Automation is a critical component of the fourth industrial revolution (IR 4.0) and data analytics is the bedrock on which automation can be used effectively in today’s age. Behaviour, efficiency, decision making all rest on big data analytics. What’s interesting is that IR 4.0 has led to HR 4.0, where, people management will become virtually impossible without the use of technology. On the other hand, use of technology will accelerate the culture change required in organizations to succeed in a digital-first world. Some key concepts of leveraging technology to accelerate cultural change are discussed below:
Talent Hunting: The use of social media is the quickest and cheapest approach to cast a wide net of recruits. Platforms like LinkedIn are being increasingly used to get the right talent for the job. As IR 4.0 progresses, a growing number of workers will become unemployable due to lack of relevant skills and there will be a significant need to reskill them for their new roles. Technology will ensure that engaged and ready talent is available, and short staffing is overcome.
Knowledge enhancement: Leaders have to build an atmosphere, where people in the organization acquire knowledge and bring in new thoughts and ideas to the table. It is imperative to continuously enhance knowledge and skills to survive in today’s world. There are software applications available, which perform data mining within the organization from the emails exchanged, chats, data, etc. to assist people in understanding their behavior, efficiency, and productivity. This is even quicker with apps that provide these analytics on the touch of a button. Leveraging data will ensure that decision-making is driven by analytics.
A few years ago, it was difficult to know exactly what a field salesman was doing for weeks at a stretch. Now it is possible to track them on an hourly or daily basis. GPS can help track in real-time where and at what time the salesman visited which retailer, the time spent, sales and collections, stock in hand, etc. The sales head knows what exactly is happening in each district, region, city, and state and knows how the team is working.
Increasing access to leadership: If leaders want engaged and productive workers, they must start communicating the vision, mission, purpose, strategy policies, of the organization directly. Millennials abhor hierarchies and wish to be heard and spoken to in a two-way dialogue. Story-sharing is being used as a powerful tool to not only connect, but also provide context in organizations today. In a virtually connected world, leaders must reach out to the remotest location directly and engage in honest dialogue.
Technology as a catalyst for culture change
It is natural for HR and business leaders to where their focus must be, technology or culture. It might seem like a chicken and egg situation, but remember that a need is the most significant change agent. Therefore, to overcome a problem, one uses technology, and that sets in motion the wheels that bring in culture changes. For instance, organizations use digital platforms and solutions to onboard contractual professionals and connected them to their professional staff spread all over the world. A thing which would have taken months deliberation, coaxing, building consensus can now be done at a faster space, inducing culture change. Leaders have to understand that technology is not a magic solution that can be used to bring a change in the culture instantly. It is a well-thought out plan with the introduction of the right technology along with the necessary knowledge and expertise that makes technology is an enabler.
Finally, the culture of an organization is mostly is a function of its history. Good or bad, it is ingrained in the organization and it gets embedded over time. Therefore, while changing the culture can be challenging, technology can act as an enabler helps in kick-starting the process and sometimes helps in taking a long leap as well. If you are a part of a progressive sector, you are bound by the environment to move towards a digital agenda. So, to get going, evaluate where you currently are and decide how quickly you want to make changes. HR and business leaders have a choice to make, and they must act fast.