Article: Leading in the age of digital transformation


Leading in the age of digital transformation

While some companies like J&J, Microsoft and Bank of America are reaping the benefits of analytics, GE has been able to seamlessly move from annual feedback to real time feedback through mobile technology.
Leading in the age of digital transformation

It is true that the phrase, ‘Technology is changing the world’ has now become a cliche. But while digital experience, the cloud, analytics, blockchain, cognitive technologies, and cybersecurity may be old news, that doesn’t mean that they are no longer a crucial part of business transformation. 

With modern tools and technologies, organizations today can enhance workplace collaboration, strengthen employee experience and ensure more productivity and efficient business results. 

“What we do now will have a profound impact not just in the near future but will affect decades and centuries to come. In that context, these times become even more interesting,” exclaimed Amogh Deshmukh, Managing Director, DDI India. 

As he addressed a room full of senior HR and business leaders at People Matters TechHR India 2019, he touched upon the various new ways of working, and shared how some of the established companies have successfully leveraged mix of digital technologies for better business results. 

While some like J&J, Microsoft and Bank of America are reaping the benefits of analytics, GE has been able to seamlessly move from annual feedback to real time feedback through mobile technology. 

Let’s take a look at these examples:

Bank of America: Controlling attrition by leveraging analytics

There were times when attrition rates in bank’s call centre division shot to 40 percent. Soon the company began to address its turnover problem by looking at its performance metrics of different call center units. They turned to big data and analytics to get to the root of the problem. After a lot of analyses and pulling out multiple data, the bank pinned down one most influential element - inter-office collaboration. 

Why were people not collaborating? Bank of America had traditionally asked employees in the call centre to take breaks that don’t coincide with any one else’s. People would then overlap lunches only by 15 minutes and lose out on the time and opportunity to interact with their colleagues. They allowed teams to take breaks at the same time. After three months, they saw that people were handling calls 23 percent faster, and cohesion was up by 18 percent. 

GE: Real time feedback through mobile technology

Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE, made stack ranking a widespread people management policy. Many other companies had followed suit and applied similar systems within their organizations. However, 30 years into its inception, GE admitted that the old system is not functioning very well anymore. 

GE, then ditched the traditional methods to give and receive performance feedback and adopted mobile technology. Named PD@GE, the app provides a platform to define near-term goals for employees. Managers are expected to have frequent conversations, named “touchpoints”with their employees on how far they are from their goals. The app can provide summaries of these touchpoints when desired. The app ensures real time feedback that could create an opportunity for constant improvement.

These examples reflect only an iota of transformation and technology adoption taking place globally. The presence of modern technologies and their promising future, opens up a transformative opportunity to rethink technology culture, roles and responsibilities, enablement tools, and processes. In the future, the companies that imagine, deliver, and run a digital future based on additional factors such as connectivity of evolving ecosystems to human-centered design, macroeconomic forces, and real-time data intelligence will be more successful. 

(The article is based on a session 'Leadership in the digital age' by Amogh Deshmukh, Managing Director, DDI India, presented at People Matters TechHR India 2019.)

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Topics: Technology, #TechHRIN

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