Empowering employees towards better their management is a worldwide concern. However, with the workforce getting wiser, employees demand independence to manage their own schedule, adhering to compliances, requesting time-off, communication, etc.
Restructuring workforce management is not a question of IF but WHEN. Some companies are already aware of their outdated operating model and lack of insight into their workforces. Others are just beginning to realize how much overspending and scheduling problems they have.
In this interview with Tina Vas, Senior Vice President – Global Human Resources, Hinduja Global Solutions will share how the workforce management is being impacted with the ongoing global trends and how organizations can leverage technologies and other practices to encode the new talent management practices.
Q1. Over the last five years, what are some of the changes you have observed in the workforce dynamics?
A: The workforce of today forces us to be better managers and by that I mean that we need to be outcome oriented, have clarity of thought, a certain level of planning and most importantly empower them to work in their own style, using their own resources to deliver quality & innovative work.
The new age of workers, whether they are baristas serving cappuccinos, engineers working with complex circuitry or salespeople striking deals, everyone wants to feel empowered. They don’t want to be directed but want to participate equally in making decision, solving challenges, being listened and take the ownership of their work. The future talent also has no inhibitions or fears about taking on the most coveted or strategic roles. However, the flipside to this is they might be underprepared and hence, need to be logically told why they are not ready and what they need to get there.
HR has a greater responsibility in exploring opportunities to create work that takes advantage of distinctively human capabilities such as curiosity, imagination, creativity, and social and emotional intelligence towards creating an impactful workforce.
Q2. What are some of the key practices that need to be restructured in the workforce management process?
A:. Workforce now is extremely tech savvy and self-help oriented, prefers limited human intervention but at the same time wants human-centric experience in areas that matter. Organizations need to embrace automation to create an efficient experience where necessary and hence operational functions must be automated. HR practitioners should instead spend time on enabling career development, coaching, mentoring, succession planning and equip employees towards meeting their own as well the organization’s goals.
Q3. What are some of the technologies and initiatives HGS have adopted to revitalize the workforce management process to make it more agile, smarter and impactful?
A: No one wants to be unhappy at work, and in many cases, people do have the power to make basic changes that can improve employee job satisfaction. The problem? Employees often don’t speak up, not because they’re afraid, but because they don’t feel managers will take any action to make changes.
One of the major initiatives we took at HGS was to provide employees with an opportunity to be heard. We implemented a technology-backed and automated survey tool which provides employees an opportunity to share their feedback on their experiences towards key events which may impact their employee experience. The survey tool is personalized, smart, automated, mobile friendly and hence results in not just a meaningful interaction, but also a pleasant experience.
Organizations also need to understand that employee voice is not a single entity-employee voice. There are many employee voices-a pluralism of experiences, perspectives, expressions, ideas and evaluations. Technology helps in capturing and analyzing the pervasive pluralism of voices, which can offer a rich understanding to organizations even if that understanding may, at first be disruptive to the organization.
Q4. What is the role of technology in empowering employees to self-manage their processes?
A: Technology endows today’s knowledge workers with a real-life superpower: the ability to process enormous amounts of data in real time, increasing productivity while cutting out time-consuming manual labor. The elimination of many repetitive jobs empower workers to do things that only humans can do, such as working on the code for their new software, providing awesome customer experience and relationship, bringing innovation in business product line.
Technology acts as a driving force to bring the change that organizations strive for: Empowering employees to take control of their work and responsibilities.
Q5. How the new ways of workforce management can prepare your workforce and your talent processes to become agile?
A: The answer lies in the three must to have features in your workforce technology:
- Personalized: Personalized technology offers a tailored experience by understanding what different employees values and delivering the solution when, where and how they need it.
- Smart: The technology needs to be smart. The role of technology shouldn’t be only about completing transactional roles but to enable workers and employees to take right decisions and advance their performance.
- Automated & mobile-friendly: There is a new generation of talent coming up that consider desktops as a relic from the past. The world is growing evermore global and mobile and HR has to be, too. To reach the right talent, you need to be mobile-friendly in design and ease of usage. HR should always go where the talent is – and these days it’s on mobile.
Q6. Gig economy is influencing a lot of businesses today. What is your take on the technologies to support flexibility and distributed workforce?
To take effective advantage of technology, organizations will likely need to redesign work itself, moving beyond process optimization to find ways to enhance machine-human collaboration, drawing out the best of both and expanding access to distributed talent. Businesses will be well advised to not just focus on automation but to identify the most promising areas in which digital technology can augment workers’ performance as they shift into more creative and value-added work.
Organizations will not only need to redesign work—they will likely need to redesign work environments to support this new kind of work.