Future of Workplace: Meaningful and Impactful
Building a workforce that is future-ready and aligned to changing customer requirements is key. It is important to craft strategies that equip employees with the right skills and learning platforms to strengthen their institutional capabilities and support business objectives.
It holds merit for organizations to move away from thinking about the next normal and start thinking about what needs to be done to succeed in it. Digital transformation is at the center of everything we do and we saw disruption driving many organizations to fully commit to a digital workplace overnight. They underwent digital transformation at a scale never seen before.
This shift required leaders to pivot and redefine their short and long-term goals on workplaces, collaboration, optimization and engagement. I believe cultural and digital shifts are the two key drivers fueling workplace transformation. And people, processes and technology are the levers that in turn will bring about this transition. An organization’s digital transformation strategy will fuel and have a significant impact on its workplace transformation strategy. It is also imperative to address questions such as, How should organizations go about workplace transformation while prioritizing people, processes, and technology, and what will be the result of these prioritizations on employee satisfaction and company culture?
The pandemic has compelled organizations to accelerate their digital strategy while changing digital environments, embracing new digital technologies that are playing a significant role in the future of the workplace. Below are top 10 areas of transformation that can fundamentally change operating models, consumer behaviors, interactions, ways of working and more as organizations try to return to normal.
1- New order for workplaces: Digital workplaces will be a combination of physical workplace and remote workspace. This will bring teams together in new ways to best serve and support clients, communities and each other. The common thread will be a focus on safety, security and ongoing wellness for employees.
2- Enhancing collaboration: This is the right time for organizations to evaluate collaboration tools available in the ecosystem, understand compatibility, security, scalability and robustness of these tools. Collaboration tools will play a significant role in determining new ways of connecting, communicating, being agile and engaged.
3- Associate Care Restructuring: Work models to support the remote workplace environment have altered the daily routine of employees as well as work-life balance. These tough times call for an environment that promotes holistic employee growth and their wellbeing – physical, emotional and mental. Leaders too need to bring in radical changes and must understand that at this juncture, motivation is not just aspirational but has become existential.
4- Culture of Empathy: Leaders can counter the massive disruption affecting businesses this year by building a culture of empathy and care that puts people at the center. Organizations that are built on a culture of trust, transparency, empathy and have an active two-way flow of communication will stand out. Leadership that demonstrates clarity will stand out. Transformational leaders will stand out. This in turn will build deep appreciation for diversity and diverse ideas.
5- Continuous Learning: Building a workforce that is future-ready and aligned to changing customer requirements is key. It is important to craft strategies that equip employees with the right skills and learning platforms to strengthen their institutional capabilities and support business objectives. To address workplace talent needs, two major areas need to be addressed – upskilling of employees and reskilling for challenging and new roles. The rapid transition to automation clearly demonstrates the dramatic shift that workforce skills and capabilities have undergone due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
6- Talent Mobility: An important aspect of building a learning organization is having a very robust internal mobility or talent reassignment strategy and process. There are two aspects to this – first, aligning the way we work and the skills needed to drive progress with the needs of clients; second – providing employees opportunities to grow, learn and build capability and institutional knowledge. Internal mobility fuels a high-performance culture and aligns business and talent strategies.
7. Democratization Of Technology: Democratization of technology centers around the fact that Digital Transformation is a collective effort and hence digitally enabled tools should not be limited to IT professionals and software developers within the organization. Opening automation access to all teams is the first step towards attaining a successful transformation strategy.
8. Change in Employee Expectations: There will be renewed focus on elevating experience through the employee’s life cycle at every touchpoint. This is because of a dramatic shift in employee expectations. They want to associate with brands who empathize with their people and they value workplace attributes such as culture, learning and growth opportunities, leadership structure, wellbeing options, workplace environment, and commitment to communities and others. Therefore, focus on employee experience is going to form the basis of a futuristic workplace.
9. Digital-first solutions for partners: With the financial services industry witnessing rapid digital transformation, a robust digital infrastructure and optimum usage of new age technologies will be critical for business continuity, resilience and quicker deliveries. To reimagine the traditional formats, there has to be a balance, but not being digital is not an option. Adoption of diverse and innovative technologies like AI, robotic process automation (RPA) and data analytics will gather significant demand. We will also witness upskilling in these areas.
10. Prioritizing security: The shift to digital workspaces has brought with it a heightened need for cybersecurity. With security impacting everyone – an organization, associates, and the consumer, it is critical and imperative to develop a long-term strategy to strengthen digital assets and safeguard critical data from current and future vectors.
With times evolving at a warp speed, it has become crucial for organizations to adapt and adopt the changes. The days of long-term development of transformation strategies and their slow implementation have now become medieval. This is the time to usher in the future of the workplace.
(The given article is authored by Srini Krish, President, Fiserv Global Services)