The future of work is being redefined. With millennials and Gen Z entering the workforce and working on digital tools across various industries, the needle for human resources is moving to be a Culture Catalyst - from just being another business function with a seat on the table to having a voice on the table given the saying “Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast”.
In my research across various studies on “Future of Work” by a variety of bodies ranging from Global Forums like World Economic Forum to Academia & Consultancy firms like MIT & BCG etc the common themes emerging about the future workforce/workplace are On-Demand, Hyper-connected, Digital, Social & Multi-generational. Resonating the same Learning, employee experience and talent mobility are some of the themes which will redefine the HR function in the coming decade, according to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report for 2019.
Employee experience is not only about the technological interface that employees use as part of their work, it includes all interactions they have with the organization throughout their life cycle. At the core, businesses are made of people, not technology and human-centric digitization to compliment the personal connect/touch is the essence.
The mission of companies behind reimagining the employee experience and value proposition needs to be governed by the true north principles of empowered, flexible, agile, transparent, self-controlled/directed, networked, collaborative & progressive workforce underpinned by analytics. These true north principles have and will continue to serve as the guiding compass in the reimagining employee experience journey, envisioned to be inclusive to carry along both the ‘going-digital’ & ‘born-digital’ workforce.
These principles should propel an organization’s goal to be a dream organization where employees are proud ambassadors. These ambassadors would make the organization a talent powerhouse and continuously raise the bar for the HR function to provide re-imagined employee experience and value proposition.
Through this transformative journey, HR functions can make use of the power of collaboration, speed and agility merged with increased employee freedom to innovate in a technology-led suite to re-orient the function from order taking/appeasement to that of a Culture Catalyst facilitating rejuvenation/re-invention and sustainable institution-building over a period of time.
Here are some of the major initiatives that can be taken across the employee life cycle as part of this goal to reimagine the employee experience and value proposition across the organization.
Pre-boarding Module: We have always talked about onboarding. Given the war for talent and power balance shift between organizations and employees shifting in favor of the employee due to the demand-supply equation, pre-boarding becomes critical and necessary. The opportune time for pre-boarding is the time frame between offer acceptance by the recruit and his/her joining date. In the light of the multiplicity of demands and continued advances till his/her date of joining, talented and successful personnel go through a significant period of stress in terms of post-purchase dissonance and current employer attempts to retain. To deal with this phenomenon of uncertainty and last-minute surprises, it is growingly important that communication of the Employee Value Proposition, Organization Climate/culture, Leadership Connect, and team/organization access selectively to identify ex-colleagues/ common background based future team members/colleagues is vital. These communication & connections are critical for the potential employee to gain inputs/reinforcement of one’s decision to accept offer/join the organization as well as estimate the probability of assimilation/success.
Social Collaboration & Knowledge Management: Organizations should set up a culture for collaboration and knowledge management within the organization. They should seek to set up digital platforms with various groups to ensure employee engagement throughout their lifecycle at the organization. For instance, a speak-up forum could provide an agile two-way communication, alignment, and business updated dissemination through e-townhalls, and tools such as chats, blogs, and webinars. Similarly, there can be other forums for project management interest/wellness, success stories/best practice, leader teach etc. enabling bottom-up crowdsourcing/decision on ideas, problem-solving and alignment/tracking/monitoring of milestones/tasks enabling cross-functional & multi-locational real-time collaboration in a secure ecosystem. At Bajaj Allianz Life, we have a similar platform called “bSocial” which is not only a hyper-connected networking, brainstorming, problem-solving, project management and knowledge sharing value adder but also a bottom-line contributor given the presence of employees across locations.
Multi-modal Self-Learning: Continuous learning, as well as up-skilling, is the most important order of business when it comes to building agile organizations. Companies should aim to engage the new-generational workforce by providing them tools to learn on the job without controlling what they learn, how they learn and when/where they learn. This platform should integrate all learning resources – internal and external to cater to various learning needs and styles of individuals’ supporting a personalized and self-determined pace ecosystem. The key is Any Time – Anywhere – Any Device (AWATAD) availability when faced with the moment-of-truth, so as to shift the learning paradigm from internalization now and application later to Just-In-Time (JIT) performance enablement.
“One-Stop-Shop” is our in-house learning initiative which consists of modules such as online resources (custom scenario & simulation-based), just-in-time learning (Employee experience-based curated learning nuggets & micro-modules), learning resources like e-books, articles, white papers, book extracts etc and dashboards to provide a personalized & peer learning experience.
Amplified Social Recognition: Organizations must aim to put together a social recognition platform that is customized to enable managers and employees to own and build a culture of continuous recognition through a bouquet of points-based reward and recognition category. The platform must be configured to the organization’s Reward & Recognition policy anchored on organization-specific cultural values/DNA as well as competency behaviors thereby enabling embed culture and recognition of display of competencies based behavior instantaneously along with the critical incident recording. Moreover, if these platforms are integrated for social amplification through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, they also end up helping in promoting the brand of both employee & organization. It’s important for the platform to come with AI-powered analytics to enable analytics around engagement, attrition, people management, etc to help the organization to understand social networks and take long term decisions effectively.
At Bajaj Allianz Life, we have developed a 360-degree platform called “WOW” which aims to achieve all this and provides Organization-wide enthusiasm and energy because employees feel more included and motivated to give their best.
These future-focused systems together can make the organization a reimagined workplace that is truly digital, empowered, agile, transparent and self-directed catering to the multi-generational ecosystem for the smart workers of tomorrow. The future of work demands that HR anchors itself as a Culture Catalyst and plays the roles of Talent Builder, Digital Enabler & Strategic Partner and blends both technology & human systems, practices and processes to continuously evolve in the VUCA (Volatile-Uncertain-Complex-Ambiguous) World. This is easier said than done and in my short experience would demand HR to have courage, conviction, faith and missionary zeal in the true spirit of being a Culture Catalyst to grab the opportunity, make a lasting difference & leave a legacy.
Join us for the People Matters EX: A Virtual Conference on 19th June to learn what it takes to create a world of incredible experiences.