Organisations looking to hone their competitive advantage need to create a workforce that is agile, adaptable, and led by a team of innovative thinkers, experts said at the Hybrid Workforce Summit 2022.
Organised by Khaleej Times, the event brought together top human resource (HR) experts and corporate leaders on Wednesday to highlight the industry shift towards a hybrid workforce model.
Future of work expert Kate Barker, said organisations are struggling on many fronts today. “Leaders are struggling. Recent research has shown that only 12 per cent of leaders have the mindset to embrace changes needed to thrive in a digital economy, while only 13 per cent feel their organisation is ready to compete in the digital economy.”
In addition, she said businesses are insufficiently focused on jobs that have yet to appear. “It is expected that in 2023, 27 per cent of jobs will be in roles that don’t exist yet. And, skills are becoming obsolete at a very fast pace, with most technical skills getting outdated in 2-5 years.”
She also described how digital adoption has taken a “quantum leap.” As a result, organisations that started their digital transformation journey before 2020 are outperforming their peers today by 32 per cent.
“Hybrid work is happening and your culture will need to catch up fast,” she cautioned. “There is now a need to lead differently. On average, the top 10 most trustworthy public companies have outperformed their competitors by over 30 per cent annually. Embracing a test-and-learn culture will entail a real mindset shift for some leaders,” she said.
“We are looking for more from our leaders today than ever before. Before, a country’s wealth was dependent on sectors such as oil and gas, but now it is based on talent and technology, which is a $8 trillion industry. There is a need to cultivate a growth mindset that goes beyond literacy and digital skill,” she said.
Piyush Chowhan, group chief information officer at Lulu International, said the way people work with each other is changing. “It is not just the place where you work, but also the way in which you work that is being re-invented."
“If your employee-experience is not world-class, you are not in a position to deliver a world class experience to your customers. It is the employee experience that is going to be a key differentiator between a good and a bad workplace, so focus on employee experience as much as you do on your customer experience,” he said.
“I think that in terms of the changing workplace, we are just at the beginning of this transformation, and I am sure that there are a lot more changes that will be coming in future,” he added. “The employee experience has always been looked at from the perspective of the HR department. This should not be the case; you need to personalise your employee experience for a post-Covid world. To do this, create a platform that is nimble and flexible, and able to be personalised to the employee experience.”
Chowhan’s observations were echoed by Charlotte Chedeville, regional head of operations for the Mena region at CIPD. She noted that an HR’s one-size-fits-all approach is outdated in today’s workforce. “Today, you are no longer just looking at financial benefits; you are looking at how you are supporting your employees’ wellbeing, their mental health, offering them the option of working remotely, as well as flexible timings.”
This, she explained, is a result of the war for talent becoming much more competitive. “Employees today have much more power at the negotiating table. Also, the talent that is coming to the negotiating table is very different from the talent that was present several years ago – they are interviewing employers just as much as employers are interviewing them. They don’t want to be seen as just another employee number on a chart; they want a more personalised approach that takes into account their needs.”
Satyen Vyas, president and CEO of Symphony SummitAI, said that technology that propels productivity is always at the forefront. “Where legacy tools limit productivity, transformative technologies like AI and Automation have opened avenues of new promises for productivity, issue resolution, agent eﬀectiveness, and complete IT control.”
Harnessing the power of AI and Automation, he said, have helped technology decision-makers resolve issues faster and more efficiently during the challenging times of the pandemic, or even now during the early days of the hybrid world.
“At SummitAI, our constant endeavor has been to provide employees with a consumerised service experience at the workplace,” he said. “Modern consumers are pampered with convenience and comfort at each touchpoint. Whether online shopping or banking, customers get seamless and user-friendly experiences wherever they go. This has given rise to their expectations at the workplace too. With convenience at every step in their personal space, why should the employee service experience be complex and tedious? This shift in consumers’ behavior pushes organisations to embrace new ways of providing employee services to their workforce.”
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