learning and development

Real Research: Devising An Equitable Future For Work

Real Research: Devising An Equitable Future For Work 

by Vivienne Liu

Research & Development Specialist



Enabled by the connectivity of new technologies, the on-demand or gig economy saw tremendous growth in recent years. Predicted to make up 40 or 50 percent of the workforce within the next decade, these “networks of people who make a living working without any formal employment agreement” (Schwartz, Bohdal-Spiegelhoff, Gretczko, & Sloan, 2016, p. 1) have prompted many leaders to rethink their contingent workforce management strategies.


To remain attractive to the best talents in the market, organisations need to work towards creating an equitable workplace for the changing workforce. Below are two key areas for leaders to consider as they embark on the journey to devise an equitable future for work: 


Learning and Development Opportunities

Despite the growing investments in learning and development over the recent years, the privilege to attend these programmes are rarely extended to the contingent workforce. Most on-demand workers are still fully responsible for their own development and growth to stay competitive in the gig market. As organisations continue to demand for the best and latest skills from their contingent workforce, leaders should start considering how they can support and invest in these individuals.


As a start, leaders can ask themselves: 

    • Are any of our current learning programmes relevant to our contingent workforce? How can we engage them in these programmes?
    • How are our contingent workers keeping themselves up-to-date in their fields? What tools (e.g. MOOCs, online community, etc.) are they leveraging on? How might we support them?
    • How might we leverage on the diversity of our workforce to create better learning experiences for everyone? Can we engage peer-to-peer learning across our full-timers and contingent workforce?


Advancement Opportunities

Unlike full-time employees who look forward to promotion opportunities and all the benefits that come with them, contingent workers rarely enjoy the same advancement opportunities. Instead of a task-focused, transactional relationship most organisations have with their contingent workforce, leaders should rethink their compensation increment schemes and career progression opportunities to engage these workers.


Leaders can start by asking themselves:

    • How might we develop a fulfilling, long-term relationship with our contingent workforce? Are we satisfying their need for achievement? How might we do so through advancement opportunities? 
    • Do we have career progression plans for our contingent workforce? How might we better help them plan their career? 
    • How can we ensure that our contingent workers are being valued and compensated fairly? Does our compensation scheme account for the increased value they add as they continue to upgrade their skills? Are we rewarding them accordingly?


While these questions will get leaders started on their journey towards an equitable workplace, it is only the beginning. Ultimately, leaders should take a holistic view at how they can deliver a great contingent workforce experience.


What other trends have you noticed, or are already experiencing yourself? We would love to hear from you at connect@pace-od.com



  • Schwartz, J., Bohdal-Spiegelhoff, U., Gretczko, M., and Sloan, N. (2016). The gig economy: Distraction or disruption? In Deloitte University Press (2016), Global Human Capital Trends 2016. 
  • Institute for the Future. (2016). Voices of workable futures: People transforming work in the platform economy. 
  • Institute for the Future. (2016). 10 strategies for a workable future. 
  • Rigoni, B. and Adkins, A. (2016). What millennials want from a new job. Harvard Business Review.


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Real Stories: Developing Leaders For A Better Tomorrow

Real Stories: Developing Leaders For A Better Tomorrow

Written by Dr. Lily Cheng and Elizabeth Tang


We share our collaboration with our learning partner, a well-established ophthalmology product manufacturer with a rich history of 125 years. The leaders were keen on developing the leadership potential of their young leaders, equipping them with the competencies needed to lead the organisation in its internationalisation efforts. PACE was selected to journey with these budding leaders and we designed an OD intervention that was highly customised. 

Selected leaders underwent a 9 month development journey which involved a combination of learning events and executive coaching sessions with PACE master coaches and facilitators. At the conclusion of this intervention, senior leaders saw a positive change in the leadership behaviours of the participants, as well as greater alignment with the organisation’s expectations.

We interviewed participants about their learning experience and this is what they had to say: 


What interested you to attend this learning journey?


“I believed that this learning journey would improve my leadership ability as well as how I work in my day-to-day.”


“I wanted to learn more about the organisational goals and know how I can contribute to these goals. I believed that by taking part in this journey, I would gain clarity in this area.” 


“I joined this journey because I wanted to improve myself and develop my leadership ability. I was interested in PACE’s unique combination of leadership practices from the East and the West and I thought that this approach would suit me since I work in Asia.” 


What is your biggest takeaway from this learning journey?


“I learned many principles and frameworks such as how to coach my team and how to drive them to achieve the organisation’s goals. After learning these principles and frameworks, I have been trying to practice them with my team and it has helped to drive performance.”


“I believe this learning journey allowed me to explore myself and understand my leadership personality. I learned about leading with compassion because as a leader, I have to balance leading with compassion and wisdom. I am now able to use compassion to influence my team to work towards achieving organisational goals.” 


“I saw the organisation’s senior leaders taking part in this journey and I found it very inspirational to see them in action. These leaders have been with the company so long that the way they integrate the core values in their lives and work has inspired me to pursue that too.” 


Can you share some action points you will bring back to your workplace?


“I aim to communicate constantly in all directions. By communicating the organisation’s goals upwards to the senior management, downwards to the ground teams and laterally to my colleagues and the different divisions, it will give me a baseline of where we are. From there, I know how to contribute and steer our organisation closer to our vision.” 


“I will spend more time thinking deeply about how to develop my current employees based on their current potential and performance level. It will take a lot of time to conceptualise but it will increase their productivity; this is my key objective in engaging them and developing plans for my employees.” 


“I discovered that getting people to follow you is not just about accomplishing the task you set for them; you also have to take into account of how they feel. People follow the heart and I learned to be more compassionate.”


What is unique about PACE’s learning events?

“Our facilitator, Dr. Lily Cheng, is an experienced coach and she puts everyone in a comfortable setting. She really leads with her heart and is genuine when teaching the organisation’s values. When she imparts knowledge, she supplements it with real life examples and never hesitates to answer our questions. There is no distance between the coach and participants which makes me feel comfortable to continue practicing what she has taught me.”


“There is a lot of practical role-playing that is customised to the needs of the organisation. The role-playing often simulates a real situation we face at work and this has helped all of us resolve these issues and challenges.” 


“The experiential activities we did relate well to the principles we learned. I felt the learning events were planned to be more dynamic which is a good change from sitting and listening to what is being taught.”


Tangible ROI from this solution have been observed as the impact continues to be cascaded within the organisation. In the meantime, plans for another leadership development journey with our learning partner’s leaders are already underway! 


How would your leadership team benefit from a customised leadership solution? Connect with us at connect@pace-od.com today!


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Ask the OD Doctors: Leadership Gaps in 2017

ASK THE OD DOCTORS: Leadership Gaps In 2017

Reflections and Thoughts by Dr. Lily Cheng

Founder and Chief OD Catalyst



Have a burning question that you always wanted to ask our OD Doctors, Dr. Lily Cheng and Dr. Peter Cheng? Do email us at doctors@pace-od.com and we’ll reply you within 5 working days. The featured question in our Ask The OD Doctors section will receive a mystery gift from us!


With the economy not doing very strong globally, it has presented another challenge for leaders around the world. How do we achieve our 2017 targets or how do we remain sustainable in our business directions and purpose? It’s imperative you balance between being inspirational and being practical as a leader in order to lead well in 2017.

The seminal question asked by Robert Goffee and Gareth Jones in their book, is: Why Should Anyone Be Led by YOU?  This leads me to the next important question: What are the critical leadership gaps I must close to lead well in 2017?


The unconscious gap 

This refers to the gap between what you think you know and what you don’t know.  Many times I hear leaders telling me, “What else is there to know? I have been there, done that.”  Sad to say, this leader clearly feels that he/she has known it all. They act as though they’ve been everywhere and have experienced everything. If there’s a problem, they have the solution; if there’s a question, they have the answer. 

Strong opinionated leaders deliver their answers in an obnoxious manner and you probably have never, or ever heard them utter the words, “I don’t know.”  These leaders tend to dominate conversations, dismiss inputs from others and make decisions with a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude.

As leaders, we need to transit regularly from unconscious to conscious learning modes so that we are able to listen and know what we don’t know, to become agile learners who lead well.


the influence gap

With the rise of a multigenerational workforce, leaders are called to balance the need to command and demand versus the need to inspire and enlist.

It sounds cliché, doesn’t it?  Yet if we understand the importance of influence as an enabler to effective leadership, we’ll take time to close this gap. 

Influence is often misconstrued as being manipulative. Manipulation is about exerting devious influence, especially for one’s own advantage.  Influence is the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen.  The difference between the two lies in the intent - is your intent a positive or a negative one?

If you want to close your influence gap, you will need to understand:

  • What the different influencing styles are
  • Identify gaps in your influencing style
  • The range of influencing styles
  • Increasing your adaptability, capability and confidence of using different influencing styles, through deliberate practice


the sense of reality gap

When I was working in a government statutory board, I was told that they used the Current Estimated Potential (CEP) model.  This led to me appreciate the HAIR framework used to assess one’s potential as a civil servant:

Helicopter quality Power of Analysis Imagination Sense of Reality

What impressed me about this framework was how important it is for a leader to be practical.  A person with good helicopter vision is supposed to be capable of comprehending the big picture, but if the leader remains in their ivory tower, they will not see the finer details on the ground.  Hence, it's important that a leader has a strong sense of reality to address ground issues and provide support to people on the ground.

Here's a quick exercise for you to assess your Leadership Gap. Rate yourself as a leader on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 representing the worst in leadership and 10 being the best in leadership. This is a risk-free evaluation, as no one else but you will will see your score. Do this now and write the number down.

Next, ask others to rate you on this scale. Encourage them to be authentic in their assessment of you. After you receive their rating, calculate the difference between your score and how others rate you. This difference is your leadership gap.

Your self-rating - Rating from others = Leadership Gap


Whether the leadership gap is a result of perception or reality, doesn’t really matter.  What’s more important is that you don’t allow your hubris to overshadow your humility. 

The very essence of leadership is about people. It’s about leading well in 2017, about improving the status quo, inspiring positive change and making the workplace a great place to work.


I hope that I’ve inspired you in some way to look at your own leadership journey this year. I’m looking forward to hear your stories as well, and would be glad if you could write back to me at doctors@pace-od.com or lilycheng@pace-od.com.


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REAL RESEARCH: The People Climate in 2017

As more millennials join the workforce in 2017, we can continue to expect a growth in corporate learning and development. According to Bersin (2016a), most millennials (22%) listed training and development as the number one job benefit on their wish list, topping flexible working hours (19%) and cash bonuses (14%). 

How do I create development opportunities for myself within the workplace?

How do I create development opportunities for myself within the workplace?

There seems to be some kind of self-limitation when we think about development opportunities within the workplace, and the no.1 fallacy that employees subscribe to is that the manager has overview of their learning and development, and therefore it’s best to leave it to him/her to plan our development opportunities. Should we continue to wait, or take charge of our own development?