Digitization of business and society is intensifying; changing rules are driving organizations to reflect on how they might optimize their talent to gain a competitive edge. A new breed of leadership and employees are taking shape characterized by an unprecedented ease with digital communications and a willingness to embrace the virtual work environment, representing a massive shift towards a more collaborative, connected and fast-paced workplace, in which self-expression is encouraged, and autonomy, recognition and global awareness are core terms of employment.
The Digital workplace is a technology-enabled ecosystem that aims at transforming how people work, how business value is created, and how technology and management tools are used. It focuses on people and provides an environment to work more efficiently and flexibly. This also poses a huge opportunity for organisations to change the way they operate.
Organizations must make use of connectivity, communication, and collaboration tools and technologies together in order to create holistic digital workplaces and enable employees to perform and deliver better. This is a great opportunity for HR to enable a culture change wherein digitisation improves efficiency. Few aspects which can be looked at are:
Analytics: Digitisation of workplace gives HR an opportunity to do predictive analytics. Data can be made available for every stage of an employee life cycle, which can provide insights to understand employee behaviour. This can be utilised to drive various initiatives from recruiting, employee engagement to performance management and communication within the organisation.
Transparency: Digitisation itself has limitation. Often while systems are implemented and new technology comes into force, its success depends on how it’s embraced by people. Changing mindsets is a challenge which needs to be understood and faced if employee efficiency needs to improve. HR has for long played a role of change agent and once again has to lead this change. If digitisation is improving efficiency, the same needs to be measured. Employees need to be made aware of the fact that if they can deliver the same output in a more effective manner, they can do much more from a career perspective in an organisation. Measurement of targets can be made more objective thus bringing in more transparency in the system. HR can work with business to understand new skill development and assist employees in taking more responsibilities in new areas. This will help in showcasing that digitisation is not just about improving efficiency but also about learning new capabilities to do more at work. Organisations need ensure that digitisation does not create insecurity but is seen as an opportunity to learn and stay ahead of the curve which hopefully will lead to greater job satisfaction.
Regular Feedback: One of the key aspects of improving efficiency and productivity is regular feedback by managers. Do we want to replace personal feedback with technology? Maybe not but managers certainly can adapt the role of a coach. Technology can ensure that managers can integrate feedback from various people and can provide regular feedback. Also feedback discussions can be provided over a video call to make it more personal. Digitisation does not mean that HR process becomes an algorithm but it certainly can facilitate faster and efficient processes.
HR should also ensure that every digital platform should be usable, modern, and fun. It should give employees fast access to the information, connections, and resources needed to excel in their roles. The idea should be to deliver result oriented interaction that engage and empower.
Employees must be given seamless access to business applications, ranging from core utilities viz. ERP, expense claims, HR systems, and CRM to administrative and collaboration applications also keeping in mind the security aspects. Providing these, regardless of time and location, increases productivity and supports collaboration with other employees, customers, and partners.
It is also critical to understand that work is no longer time or location-based and can take place anytime, anywhere. Whatever digital elements an organisation plans to implement, HR has to ensure they are making work and lives of your employees easier; they support existing work-culture, and align with business strategy and direction.