to play in supporting their workforce, bringing ethical issues around employment to the fore and further raising the standards which companies are expected to attain
  • Investment in innovative and transparent communication, engaging workers working both in-office and remotely is more important than ever


Question: What work needs to get done and where's the best place to do it?

  • We know that remote working will remain, but the office will still play a valuable role. Team leaders must stay mindful of the benefits coming together in one space brings - for instance a chance to collaborate, support training and celebrate together
  • Moving on from presenteeism – businesses should be open minded about how, where and when their people choose to work depending on their role, responsibility and the business needs

There’s no single solution

The pandemic is being experienced by everyone in different ways, so any future design of work cannot simply be addressed by one single solution. Businesses need to take the time to listen to and understand their employees’ needs. The best way to do this will be using communication tools that are relevant and likely to engage with their people. Gone are the days when a straightforward email will do - employee engagement must be treated similarly to customer engagement and the same efforts must be placed on creating engaging and informative content.

So how can businesses ready themselves?

As organisations look ahead and consider the most efficient ways of embracing the future of work, reskilling or upskilling the current workforce must become a vital priority. In our latest Human Capital Trends survey (2020), 74% of organisations said reskilling the workforce was important or very important, but only 10% said they were very ready to address this trend.

Questions to pose include: "what skills does our organisation need to win in the market?" "What skills does our organisation have today and where are my gaps? How will we fill the gaps?" "How will we build and strengthen the skills we need?" "How will are organisation configure and scale skillsets?"

What is striking is how important it will be to not focus solely on digital and operational skills in the future. It’s clear that workers who possess strong skillsets in individual resilience and adaptability, alongside creativity, innovation and agility, will be those that excel and truly shape the next generation of business.

To discuss further, please contact our authors. 

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Key contacts

Helen Kaye

Helen Kaye


Helen is a Partner within Global Employer Services (GES). She is the GES UK Head of Regions and a member of the Leadership team representing the Regional business and leads the North GES team, based in Leeds. Helen is an employment taxes and reward specialist with over 30 years’ experience. Her team provide advice to clients on all aspects of employment taxes, reward & benefits, global mobility, fair pay and payroll advisory/delivery services. Helen also leads our national Fair Pay proposition. Helen is the Chair of the Business in The Community Yorkshire and Humberside Advisory Board. Helen’s client base ranges from FTSE100 companies to large private companies. She works with employers across a range of industries including many in the retail, and consumer business and FS sectors, advising on all aspects of employment taxes and reward. Prior to joining Deloitte in 2000, Helen worked for the Inland Revenue (now HM Revenue & Customs) for 11 years.

Rosina Murdoch

Rosina Murdoch


Rosina gets extremely excited about working out the best way to help teams and people excel during transformations. She mainly works with public sector teams to help them achieve their goals and get the most out of their amazing workforce. She has worked at Deloitte for 15 years, meeting new challenges every day and inspiring colleagues who remind me of why she loves her job. She’s partial to a pizza and prosecco evening, ideally with some good (live) music, friends, maybe on a beach…

Amy Brimble

Amy Brimble


Amy Brimble is the Creative Director at Stitch Communications, an internal communications agency that's part of Deloitte's Global Employer Services division. Stitch work with global companies to design and implement compelling communications strategies that truly engage with employees. They have the ability to understand, digest and communicate complex topics from share plans and employee rewards to wellbeing, culture and change, they bring technical topics to life and tell employees what they really need to know. With over 15 years' experience working in the design industry, Amy directs the creative vision across all work streams at Stitch. She drives innovation and is passionate about implementing creativity across everything they do.