Redefining the Future of Work: Embracing Digital Mindset is the Key to Change

October 21, 20168:32 am
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Rapid advancements in technology have influenced every sphere of our lives and organisations that have not caught up with the digitization boom are losing out on reaping profits by cashing on the momentum of change. Technology innovation has indeed contributed to HR transformation in a big way. It is influencing the way people think, work and collaborate.

This is the new age of the tech-savvy workforce, and millennials will reign the global workforce by 2020. Companies across Asia seem to be grappling with this sea change and many seem to be lost in the process of transformation and transition to the digital. Are you prepared to go digital?

“Companies need to plan if they want to embrace digital. Work out exactly what you need, consider precisely what HR services you (and the users) want and what employee information you’ll need now and in the future. Workforce analytics is changing the employment landscape, not only in Asia but globally,” says Dion Groeneweg, Head of HR Transformation and Workforce Analytics, Growth Markets – Mercer in an exclusive interview with HR in Asia.

Read on for more insights on what the future of work will look like…

  • While economies in Asia are grappling with change, how can companies embrace digital to innovate, evolve and transform HR workings?

Day-to-day HR function can be transformed in many innovative ways using technology. For example, integrating HRIS systems with job matching apps. This allows companies to identify job seekers unique traits, personality and career aptitude through a series of short and fun neuroscience games.

The results can then be used internally to identify opportunities for existing employees or externally to locate suitable talent who wouldn’t otherwise have applied. This will change the way things are done in HR.

Dion Groeneweg, Head of HR Transformation and Workforce Analytics, Growth Markets - Mercer

Dion Groeneweg, Head of HR Transformation and Workforce Analytics, Growth Markets – Mercer

Companies need to plan if they want to embrace digital.  Work out exactly what you need, consider precisely what HR services you (and the users) want and what employee information you’ll need now and in the future.

Spend time to have a conversation with the vendors and existing users to understand which system fits best and gain feedback from former users, before deciding on the system to choose and implement.

 Identify other bolt-on technologies, some additional capabilities that might not be included in the chosen system. Get assurance on security and privacy – example, mobile interfaces or data offshoring.

Most importantly, keep employees informed and excited! The fundamental meaning of HR transformation today is transforming the way people think, connect, and collaborate. Hence, a new system needs a new mindset and this requires full communication to overcome any scepticism or reluctance.

  • With HR moving to the cloud and HCM solutions taking the industry by storm, how do you think HR professionals can cope with these changes and manage talent effectively?

HR technology is changing the role of the HR, especially systems like Workday.

Employee Service Centres for example will be affected. Traditionally, Tier 1 handles the basics – “first line” of inquiries; while Tier 2 handles the more complex cases that require more research. When implemented properly, technology and knowledge management enables tiers to work seamlessly, and may even disrupt the tiered model in several ways –

  • Tier 1 generalist will disappear into the “cloud –systems like Workday” . Everyone including older working populations and retirees are catching on to self-service and using HR Portal technologies rather than a phone call.
  • Organizations are consolidating Employee Service Centers across disciplines, often in an effort to control costs. We may see the same agents servicing HR, Finance, Procurement, and Logistics.
  • HR professionals need to upskill, build analytical capabilities, storytelling, etc

The HR Business Partner Model (HRBP) is finally evolving.  Given the fact that the HRBP roles were not well implemented in many companies (e.g. Generalists with a new title without proper upskilling), majority will be focusing on improving the capabilities of their HRBPs.

  • Networking as an imperative, how do you think the relationship between business leaders and employees is changing in the modern workplace?

The demographics of the workforce are changing — and so too is the “deal” that employees expect from the business or their employers. Millennials will by 2020 dominate half of the global workforce. These employees are seeking ways to fit work into a variety of different life models.

They want more flexibility and autonomy in their work environment, as well as more holistic advice from managers and more tailored solutions for their rewards and benefits. We are seeing the need for greater transparency in workplace. Not only the executives, are employees at all levels of the organisation asking for more transparency and flexibility with regards to career pathways.

In today’s age of readily accessible information, employees expect more than just a download of information. Instead, they want to a have personalised and honest conversation with business leaders. For instance, instead of pay calculation explanations, they want to know salary range, what different career moves might yield in monetary terms over the longer term and how they can get there.

  • How is the age of digital disruption transforming the employment landscape in Asia?

Workforce analytics is changing the employment landscape, not only in Asia but globally. Workday is providing organisations with the data they require. An increasing number of companies are tackling workforce issues by leveraging data and analytics. They constantly collect, analyse, and interpret data to add value via their recruitment process in terms of improvement and effectiveness.

More companies also starting to forecast their critical workforce requirements for the next 5 to 10 years to ensure a strong talent pipeline is built. With the understanding of talent challenges in critical workforce segments, the business (together with HR) are able to provide insights into build, buy, and borrow strategies to address them.

The rise of data and technology allows businesses to make informed decisions and actions across all recruitment activities, as well as provide feedback into people and business goals.

  • What are the challenges to women leadership development in the globally digitised era?

There are more opportunities than challenges – moving to digitisation will increasingly allow more flexibility in working approaches. For example, virtual working teams.

  • How difficult is it for women to seek a breakthrough into careers in male-dominated industries?

It is very difficult as there are often absence of female role models, lack of pro-family policies, and women’s reluctance to promote themselves.

See: 3 Ways Data Will Change the Workforce of Tomorrow

  • What are the typical day-to-day challenges for women leaders helming operations in a male-dominated industry, how can they manage to thrive and survive?

The typical day-to-day challenges a female leader would have to face in a male-dominated industry are:

  • Absence of pro-family policies and support services in organisations, such as childcare.
  • Lack of female role models in their organisation.
  • View that they need to have face time in order to be effective – lack of flexible working conditions.

What can they do to thrive and survive? Find role models, focus around building specific skills (e.g. networking if they are uncomfortable doing this), Seek out a group of executive sponsors.

  • What are the strategies women leaders should adopt to set themselves up for success?
  • Focus on increasing personal and organisation networks and find senior executives to act as mentors.
  • Be passionate about success: Work with organisation leaders and make sure your organisation maintains focus and looks at the female talent pipeline over a long time horizon.
  • How can companies create gender diverse ecosystem? Why are women in Asia still lagging behind men in terms of seniority and salary negotiations?

Active talent management drives better outcomes. Simply implementing programs to support woman’s needs is not enough – specifically companies need to actively manage pay equity, they need to ensure women and men have equal access to profit and loss responsibility. This leads to better gender diversity outcomes.

Organisations can also implement programs to encourage female networking and role models, implement mandates for senior executives to mentor junior women. Organisations can further seek to provide support services and facilities to manage work-family life balance. Companies can also include gender diversity indicators in executive performance reviews.

  • In an age of hyper connectivity, what are the key traits redefining leadership of the future?

Catalytic learning capability, entrepreneurial spirit, adventurous, sensitivity/cultural adaptability and last but not the least, global mindset are the five key characteristics of global future leaders. These are driven by three key trends:

  • The younger generations are pushing against traditional notions of work and demanding careers that look different. Hence, the entrepreneurial spirit that empowers individuals to perceive opportunity, articulate a compelling vision, be bold enough to take calculated risks and be creative, possess strong sense of self-efficacy, and resilient in the face of adversity.
  • Innovation is disrupting business models and demanding new skill sets to compete. It requires leaders to be open to new ideas, behaviours, and ways of thinking and the ability to make the necessary mental and behavioural adjustments to suit each national context. Thus, the catalytic learning capability and sense of adventure will drive individuals to step outside of their comfort zone, scan for new ideas, explore the novelties or nuances and translate them into productive actions for organizational stakeholders
  • Many companies are globalizing their markets as never before, moving from multinational operations to globally integrated organizations. Therefore, sensitivity/cultural adaptability and global mindset have become more critical than ever. Future leaders must be comfortable with the uncertainty of global markets, cultural complexity and its contradictions, while possessing intrinsic interest in identifying cultural differences, contrasting mindsets and an authentic willingness to adapt to the differences.

Also read: What will the Workplace of the Future Look Like in 2016 and Beyond?

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Feature image credit: Forbes.com