2020 ushered us into a new way of working, as organizations around the world over transitioned from working from offices to working remotely. While in 2020, Hybrid 1.0 meant going remote, in 2021, as the world reopened, remote work models are further transitioning to hybrid work, as we keep on moving from the traditional to a fully tech-enabled future state. From experimenting with hybrid work, organizations are now moving to investing and setting up infrastructures to provide a superior work experience to their people– Hybrid 2.0. Hybrid 2.0 is going beyond replicating the in-person work digitally-it would be about creating new experiences and moments for future workspaces. Because the fact remains that while pandemic induced uncertainties may continue to plague our work models, even in a hybrid world, it is our people that represent the core of our organizations. Hence designing and managing employee experience for a hybrid world will become critical and will become more and more important as the world of work undergoes further disruption and embraces digital.
How are organizations, especially talent leaders designing employee experience now with the expanded working world and disruptive technology? Moving on from what started as an experiment, how do we design an employee experience for the hybrid 2.0 world that is holistic, progressive, flexible, agile, technology-driven and future-proof, and most importantly, more human?
Solving the puzzle of having both ‘productivity’ and ‘innovation’ along with individual well-being is tough. It poses a greater threat to the talent leaders– how can we begin the conversation on engagement and productivity if our own people are exhausted – burnt out from the tug-of-war between the demands of their personal and professional life?
The job of the CHRO then becomes, to facilitate and lead that access to the clarity of direction, strategy and milestones, provide structures for freedom & ownership of work & create systems that enable work and takes into consideration the importance of social cohesiveness.
In a recent event by SAP HR Connect by SAP SuccessFactors in partnership with People Matters, business leaders and talent leaders came together to brainstorm on building the right experience to lead the next curve of Hybrid.
Here are some key lessons from the sessions:
Flexibility is the key but needs to be thought through
In the opening keynote by Prashant Tripathy, Managing Director & CEO at Max Life Insurance, he shared that a complete physical setup is out of the picture. Differentiating on flexibility for employees has become important because if you don’t provide what they are looking for, they will shift to competitors. So job market competitiveness has intensified, putting a lot of pressure on organizations to be flexible.
That has led to the physical world becoming phygital-which means how well you bring digital and interface it with human beings and the physical setup. All of us will have to strike a balance between physical and digital that will work for us. And it will be different for different industries and organizations. All companies will have to strike their own balance.
Within that, the culture, values, and purpose that anchored and bound the organization together to create a strategy that could align its people to deliver-maintaining that culture when people are working from home or remotely has become extremely challenging.
“While there’s a lot of debate going on with certain companies allowing employees to work from home all the time, unless thought through, this flexibility could impede the ability to build a common culture,” shared Prashant Tripathy, Managing Director & CEO at Max Life Insurance.
Digital transformation: A clear mandate for organizations to sustain growth.
In a CEO panel discussion, moderated by Ester Martinez, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, People Matters saw coming together of leaders from three prominent industries– CP Gurnani, CEO & MD, Tech Mahindra, Dilip Shanghvi, Managing Director, Sun Pharma and Kulmeet Bawa, President & Managing Director, at SAP Indian Subcontinent argued that technology has unarguably played an important role in leading the workplace transformation as a response to the pandemic. Not only it accelerated the possibility of remote working but also supported collaboration, engagement, communication, and experience which were some of the biggest worries of the employers.
“Technology has been a great enabler and it will continue to play an increasingly important role especially in removing the subjectivity from employee performance and making it more transparent. The role of technology is only going to accelerate in enabling us to move to the future of work," shared Dilip Shanghvi, Managing Director at Sun Pharma.
Kulmeet Kulmeet Bawa, President & Managing Director, at SAP Indian Subcontinent reflected, “We're living in the experience era today and there is an immense need to offer personalized real-time experiences to our people. We are living in an era where the questions should no longer be about Why technology but how to implement faster and holistically.”
During the pandemic, it seemed that five years of digital acceleration got compressed into three months. Out of necessity, companies in all industries were forced to rethink their operating models and accelerate investments in cloud technologies, AI, and automation. In a panel discussion, Code to Cracking the Talent, Technology & Cost Trifecta, Madhu Srivastava
Group CHRO at Vedanta Resources Plc, shared, “Digital is the only differentiator between any two companies in any industry.”
Redefining the Employee Experience- From HCM to HXM in Hybrid
As we enter the second year of the pandemic, we still don’t know when it will end. What the future beholds, no one knows and so organizations need to start planning a pandemic-proof EX strategy for our brave, new evolving hybrid world of work.
Jason Averbook, CEO & Co-Founder at Leapgen hosted a workshop and shared a step by step guide of carving a winning employee experience strategy that transforms employees into growth partners as we transition to newer work models. He shared, The 2021 Digital Equation for success is based on four tangents– Mindset, Audience, Journey, and Technology.
Further, James Thomas, Vice President at SAP SuccessFactors shared, “There are three key areas that are becoming critical in today’s hybrid world: Re-looking at people dimensions, how technology can bring balance in the hybrid world, and the undergoing huge shift in the experience economy.”
Lastly, empathizing with the talent is a way to decode the EX. “We really need to listen to our employees; the more we listen to them, we will know what experience means to them,” shared, Nitinchandra Shende, Head – People Operations and Corporate Initiatives, Persistent System.
SAP HR Connect 2021 also hosted a lot of case studies across industries where leading organisations like Lupin, TechMahindra, and Cipla shared some of the best practices in enabling talent transformation in the changing world through resilience, and ownership,
“Trust, Outcome Orientation, Resilience, Agility & Nimbleness are the four behaviours that will allow organisations to lead transformation amidst the chaos," shared Raju Mistry, President and Global Chief People Officer at Cipla.
Concluding the session, James shares, Change is here to stay and we will never go back to the old ways of working. The biggest hybrid work experiment ever undertaken will goad organizations to innovate further to battle uncertainties that we can't predict.