Dive Into The #Newnormal
By Shaakun Khanna
The future that all the organisations were preparing for has changed its course and the world of work is undergoing the biggest disruption ever.
The change in the external environment pushed organisations across the globe to face unparalleled challenges. Organisations did rise to the occasion and rapidly responded by adapting to the changing environment.
However, what started as a temporary adjustment to the way of working has mutated into a permanent change like the workforce and workplace. The world of work is looking at a #newnormal.
As the #newnormal is unveiling itself, the work, worker, and workplace are getting belted up for the next phase of adaptation, transformation, and eventually growth.
According to Fortune 500 CEO Survey, 26% of fortune 500 CEOs say that 90% of their workforce will NEVER return to their usual workplace. Hence, there is a lot of ambiguity around what is this new normal and how it will impact the world of work.
While every organisation functions right from marketing to CSR, is witnessing new demands at work, HR is taking one of the most central roles in these ‘return to work’ conversations. Talent and culture are at the forefront of this process of recalibration.
Return to the workplace will be slow, staggered, and deliberate, and before the enterprises ‘Dive-off’ into the new normal, they will need to reset the workplace for the returning workforce. Organisations irrespective of their size and sector must look at the following 4 imperatives for a successful DIVE:
Digital resilience: Irrespective of industry, function, or geography, digital has become the default mode of delivering an experience for almost everything today. Even the most human of tasks like teaching, counselling, and even celebrations are now being delivered digitally.
Under #newnormal, organisations must assess where they are on the Resilience Readiness Maturity from a digital perspective and then take a call to invest in the right digital strategy.
And digitalisation is not just about automating processes or enabling work from home; it is about leveraging the digital ecosystem to transform the culture of the organisation, in a phased manner, to become a truly
‘resilient organisation’. Leaders, therefore, must decide on a digital strategy that will enable them to create the culture of responsiveness, agility, empathy, and compassion in the #newnormal.
UST Global, a multinational provider of Digital technology and transformation, IT services and solutions, managed to get their workforce remotely in less than 24 hours, as they had a digital infrastructure in place.
They opted for an incident management solution that works in sync with their existing HCM Cloud and provides a robust and easy platform for tracking, managing, and preventing the spread of the disease across the employee base.
UST Global is looking at deploying new solutions in the areas of cybersecurity which will allow employees to work in a safe environment, even from their homes. UST Global is investing heavily to create an infrastructure to support remote working for a longer time.
Intelligence ecosystem: As the workplace keeps on evolving, more and more employee interactions will happen in the virtual world.
Navigating the nuances of such a hybrid workplace will require new paradigms of intelligence. From a talent perspective, businesses will now need people who have a high degree of both cognitive and emotional intelligence.
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. Artificial intelligence will need to be deployed wherever possible to ensure that systems are extracting relevant insights proactively to ensure that leaders are focusing on where it matters the most.
Lastly, cultural intelligence will need to be developed in leaders as more and more aspects of diversity will be visible in the new world of Flexi working. To augment human, emotional, and cultural intelligence under #newnormal, the leaders would need to put state-of-the-art AI in place.
Values-driven business: From embracing diversity to boycotting irresponsible products and companies, the #newnormal is bringing values to the forefront of decision-making. Organisations must operate from core fundamental values that are rooted in ecological sustainability and social inclusion.
A value-driven business will be the preferred choice for customers and employees alike. HR will need to be the torchbearer and a constant guide to business leaders on the following 3 dimensions of value-based business:
a. What is socially and ethically important
b. What is economically viable, and
c. What is environmentally conducive
Save the Children is a 100-year-old NGO whose primary mission is to reach out to marginalised children and their families in India. One key factor that goes unnoticed with such institutions is that they are evolving themselves unceasingly, without altering their basic values. Be it technology innovation; or innovation in their operations;
or how they manage their resources such as their people; or how they keep track of children they enrolled in schools after being saved from labour; or how they use data analytics to cull out commonalities and trends for them to develop new programmes.
Empathy: Making a positive difference to the lives of people is the fundamental deliverable of true leadership, and this has never been more difficult than in the current times. Faced with the roller-coaster emotional turbulence in both personal and professional lives, employees today, are sub-consciously seeking compassion and empathy more than ever.
Empathy from the organisation and leadership is highly required in these times since ‘the goal is to refocus individuals away from trauma and towards a better future for themselves and the business as well’ (Mckinsey).
According to a study conducted by TCS, “Attending to the physical and emotional well-being of the workforce has become essential to running a financially healthy business”.
Although seemingly dangerous, diving is a relatively safe sport when conducted sensibly. And as organisations ‘DIVE’ into the new normal, ensuring the right Digital Resilience, Intelligence ecosystem, Vales and Empathy will ensure that they come out safe and stronger in what will possibly go down in history as the ‘great reset’.
(The writer is Head of HCM Applications, Asia Pacific)