What is the most important thing in the world to you?


He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata.


What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people. Organisations navigating their way through uncertain social and economic waters would do well to pay heed to this Māori proverb. New technologies, talent shortages and a change in the very reason why people work— are disrupting ‘business as usual’.


Technology has allowed us to work smarter, and most people have more leisure time these days. Higher living standards enable many people to choose work that better suits their lifestyle or goals. Rather than chasing promotion or higher pay, there will be people in your organisation opting for jobs that offer less income but more job satisfaction.


Business has always been a tug of war between capital and labour. For many years it’s been in capital’s favour, as sharemarkets climbed and technology allowed companies to generate greater profits with fewer employees. However, the pandemic has shaken this model up, and now the balance has shifted back to ‘the people’.


Putting people first.


Both locally and around the world, we’re seeing a trend toward a people-first approach, as employees seek out organisations that offer ethical alignment and more job satisfaction.


Global consultancy group Bain & Company released a report that explored the rapid changes in the way we work and concluded that the working future will be “more human, not less”.

They predict a ‘great reskilling’ on the horizon, as organisations invest more in learning and training, to keep pace with technological change.


As part of their investigation, Bain & Co looked into present-day attitudes to work and found a high degree of divergence. Organisations that are in tune with their employee’s beliefs about work and offer more tailored solutions— will benefit from less turnover and a more productive workforce.


Bain identified six worker archetypes that exist in most companies:


  • Operators work as a means to an end. They prefer stability and are not motivated by status.

  • Givers are empathetic people that are motivated by caring for others.

  • Artisans are focused on skill mastery and need to do work that inspires them.

  • Explorers value freedom and experience. They enjoy more autonomy.

  • Strivers are disciplined and driven individuals seeking personal achievement.

  • Pioneers are risk-takers on a mission. They usually identify strongly with their work.


A better understanding of what drives the people in your team or company can help leaders develop more appropriate incentives and training systems.

Find out what’s most important to the people you work with—the results might surprise you.




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