Engaging The Digital Workforce Of Tomorrow

For an organization to be profitable in today’s business environment, its workforce has to evolve with technology changes


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Organizations today are looking at technology to improve efficiency and effectiveness and help deliver a better customer experience. Digitization combines social, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) technologies to enable organizations to overhaul their traditional business models and prepare for the digital world. For instance, insurance companies that used to be miredin paperwork are using social media and analytics to attract a new generation of customers with offerings tailored for them. Mobility and cloud technologies add efficiency and convenience to the process, so a transaction can be completed from anywhere and nearly instantaneously, cutting down service times exponentially.

For an organization to be profitable in today’s business environment, its workforce has to evolve with technology changes. SMAC has transformed communication and collaboration in the workplace. Digital workers skillfully combine digital technologies to add creativity and versatility to their work functions.

Employees will switch seamlessly between hyper-connected devices without loss of context. Workforce agility will become a key objective, and digital workers will be expected to cross-train and develop skills that extend to design thinking, business knowledge and technology awareness as organizations seek to drive productivity using automation.

Automation will take over routine tasks, making it imperative for the workforce to re-equip and reskill itself to stay relevant. Digital workers will have to master a range of hardware and software competencies in mobile, big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, gamification, etc., be prepared to play different roles as the situation demands, and constantly learn and expand their business acumen, soft skills and domain knowledge. A strong appetite for learning and innovation will enable them to use technology to solve business problems.

Transforming your digital workplace

As the workplace changes, the four dimensions of skill, will, task and time come into play. Along with the above-mentioned skills, digital workers will distinguish themselves by their will, or the energy and commitment they apply to the task of re-engineering so they can spend more time on interactions that add value.

A digital workforce supported by cognitive computing can re-engineer legacy systems using lean thinking to eliminate redundancies, automate processes to bring down costs and use deeper communication and collaborative approaches to break through business silos. Shifting the focus to a horizontal perspective maximizes the movement of products and services across the organization, adding value at every step as it flows towards the customer.

Organizations can make better use of up to 40 percent of their employees’ work hours by automating routine tasks so they can work on core business objectives instead (Source: The move from traditional instruction-based algorithms to those that build self-learning capabilities has resulted in automated bots, machine learning and cognitive computing, all of which will have a real, meaningful impact on the workplace, driving productivity and growth through new capabilities.

The workforce of the future will combine human employees, software robots and cognitive computing to handle exponentially greater workloads. Since this dynamic workforce will rely heavily on cognitive techniques, it will include employees with backgrounds in varied fields, including the social sciences.

From an organizational standpoint, this entails building capability in employees to architect solutions by effectively combining manual tasks with technology-driven ones, akin to fitting together different sized Lego blocks into different structures. Given the unique human ability to create and assemble wide-ranging solutions from the same functional elements, robots and cognitive computing power must be regularly augmentedwith real-time and real-life learning and feedback for continuous improvement.

Finally, organizations will have to incorporate nontraditional means of bringing in talent and encouraging innovation. According to Gartner, the digital workplace is adopting a deliberate approach to treat employees like consumers by offering choices, tools and flexibility to foster collaboration and agility. The core idea is to maximize productivity while keeping people engaged and motivated. For instance, research by IDC predicts that by 2019, 75 percent of workers using enterprise applications will have intelligent assistants to enhance their expertise.

As millennials become the largest segment of the workforce, HR teams are successfully using social media and crowdsourcing techniques to tap into their talent. Companies are also expanding their hiring practices to capitalize on the growing freelancing trend. Workplaces must incorporate these digital strategies to keep employees and stakeholders engaged so they can meet the needs of the modern customer. An empowered and lean workforce will help their employers stay competitive by making the bold moves necessary to successfully disrupt and grow their core business.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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