HR Insights
April 25, 2024

We’re in a complexity crisis. Here’s what to do about it.

Organizations are facing crisis levels of complexity driven by ever-changing compliance, a new employee social contract, and economic uncertainty. Justine Janssen, Dayforce’s Chief Strategy Officer, explores this challenge with five key success rules for today’s leaders to master. 


When Ray Tomlinson pushed send on the world’s first network person-to-person email in 1971, he probably wasn’t trying to change how the entire world communicates. According to an article by NPR, he just thought it seemed like a “neat idea”. 

But change the world it did. It also became a case study in how a single act of change can set off a domino effect of transformation. Email started out saving people a ton of time and money, but it sparked more communication innovation in the way of texting, smartphones, social media, and now generative AI. Suddenly communicating is more complex than ever – even choosing the wrong emoji today can alienate an entire generation.   

Now we’re experiencing our own complexity crisis when it comes to the workplace. Today’s world of work looks nothing like it did in the past. Our technology revolution has created what we at Dayforce call the Boundless Workforce, one where work is borderless, fluid, and always on. This Boundless Workforce has the potential to create endless opportunity – from access to global talent to greater organizational agility. But let’s be real: It’s complicated. And no organization is immune.  

We’re seeing an explosion of different types of work to be done, as well as categories of workers who can fulfill them. Gone are the days where most people hold clearly defined roles and work alongside each other in a single location. Now organizations often have to blend in contingent and gig workers to stay agile. And the workforce is often spread across locations, with hybrid, remote, and traditional onsite work all happening within the same company.  

Job roles themselves aren’t so simple anymore, either. The skills recalibration, driven by technology advancement, is an ongoing challenge. According to Monster’s report, The Future of Work, 90% of employers surveyed report struggling to fill positions due to a skills gap. A changing world driven by digital transformation means the most important work requires new skills, and organizations aren’t prepared. World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023 found that employers estimate 44% of workers’ skills will be disrupted in the next five years.  

Perhaps the biggest source of complexity causing a crisis for today’s organizations is the ever-changing, intricate web of regulations to follow. Multi-jurisdiction expansion increases the complexity, while hybrid and remote work further fuel it. Modern, talent-grabbing perks, like working from a beach in Mexico, all but guarantee it, as does sourcing workers from lower-cost regions to establish follow-the-sun service levels.  

A cross-organizational challenge 

The complexity crisis hits different teams within your organization differently, but it doesn’t discriminate. Everyone is affected by the rapid pace of change and ongoing uncertainty of today’s world of work.  

HR teams, for example, are caught in a balancing act between employee expectations and leadership priorities. Finance and payroll teams are asked to become fortune tellers, increasingly involved in planning and predictions to help leaders make the best decisions for the workforce. Technical debt and risk are at an all time high for IT teams. Operations leaders can see evidence of wasted time, but no clear path to efficiency.  

It’s clear that organizations need technology solutions that can simplify the complexity of today – but also the next generation of challenges that we can't even envision yet. Going back to how a single act aimed to simplify can cannonball into even more complexity, technology can’t win when it solves each new challenge in a vacuum. The solution has to be bigger – we need simplicity at scale to truly conquer the complexity crisis. We need technology that is built to constantly evolve, see around corners, and allow organizations to self-disrupt, rather than be disrupted.  

Conquering complexity with simplicity at scale 

At Dayforce, helping our customers around the world solve this complexity crisis drives our innovation. We deliver simplicity at scale to help you mobilize and optimize today’s boundless workforce so you can benefit from a broad and agile talent pool. We help improve workforce productivity and efficiency by embedding automation and AI across the platform, so your people can focus on meaningful work that moves the needle. We help everyone in your organization make better decisions faster with real-time intelligence in the moments that matter. And we do it all in one global people platform with a single data model, always-on calculation, and embedded intelligence to elevate your people operations.  

Here are the five success rules every organization needs to master to conquer today’s complexity crisis and make work life better for today’s Boundless Workforce: 

  1. Nail the hard stuff: Strengthen payroll and compliance by galvanizing business controls, eliminating error, prioritizing privacy and security, and ensuring you never break the law. 

  2. Be data driven: Optimize your people operations with real-time insights that surface better intelligence for decision certainty. 

  3. Empower your people: Unleash your full workforce potential by activating your team through personalized user experiences, automating the mundane, and offering self-service. 

  4. Be ready for anywhere: Leverage a global HR ecosystem to tap into any labor market, create visibility across multiple jurisdictions, and benefit from the experience of trusted global and regional IT partners.  

  5. Deliver quantifiable value: Drive sustained ROI and de-risk your modernization journey, while lowering your cost structure and embracing the autonomous future.  

Conquering the complexity crisis is possible, and the organizations that do it well will be setting the pace for their industries and competitors. The key is investing in the right technology to help you realize the full potential of your people, operate with confidence, and unlock more value.  

Learn more about how Dayforce can help you conquer the complexity crisis.  

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