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Fascinating challenges of future – cracking the human code

While many organisations have started to recognise the talent changes that the future will demand, just a few of them have initiated concrete steps to harness the power of digital and technology and how these steps can translate into a successful human capital action roadmap.

Published: September 19, 2016 6:17 AM
One of the leading retail and commercial banks improved customer experience, particularly through the use of digital technologies. One of the leading retail and commercial banks improved customer experience, particularly through the use of digital technologies.

While many organisations have started to recognise the talent changes that the future will demand, just a few of them have initiated concrete steps to harness the power of digital and technology and how these steps can translate into a successful human capital action roadmap. The changing environment, propelled hugely by digitisation and artificial intelligence, has potential to offer tangible benefits to business leaders—and perhaps be even more positively embraced by their employees.

One of the leading retail and commercial banks improved customer experience, particularly through the use of digital technologies. To fuel this agenda, the bank recognised an opportunity to build more digital culture internally and improve the sense of community and engagement within its retail business, promoting collaboration between different stakeholder groups and enhancing its adoption of social collaboration and Yammer, the enterprise social software tool. That led to conceptualisation of the 30-Day Challenge—an initiative underpinned by neuroscience principles and behavioural change insights, supported by a robust communications strategy, and deployed using Yammer to help drive enterprise social adoption and a sustained shift in behaviour.

To further support engagement in the initiative, participation was gamified through leadership boards and rewards. In addition, the retail leadership team was engaged and coached on driving participation within their populations. Following the 30-Day Challenge, employees gained a greater understanding of how to use social media as well as the shared experience of being part of a social community. Furthermore, almost two-thirds of participants reported that the challenge caused them to think differently about how they deliver customer service.

In such a scenario, designing a robust solution around hyper-personalisation of your talent strategy, creating a work culture that fortifies innovation and empowerment will generate positive employee experiences.

Turbocharging metamorphism of work and workplace

Market and marketplace dynamics, coupled with digital disruption, have created new, very complex, but fascinating business challenges for c-suite executives and leaders. In today’s connected world the issue at the core of many business challenges is workforce and talent lifecycles.

The impact of this digital on work and workforce of the future, is going to be on five fronts:

* How work is organised: Traditional ways of organising work are getting disrupted and replaced by open operating models. We have started seeing creation of liquid workforces and open talent marketplaces, which are leading to the emergence of flatter organisational hierarchies, creation of a new social enterprise with extended workforces and re-structuring of work-tasks, that is able to harness collaboration between the fluid and networked organisation.

* What work is performed: It’s estimated that intelligent machines will outnumber humans by 2030. Work is being redefined and reshaped as workplaces leverage analytics and intelligent technology to augment employees’ ability to experiment, iterate and adapt to make better decisions.

* Who performs the work: Organisations today are able to tap into global talent pools anytime, anywhere. To operate successfully in such an environment, digital literacy, new baseline skills and more global and flexible mind-set will be required.

* Why, when, and where people work: Digital employers will need to offer new talent value proposition that is able to present democratised, customised work experiences to talent. To engage and develop a workforce that has grown up in the on-demand and shared economy, organisations will have to transform their physical and virtual workspaces to create a working environment that fosters collaboration and innovation.

* How work is led and managed: Today, leaders are faced with the complexity of facing incessant pressure in an always-on digital world and having to manage multiple paradoxes at a time. Leaders are key to creating a boarder organisational capability that is able to respond more quickly to uncertainty and volatility.

Re-imagining talent strategy

Organisations have the opportunity to take a leading role in transforming workplaces by creating more engaging workforce experiences across the talent lifecycle. With millennials putting a huge emphasis on balancing work and life, wellness is becoming a big agenda. For example, organisations can utilise recruitment apps, game-based assessment and selection tools in hiring and performance management. They can establish platforms that enable workers to manage their tasks across multiple devices or physical locations. They can also mine their employee data and apply analytics to understand what employees truly value—much as they do now to understand customer preferences.

They can adapt online features that are popular among consumers—such as peer reviews and personalised recommendations—to learning programmes in the workplace. Short, sharp bursts of learning content, delivered via online, virtual or mobile channels can be as effective as, if not more effective than, traditional training methods. And gamification and real-world online simulations will strike a chord with those who have grown up with ubiquitous, always-on gaming applications.

Retaining the core

At the same time, whatever path an organisation chooses to take based on its readiness, maturity and context, it should create a core that is centred around employee experience—to counter the digital overwhelm. Organisations need to do things differently and re-think and re-design their approach to talent. Only those that redefine how they identify, source and develop their talent will thrive and emerge as leaders.

The writer is Unmesh Pawar, global managing director, talent acquisition at Accenture

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