What enterprises need to prioritise for the hybrid workplace of the future
McKinsey & Co. coined the term “The war for talent” in the early 1990s as the race to acquire the best and brightest minds intensified with globalization. It signified that geographies no longer restrained professionals and an interconnected world offered new opportunities for both employers and employees. Cut to 2022, and the “war” has assumed unheard-of proportions. Traditional bricks-and-mortar enterprise structures have morphed into remote and hybrid workplaces, egged on by the two-pronged change agents of COVID-19 and technology advances.
This change has come at an immense cost for enterprises, however. Job-hopping is no longer frowned upon. A runaway surge in switchovers because of employees’ desire for benefits far exceeding salaries and traditional perks have led to the ongoing Great Resignation. Employee burnout has equally fuelled this trend. This shift in workforce behavior does not bode well for organisations, though.
Even as businesses resume pre-COVID setups, calling employees back to offices, the hybrid setup will continue unabated. Perched on the horns of a dilemma, they have gone back to the drawing board to envision long-term employee-centric policies for their hybrid workforce. Perfunctory measures and cosmetic changes are unlikely to suffice as enterprises enter the new age of work.
Enterprises are Resetting their Employee Value Proposition (EVP)
Amid the sustained challenge of acquiring and retaining talent, enterprises are resetting their employee value proposition, which comprises a balance of rewards and benefits that employees receive for their performance. Thus, the Great Resignation is steadily giving way to the Great Reshuffle.
Enterprises are focusing on reorganizing and reprioritizing their corporate values, culture and employee benefits. This recalibration aims to create opportunities for prospective candidates to seek more from their future employers while allowing companies the opportunity to reset and rethink their employee value proposition. Thus, enterprises across verticals and geographies now offer higher wages, a better work-life balance, upskilling and reskilling opportunities, and comprehensive health and wellness programs. These measures help companies attract and retain talent amid severe shortages and massive turnovers.
But enterprises must understand that these measures are not sufficient to stem the loss of talent. A longer-term and sustainable solution lies in internalizing ‘digital’ as the future of work. This ‘future’ must include an organizational focus on creating a delightful employee experience to keep them engaged and motivated at the workplace. Besides, digital transformation, digital readiness, AI, and automation will reap handsome rewards in attracting new talent and retaining existing employees.
Why ‘automation’ matters for creating a robust EVP
Teams are now more dispersed and working in silos. They are spread across cities and countries and operate from different time zones. Thus, workplaces will be ‘digital’ in some capacity for all enterprises - while their success will depend primarily on how quickly they can absorb data and information to extract directional cues for business-related decisions. Cloud-based solutions are ideal tools for such requirements, and benefit employees and enterprises alike. Employees can access information and collaborate seamlessly, which is ideal for hybrid setups. Besides, they can update their progress status from anywhere and anytime.
Enterprises also need real-time visibility into every metric, which is crucial for decision-making. Professional services automation (PSA) solutions can facilitate this. An advanced PSA provides business leaders with a solution that can do the heavy lifting, analyze real-time data, and deliver live recommendations on the best possible choices from which to choose.
These tools help converge all resourcing, finance, and project-related information in one place, giving enterprises an up-to-date live view of their businesses. This real-time data nullifies the challenges that hybrid setups present, lending more control and a heightened ability to make immediate course corrections.
PSAs with intelligent resource management, by leveraging AI/ML-based advanced technologies, help manage resources in an autopilot mode and optimize business growth. Besides, some tools also provide historical and real-time information, helping make instantaneous and data-backed decisions.
Technology, automation, and digitization now profoundly impact how employees feel about their workplaces. They can help in delegating run-of-the-mill tasks to tools and software packages, boost employee productivity, and enhance intra- and inter-team collaboration. These advantages foster a rich and productive work culture, giving them the best of both worlds.
Enterprises need to have their ears to the ground
That employees are setting the agenda and shaping the contours of the post-COVID workplaces is a fact. They dislike traditional and human-led processes and consider companies employing them as archaic, tech-averse, and inward-looking. There is a valid reason for employees’ displeasure with conventional setups. Organizational belief in traditional approaches, operating from offices, worked in the pre-contagion era because they could gauge how employees, teams, or departments felt about their workload. Hybrid setups have created decentralized workforces. Therefore, companies must rely on data generated by productivity reports, resource and project management tools, and employee feedback forms to decipher employee fitment, likes, and dislikes. And their absence forces them to work on intuition and guesswork.
Enterprises had their ears to the ground on how they were delivering on their EVPs when operating from offices. Hybrid setups have altered this established mechanism. And this perception of indifference among employees about their companies paints the latter as insouciant about the former’s needs.
How PSAs can help
Enterprises must recognize the challenge of establishing processes and mechanisms to attract and retain the best professionals. Thus, they must revamp their listening strategies by collecting more information to understand their resources and workforce holistically. They can establish a connection between their EVPs and workflows by onboarding an intelligent PSA. Let’s say their EVP mandates an excellent employee experience. They can avoid sub-optimal resource allocation and consistent back-and-forth on resource projects by learning about their resources’ ongoing engagements, skills, and aptitudes to identify the best fits for project requirements. Thus, employees can work on projects that are best suited to their abilities, ensuring higher productivity and engagement levels – a mutually beneficial proposition for both enterprises and the workforce.
PSAs can also help enterprises negate employee burnout, which they can weave into their EVP. Here, a PSA can help discover their overburdened employees to take immediate corrective measures by identifying how teams are allocating resources using real-time data. This insight allows them to zero in on their overstretched employees and intervene before burnout.
PSAs have other advantages as well. For example, they can help enterprises create better coordination avenues as intelligent PSAs come with in-built resourcing workflows that facilitate collaboration between resource managers and project managers. Assimilating these features indicates enterprises’ desire to enforce their EVPs in letter and spirit. And assures employees that their organisations are genuinely empathetic toward their needs.
Digital readiness is a statement of intent, and PSA tools are the means to demonstrate It
Generation X and Z employees who are fast-replacing Baby Boomers are more adept at technology. They expect digital readiness from their prospective and current employers. They desire support from their companies in continuous upskilling and reskilling to remain relevant. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025.
PSAs are a fantastic tool to exhibit and deliver on that intent by making it a part of the EVP. Enterprises are increasingly facilitating skills acquisition through monetary aid and access to online courses. But employees also need time to acquire skills. Expecting them to upskill and reskill beyond office hours is not realistic. Incorporating PSAs indicates that enterprises are willing to invest in creating workplaces of the future with automation and data-based insights. It also signals that they are serious about freeing employees from mundane activities to work on enriching and productive assignments. No matter how serious enterprises are about improving their employees’ skills, it won’t amount to anything unless employees get the necessary time to work on them.
Enterprises can start with intelligent human capital resource management
Enterprises can implement changes to build a foundation to legitimize their employee value proposition in several ways. Reviewing feedback from current employees, understanding what will encourage current and future employees to embrace changes, and assessing the hybrid workplace of the future are the ways in which enterprises can mitigate employee turnover and attract new talent.
Enabling current and future employees to manage their daily tasks with an intelligent PSA in a hybrid workplace is a great start. They are excellent tools for automating administrative work and offer 100% accurate and consistent data to reduce sub-optimal resource utilization that can help better management of human capital resources. It is time enterprises prioritized them.