Rules at Work: Learning to embrace a post-Covid digital culture

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July 08, 2021 2:00 AM

Experiencing digital culture involves a careful execution of digital strategy that democratises communication and facilitates collaboration amongst employees

Uma Ganesh Portrait

In the wake of Covid-19, some organisations have adapted to the work from home phenomenon, others have been struggling to cope with the new work requirements and some others have decided to move back to working from office as the pandemic status in their country ebbs. Nevertheless all organisations have had to introspect on the digital impact on the work norms and the resultant new digital culture that is evolving.

The concept of digital culture is no longer important to only those organisations that have voluntarily embraced digital transformation but it is a matter of importance to all as pandemic has made digital the primary medium for functioning. In this context organisations are pondering over how they can protect their culture and also adapt to cope with the digital interventions.

Some firms have been facing resistance from their tenured employees to accept the changes necessitated by the digital culture. This is leading organisations to consider hiring new young talent in their place.

Digital culture certainly requires a shift in the mindset. However the aptitude to function on digital platforms or tools and being able to consume information via digital means alone would not lead to emergence of digital culture. Organisations that have embedded digital culture are customer centric and have consciously created an environment of life-long learning, encouraging innovation and transparency. Experiencing digital culture involves a careful execution of digital strategy that democratises communication and facilitates collaboration amongst employees without barriers enabling a positive environment of supporting one another for their work related needs. Encouraging easy interactions to reach out to experts without concern for hierarchical order nurtures meritocracy and creates opportunity for making quick strides in the discovery and innovation process.

It’s a challenge to share what the organisation’s culture is all about to new hires. Using the web medium to have series of presentations or videos with leaders’ messages can be partially helpful. It’s the experience of living the culture which is hard to share when employees are not in the same physical space. Hence remote working and frequent sessions with employees through digital channels can be a temporary method to stay connected but to be able to experience the real culture, hybrid modes of working and communication would be necessary.

Studies have indicated that there is likelihood of a segment of employees preferring to continue to work from home and enjoy the flexibility it provides and a segment of workers seeking fresh pastures upon being asked to report to their offices. Therefore it is important not to wait for employees to return to their offices. It is essential for management to review their current culture and what levers are required to be introduced to make the genuine shift in the culture so as to enhance talent attraction and retention rates. Leaders have to focus on removing bottlenecks and getting the old guard to accept new ways of functioning to make it feasible for multi generational talent to flourish. Employee journeys and their experience require as much attention as customer journeys in order to ensure organisations are able to forge ahead of competition.

The writer is chairperson, Global Talent Track, a corporate training solutions company

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