Article: Emerging stronger to enabling right shifts in the way we work

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Emerging stronger to enabling right shifts in the way we work

As an urgent response to the pandemic, many companies implemented remote work. However, many still question how to accelerate the shift in the way we work. The fourth edition of the State of HR Transformation Study by Alight Solutions reflects on how businesses can emerge stronger to enable the right shifts in the way we work.
Emerging stronger to enabling right shifts in the way we work

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a crisis like never before and people have been at the heart of it. It tested the resilience of nations, economies, organisations, and people. Overall, business and talent had to pivot and adapt quickly to survive. All organisations were catapulted into the adapt and survive mode. And backing them up through this period of immense pain and change was the HR function.

The pandemic placed HR in the spotlight and at the forefront of the transformation in 2020. But the story did not end with being adaptable in 2020. As a year that redefined what the long term and the short term means for organisations, it also brought to the forefront why adaptability is critical in the world beyond 2020. Moving forward, in 2021 and beyond, organisations must continue to be adaptable and emerge stronger.

According to Alight Solutions’ State of HR Transformation Study 2021, one of the key observations was that Adaptable HR functions are emerging stronger across four parameters:

  • Lead in being digital for HR and the business: Organisations with Adaptable HR functions have 22 times the Net Promoter Score (NPS) on technology satisfaction as compared to the market averages. They are 3 times more likely to be ahead in adopting augmented technologies (like robotics) in HR.
  • Proactively enable the right shifts in the way we work: Organisations with Adaptable HR functions are 3 times more likely to be proactive in driving institutional change, new ways of working, and adoption of work technologies. This has held true during the accelerated asks in the pandemic period and will likely strengthen in the future with the rise of a hybrid workplace.
  • Reimagine the HR function as a leader for organisational change: Organisations with Adaptable HR functions are 3 times more likely to succeed in delivering a closer partnership with the business through their operating model and capabilities. They are 2 times more likely to succeed in their efforts on employee experience. Both of these are critical in leading organisational transformation.
  • Shape and deliver the right value of HR to stakeholders: Organisations with Adaptable HR functions are almost 1.5 times more confident on their HR strategy and execution. They are also 1.7 times more productive.

Employers around the world are straddling a bridge between yesterday when most employees at most companies were physically present at work, and tomorrow, when a vaccine or effective treatment will open the possibility of a safe return to the traditional workplace. Yet even when that happens, remote work will have earned a permanent place in the work model.

This state of affairs presents leaders with two challenges: How to make hybrid fair for all and how to prepare for and optimise the hybrid working models of tomorrow, in which fully in-person and remote work will be two ends of a fluid spectrum of options. The former is a necessity; the latter, an opportunity.

As an urgent response to pandemic conditions, many companies implemented remote work and have been surprised by its success thus far. However, many still question how to accelerate technology innovation to achieve continuous success in business operations in this environment.

For organisations to succeed, collaborate and deliver in hybrid work models, Work Technologies play an important role. With the study responses captured in the Jan to Apr 2021 timeframe, Mature Archetype organisations were already using up to 5 forms of Work Technologies pervasively as opposed to the APAC average of 3.

  • Outside of Communications and Learning, the pandemic has led to an accelerated adoption of collaboration tools and has given a boost to more frequent and real-time employee listening.
  • Looking at investment plans for the coming 12-24 months, Mature Archetype organisations will further their adoption of Work Technologies into areas like workforce Planning, Productivity, and Recognition.



Remote and virtual working has always been a challenge faced by many organisations. As hybrid work models are being evaluated, there is a lack of clarity on the ownership to drive this. The data indicates that HR functions of Mature and Outlier Archetype organisations (Adaptable HR functions) have been proactive in enabling and driving adoption of Work Technologies.

In organisations with Adaptable HR, the success of business in adopting new work technology was achieved through behaviour change, HR’s involvement and leadership. This is not happening in the broader market and will have implications downstream.

In the coming few years, organisations will be forced to accelerate digital business transformation plans to adapt to a post-COVID-19 world that involves permanently higher adoption of remote work and digital touchpoints. Organisations would need to focus on investments that support remote work, which translates into business growth.

The State of HR Transformation 2021, is the fourth edition of the Alight Solutions’ flagship study on this subject. The study data was captured between Jan 2021 and Apr 2021 through an online survey. The insights combine data captured via a survey that saw participation from over 1,700 respondents (which were filtered down to 1,022 based on completeness and accuracy of responses), and observations of Alight Solutions in the space of HR Transformation. 

Follow #EmergeStronger as we continue to bring out more reflections and conversations from  The State of HR Transformation 2021. 

Click here to download the exclusive report now. Let’s emerge stronger together!

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Topics: EmergingStronger, HR Technology, #AdaptableHR

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