National Survey Report: Peak Human Workplace
2021 report

National Survey Report: Peak Human Workplace

Innovation in the unprecedented era. Our report highlights how collaboration, diversity and worker-driven learning can create competitive advantage in the workplace.

Overcoming unprecedented challenges

We are living and working in the ‘unprecedented era’, where the scale and gravity of the challenges that face us – from climate change to a global pandemic – is paired with a profound transformation wrought by rapidly advancing digital technologies.

In this environment, there is a growing urgency for disruption-led innovation to be hardwired into every organisation’s DNA and business model. We need to harness the power of our people to generate ideas that can create and capture value. This is the peak human workplace.

  • “We believe businesses must start by thinking about their workplace ecosystem – integrating physical and digital worlds – from a human connection perspective, using data to drive design that continually adapts as the nature of work evolves.” 

    Robbie Robertson , Virtual Office Managing Partner at Deloitte and CNeW Adjunct Associate Professor

Enabling innovation in Australian workplaces

In 2019, we released the Peak Human Potential report to understand how Australians were preparing for a future of work transformed by digital technologies. The key takeaways: in digitally disrupted environments, workers value human connection and prefer learning to be integrated into their work.

Our latest report builds on these findings and uses first of its kind national survey data to investigate the influence of both workplace learning and collaboration on enabling innovation in Australian workplaces.

Even though three in five workers are concerned their current skill set is not suited for the next five years, we found that more than half of Australian workers spend less than an hour a week on any form of learning. 58 per cent had undertaken no formal training in the past 12 months. Without learning at work, their jobs are moving away from them – which diminishes the potential for innovation in their workplace.

Conducted in late November 2019, the survey took on new significance with the arrival of COVID-19, providing the most up-to-date, business-as-usual measure of culture in Australian workplaces.

To ensure the findings are relevant for the post-pandemic era, we paid particular attention to the types of learning and collaboration that enable innovation in rapidly changing environments within the Australian economy.

We found that frontline workers like salespeople and factory floor workers – who bear firsthand witness to disruption – were some of the least likely to be involved in collaboratively diverse work. Omitting frontline workers in the innovation process is not only a missed opportunity but potentially a fatal flaw.

Key findings

Learning at work
is not keeping pace with rapid change.
Diversity of collaboration
is lagging behind the amount of collaboration needed for innovation.
Worker-driven learning and collaboration diversity
are ideal workplace settings to catalyse innovation.
Now is the opportune time
to reimagine the physical workplace to harness disruption-led innovation and learning.

Contact the Centre for the New Workforce

Contact us to discuss how we can work together to determine new approaches to learning and knowledge creation.
Call 1300 633 560 or email

Contact us