Workplace disruption: Tech aids the ‘greatest reset’ for businesses, says Oracle JAPAC’s Shaakun Khanna

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August 10, 2020 1:30 AM

Today, HR, equipped with modern tools of technology, is in the driving seat and steering enterprises towards the new future.

Khanna explains that digital resiliency involves multiple aspects— where employees work, the tools they use, how they are managed, and how they are motivated; all of these need to be treated collectively.

The last few months have changed our lives completely. Workplaces have not seen such a definitive disruption in a long time. To say the least, they have suddenly became location agnostic. As the world opens up gingerly, we are set in front of a new and largely unknown normal with innumerable theories doing the rounds and consulting firms working on blueprints for HR leaders. However, diving back into work is going to have multiple aspects that would require a reset with technology at the helm to support HR leaders help their workforce to ease back into the new normal.

Speaking with FE, Shaakun Khanna, Head HCM Applications, Oracle JAPAC, elaborated on the four tenets of ‘DIVE’ – digital resiliency, intelligence ecosystem, values, and empathy —and what it entails for enterprises and HR as a business function. He further said that technology is the common thread that holds all these factors together. Today HR, equipped with modern tools of technology, is in the driving seat and steering organisations towards the new future.

Khanna explains that digital resiliency involves multiple aspects— where employees work, the tools they use, how they are managed, and how they are motivated; all of these need to be treated collectively. As digitalisation calls for far more agile, flexible, and productive digital working environments, leaders must prepare organisations to discard outdated ideas about physical workspaces. According to Gartner, by 2030, the demand for remote work will increase by 30%. Almost 64% of today’s professionals say they could work anywhere, and remote work policies are common (in place at 71% of organisations). HR needs to accelerate the development of an infrastructure that can support alternative ways of working.

Leena Sahijwani, vice-president, Group HR, Tata Sons, and an Oracle Cloud HCM client, said, “HR may have to reimagine the way the workplace and work tech is designed. Technology has to go through a significant change to support what you are planning to do. With technology as the sole touchpoint making work possible under these extraordinary circumstances, such technology has to enable bringing in the much-needed resilience.”

In the new normal, HR will have a new ally – Artificial intelligence (AI). Most organisations are focusing their AI efforts in HR operations (40%), talent acquisition (38%), and employee engagement monitoring (38%). Gartner survey found that 47% of HR leaders will increase their investments and 51% will maintain their investments. The ability to utilise both acumens together and understanding the art of switching between them will be the single biggest asset that humans will bring to the table.

Agrees Sunil Kanchi, chief investment officer, and chief information officer, UST Global, who says that AI will be an integral part of the workplace soon. From mundane work like document processing to highly creative work like designing, AI is enhancing human productivity and effectiveness in all aspects of work.

“Technology is the single touchpoint to hold your distributed workforce together during these times and an intelligence ecosystem within HR with digital resilience can pave the way for a seamless transition within the new normal,” said Sahijwani.

Other than technology, there are certain abstract aspects which were not so important earlier. Talking about them, Khanna from Oracle said that employees will be more concerned about their employers’ values. Organisations have to ensure transparency in every process and every decision being taken.

Sahijwani further shares how her biggest learning has been that “people are very adaptable” and to build on this adaptability, the leadership in an enterprise requires to adapt to the much needed cultural shift to build, enable and empower a resilient workforce for the uncertainties of today and those that lie ahead.

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