Article: Future of Work - People Transformation for Business Impact


Future of Work - People Transformation for Business Impact

In an exclusive Roundtable discussion hosted in partnership by People Matters and Microsoft, HR experts from across industries came together to discuss the trends around the Future of Work - People Transformation for Business Impact.
Future of Work - People Transformation for Business Impact

The infusion of technology has been driving rapid business transformation for a while now. The world is yet to find all the right answers to the digital storm, and it doesn’t seem like there is going to be a breather anytime soon. A change in perspective is the need of the hour. Technology has brought in disruption for sure. It’s time to switch gears from looking at technology as a challenge to relooking at it for the abundant opportunities it brings in. How does one do that? By leveraging technology to create an impact through people, it’s time to prioritize the much needed people transformation. 

To discuss how organizations across sectors are working towards transforming people and identify themes to focus on, People Matters and Microsoft hosted a Roundtable discussion on “Future of Work - People Transformation for Business Impact”. Following the keynote session by Manisha Nayar Vohra, Senior Director - HR at Delhivery and a presentation by Shipra Singh, Director Human Resources at Microsoft India, there was a roundtable discussion on the theme ‘Future of Work - People Transformation for Business Impact’, moderated by Ester Martinez, CEO and Editor-in-Chief at People Matters.

Read on and find out how organizations and leaders are creating business impact by driving change internally.

Microsoft’s cultural transformation

Emphasizing on finding the answer to what needs to change internally, to be able to deliver what the market needs, Shipra Singh, Director Human Resources at Microsoft India, discussed Microsoft’s journey on how the 44 year old tech pioneer, transformed it’s business by leading the change through culture.

In the words of Singh, “Business Transformation = Culture Transformation = People Transformation.”

The tech giant started working towards transforming it’s culture by pivoting on having a growth mindset fueled by being diverse and inclusive, fostering collaboration, being customer obsessed and making a difference. Recognizing what’s working well and not working well is necessary for creating an impact.

“There is a need for making systemic changes, fostering right behavior , storytelling and a lot of communication at every step to help build this into the organization’s ethos,” said Singh.

Technology has been a key enabler for Microsoft in enabling cultural transformation. Here are some of the ways in which the organization created solutions to achieve its cultural goals:

  • Driving connection to the culture by driving innovative hiring practices
  • Leveraging technology to enable a culture of collaboration
  • Data-driven decisions
  • Empowering learners
  • Personalization at scale
  • Keeping score

Delhivery’s journey from a startup to a high growth organization

To answer the question on where to start and how to prioritize, HR needs to nip it in the bud by understanding what is the list of key problems impacting the business at the moment. This can be done by going back to basics. Sit with leaders across functions and listen to what issues are impacting them currently. This enables getting clarity on what needs to be addressed, thereby leading the way to actions guided by collaborative solutioning.

Kick-starting the discussion with her keynote session, Manisha Nayar Vohra, Senior Director - HR, Delhivery gave context on her organization’s approach to transforming people and creating business impact as it shifted gears from being a startup to a high growth organization. In a short span of time, the company with an  accelerated growth rate is at an on roll employee strength close to 10,000. With structural changes taking place at such a rapid pace, it was crucial to streamline the people approach as the organization forayed into people transformation.   

Well aware of the ongoing changes in the ecosystem, like the pace of change, workplace elements, role of technology, expectations of shareholders and managing employees and their experience, the HR team got together with the business and prioritized next steps in line with the need of the hour: 

  • Identifying the list of problems business is facing at the moment
  • Planning action with a fresh perspective and encouraging collaborative solutioning
  • Taking action and doing the needful by reinstating beliefs and values and implementing changes
  • Measuring ROI

To ensure continuity of implemented reforms, Vohra highlighted that the sustainability of any organization as they head towards transforming people rests on keeping it simple, not being sticky, maintaining connect, keeping a tab on analytics and linking all of it to business values. 

People transformation for business impact

Different industries have different issues, yet, the bigger picture paints similar roadblocks. Throwing light on the relevance of transformation, Ester Martinez, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, People Matters said, “People and business transformation is an ongoing theme. The relevance of it is the urgency and now we are not only talking about efficiency and productivity, that continue to remain critical, we are in many ways now talking about survival.” 

“How do you yourself stay relevant and how do you gear up the organization and people in that changing space” is a key question on the mind of leaders, shared Nishi Chaturvedi, Vice President Human Resources, India South West Asia, Coca-Cola

Another concern on the mind of leaders is ensuring the essence of any internal communication doesn’t get distorted as it flows through various organizational levels. Expressing concern around the same, Mukund Nair, Director at Nagarro added that, “When a message travels top down in an organization, there are different connotations in the process of translation. At the time of a cultural reboot at scale how do you ensure the consistency of the message?”

To overcome challenges in your journey of people transformation, here are some parameters to assess and take action on:

  • Technology adoption: While the extent of technology infusion might differ across organizations, the very mindset of resistance needs to be overcome. Technology offers cultural benefits that can be beat time and location constraints when bringing the workforce together. Sharing his experience from his prior organization Jet Airways, Rahul Taneja, Group Chief HR Officer, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. stated how technology enabled collaboration for a workforce which came together for a flight schedule and dispersed immediately after. By leveraging technology to bring together the workforce on a tool, they were able to encourage collaboration, where majority conversations revolved around collaborating for work.

“Give people something which is technology and they find ways to connect,” said Taneja.

“Technology, if you are able to connect to the masses and if you are able to create that feeling of being there with them through technology, it’s very powerful,” added Manishi Saxena, Global HR Head, EXL.

  • Communication: Communication is the crux of implementing changes. Without effective communication, no matter how solid your strategy is, it will fail. “We have to keep our communication very simple, very clear and to the point. As leaders we think the more we talk, the more elaborate the communication is going to be, it’s going to reach the ground level in a better way, but actually it gets converted and diluted,” said Sunil Kumar, CHRO, PVR Limited.
  • Collaborative Culture: Speaking of how one can ensure values and culture trickle down across levels and across units, Singh said “If you weave it into the day to day ethos of the company and bring it live upfront at every opportunity and forum you get, it plays a very critical role in understanding and interpretation.”
  • ROI: It’s important to keep score to assess effectiveness of transformation. Data continues to be the driver of decisions and it will enable the leadership to keep track of ROI as well.

“Use technology. You’ll have enough data within your organizations to draw insights,” said Aneesh Dhawan, Director - Solution Sales, Microsoft India.

There might not be definite answers to solving people challenges and conquering people transformation, however, by reflecting on where the organization is, where it aspires to be, what is it that you are trying to solve, what transformation needs to take place internally to create and deliver business impact, the future will unfold.

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Topics: #Culture, Strategic HR, #PMRoundtables

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