The workplace can no longer be defined as a physical space occupied by employees from 9 to 5. Today’s ever connected world has blurred the lines between the physical and the virtual workspace. With the digitization of workplaces, this distinction dissolves and change reveals its true form in unprecedented ways.
However, one thing does get increasingly clearer – traditional models of workplace leadership, collaboration, communication, and culture, can no longer meet the needs of an evolving workforce. Making sense out of an unpredictable scenario can be futile. But years of crisis management, innovation, experimentation, and failures, whether they happened during a pandemic or otherwise, have taught us an incredible number of lessons.
And therefore, with years of expertise, experience, failures and triumphs from their explorations into the new reality of the digital workplace, here are peopleHum’s top 10 thought leaders bringing their unique perspectives on the digitization of workplaces, as interviewed on LeadersHum - The Leadership Series.
Top 10 thought leader perspectives on transforming workplaces through Digitization
1. Enrique Rubio on HR digital transformation
HR has traditionally been very inward-oriented. But these days, especially because of technology and larger people networks, we have the greatest opportunity to bring HR together in a global community. As technology continues to disrupt and quicken the pace of change in workplaces, HR needs to understand the implications of tech on the way it operates.
Enrique counters this sentiment with some thoughtful advice:
“The important thing is how you are stepping back, refining your processes, and then figuring out what is the technology that can help you optimise or implement an already optimised process.”
The world today that relies on HR, needs HR to do more than just HR functions. “Learn non-HR stuff,” says Enrique. With HR at the front line of the talent acquisition business, the digitalization of HR is only fitting, along with acquiring an understand about agility, marketing and sales.
The foundation of the Hacking HR movement is to bring people together and build community, consequently exposing them to all things that are important at the intersection of the future of work, technology, organizations, workplace digitization and innovation. Glean illuminating insights on these from Enrique’s interview with peopleHum.
2. Andrew Spence on analytics and the future of workplaces
All HR procedures of the workplace are geared around people. Analytics comes into the picture when leaders try to figure out measures to make employees more productive. When it comes to considering the role of analytics in the future of workplaces, Andrew Spence describes his vision of the ideal outcomes:
"If we had a hundred data points for hiring somebody, from demographics, to ability, to psychometrics, to body language on video interviews; If we start to measure that data and then measure how effective the subsequent team performance was, whilst feeding that back using pattern recognition and AI tools, we can start to find a really rich source of how to predict who is going to be a good worker on the team."
Andrew confesses that a vision of this scale can be difficult to put in place, but it is certainly a position analytics can get to, thus allowing teams to be more self-sufficient. And through the HR digital revolution, leaders are well-positioned to design and use analytical tools, and make a real difference. Know more about the incredible resourcefulness of analytics in the workplaces of the future through his interview with peopleHum.
3. Scott Monty on being digital with a touch of human
In the context of current employee experience programs, increasing employee engagement is has little to do with a one-size-fits all approach and more to do with leaders tailoring the program and their messaging based on listening to and talking with their employees. Anybody can come up with a tool and influence people to use it.
However, when Scott Monty talks about creating virtuous leaders, he urges that we think about the elements of humanity that make us better people. It’s about how a leader yields the tool, the observations they make, and the empathy they show to their employees. The more that leaders focus on the process and the people in addition to technology, the more the humanity will come through.
Now more than ever we need empathy from our leadership. We need people that show that they understand, that they care about what's happening to their people, whether it's their citizens or their employees. Gain more such thought-provoking insights through Scott’s interview with peopleHum.
4. Jeanne Achille on people, process, and technology
Echoing Scott’s perspective, Jeanne believes that whenever there are people and processes involved in an operation, there can never be a one-size-fits-all in terms of a solution. Solutions should morph to what the client of the organization needs, rather than impose or dictate process.
Here’s Jeanne’s advice on the things one has to keep in mind while choosing an HR software for an organization:
“You are using this tech every single day. This is not a situation where you’re buying office supplies. This is a very intense process and you have to be as comfortable with the company as you are with the technology. And they have to be as committed to you as you are to them. That’s how you ensure success.”
Employee engagement is the benchmark of organizational success. Post-Covid, engagement has taken a different look and feel. Where it once used to be more about productivity, it’s now much more empathetic. See how you can effectively align people, processes, and technology, and influence employee engagement in the new normal, with Jeanne’s enlightening interview with peopleHum.
5. Simon Haigh on closing the deal – virtually
Human are born with this instinct to influence. Influencing is a critically important skill for deal-making and closing. Deal-making is about having the skill sets (awareness, dealing with people, boundary setting, and influencing) to set up an environment whereby its possible for you to create deals.
Simon’s 7 P's strategy to deal making:
- Principles: learning various principles, such as the art of negotiation, selling, and the importance of value.
- Planning: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
- Players: who are the people on your team and the people on the other side?
- Power: The power you hold, your relationships, the information you possess, networking skills, and your hierarchy in the organization.
- Performance: The actual deal itself.
- Putting it all to bed: The contract and MOU that you need to have after the deal is made.
- Pay-out or Post-mortem: Either you’ve done the deal and it’s a pay-out, or you haven’t, in which case you need to be continuously improving, which is the post mortem.
“Underpinning all the above,” states Simon, “it’s all about providing value and building relationships." In the art of deal-closing, storytelling plays quite an important role. But in a virtual world, it is harder to tell a story and build a rapport online when 93% of human communication relies on body language. Simon Haigh perceptively suggests how people can effectively use technologies for different stages of the closing process, which he shares on his interview with peopleHum. Check it out here.
6. Phil Wainewright on breaking bureaucracy with digitization
The subject of digitization of workplaces has been a source of huge curiosity for the length of Phil’s career, specifically the curiosity about how technology will determine the way businesses are operated. Phil is a proponent of the concept of the frictionless enterprise.
Basically, anything in your business that resembles a piece of paper going from one department to another needs to be gotten rid of. But in order to deliver results faster and with fewer restrictions, teams need to have the tools and techniques in place to collaborate efficiently.
“People expect a lot from technology. They forget how good we as humans are at certain things. Machines are really good at identifying patterns, but are no good at all when the unexpected happens. And that's what humans are good at – they’re good at being creative, at empathy, at engagement, at reading situations. We’ve got to get the right balance between using machines for what they’re good at, but also recognizing what humans are good at.”
How can organizations cut the puppet strings of bureaucracy through digitalization of workplace? Phil Wainewright brings his answers in his interview with peopleHum.
7. Aditya Nagarkar on the learning culture quotient in digital transformation
Building a learning culture, at a fundamental level, means an understanding of what the business actually wants to achieve. This requires the assessment of skills prevailing in the organization and surveys of employees’ aspirations within the organization.
Aditya believes that creating a learning culture means believing in your people and empowering them with the resources and the space to learn, experiment, and apply the skills they have learned.
“Learning tenets have to be tuned into your organizational values, and it has to bring them to life.”
Rather than being a top-down transaction, Aditya argues that the digital learning process should be more about collaboration. Leaders have a responsibility to perceive what their employees need from the organization, and how they utilize it to enhance their productivity. Dive deep into the role of culture in digital transformation with Aditya Nagarkar’s interview with peopleHum.
8. Maria Papacosta on personal branding
As an accomplished personal branding coach, Maria Papacosta states that bringing forth a leader’s authentic qualities starts with self-awareness. It’s about identifying one’s strengths and weaknesses, others' perception of them, and the ultimate quest to find an authentic voice.
“Personal branding is not about promotion, it’s about your vision, the impact you want to make in this world, and how you are going to communicate that to the world to stand out.”
In an increasingly noisy world saturated by content, if leaders don’t have the presence, influence and impact, then they won’t have a following. Maria’s deep insights on developing an influential personal brand is a resource one must never miss out on. Witness the knowledge she imparts on this crucial digitalization of workplace trend in her interview with peopleHum.
9. Neeraj Shah on adapting to a digital sales strategy
In an elaborate discussion with peopleHum, Neeraj lent his thoughts on the value of personal branding in building a profitable social presence and the consequential shift of sales to the virtual sphere.
Neeraj’s response to adapting seamlessly to a virtual set-up? He suggests a high-tech, high-touch outlook. The new normal of sales strategy needs a combination of marketing automation to generate and nurture leads.
“We need to customize according to the client’s needs. We can have a set of solutions available from our side that can solve most problems. But if you have a diagnostic tool to help prospects identify where they currently are, then rather than trying to send them all the different solutions that are there, you target, personalise, and then send them only information that are more likely to be relevant. As a result, you’re wasting less time and end up getting better results.”
The onset of Covid-19 has led to an upshot in social media and internet usage. A personal brand is a key way to stand out from the noise, and social media allows the incredible opportunity to have visibility at scale. The best way to have this visibility is to have relevant content related to the target market, personal expertise, and then begins the unpacking of one’s unique intellectual property on social media platforms.
Uncover even greater gold nuggets of information in his interview here:
10. Gatik Chaujer and Sandra Colhando on building inner resilience
“We both found something to do but what do we do with it? Let's create something starting with ourselves, and take it out to people... That’s where the name ‘TransforME’ was born. Because transformation starts from within; it’s the name that Gatik came up with. Transformation starts from ME, and I need to transform before I can enable others.”
Change management is a common phenomenon across organizations. However, post Covid-19, change has occurred at a pace that knocked everybody off their socks. But for better or worse, everyone is now in the same bucket. The realities and challenges of most organizations are similar due to the fact that there is higher ambiguity, higher complexity, higher uncertainty. Adding to that, there has also been a lot of talent coming in, so there are a lot of people coming into leadership roles.
All this change is leading to a space where people, at a self-level, are struggling more than ever. They are struggling with becoming resilient emotionally. What TransforME has been doing is helping people transform from within, strengthening teams from within, and enabling leaders while working on themselves.
We hope these perspectives could offer a substantial peek into the processes that shape the digitization of workplaces. Learn valuable insights from some of the world’s accomplished thought leaders and practitioners of digital workplaces, and imbibe them into your workplace processes.