When we approached 2021, there was tremendous hope the world would see some semblance of the way things were during pre-pandemic times. However, as we launch into 2022, HR leaders still face unique challenges, especially for those who embraced a people-first and tech-led approach.
Digital transformation has spurred a lot of investment over the last few years and organisations are now questioning whether they are actually getting what they paid for. The result has been a lot of lightbulb moments, where rather than figuring out why employees are leaving, organisations will review why the expensive digital transformation projects did not produce the expected results. The good news is the identified problem can be fixed. Digitally transformed enterprises are now seeking to marry the digital with the human. Using analytics and data, organisations will now move on to monitor how employees are utilising the technology platforms provided to them.
Another challenge is the continued acceleration of digital adoption – the urgency of upscaling and digitizing functions such as internal communications, HR processes, and IT systems to ensure business continuity, has taxed employees who have had to constantly pivot to 'new and improved' versions of applications or digital tools.
Seamless remote work experience
Across Asia-Pacific, technology is widely regarded as the enabler to support hybrid work. But despite the growing appetite for digital adoption, the tools that organisations rushed to deploy have frequently become a barrier to employees in their daily work. Today, employees expect the technology they use at work to be simple to use and efficient.
As with most technology, commonality in design and purpose is important to ensure its seamless use. As user-centricity becomes the standard for new technology success, most people will not find the same user-centric design when they return to the workplace. Research shows that half of employees would quit over poor workplace technology, meaning 2022 will be the last chance for many organisations to get their user experience right and prevent an employee exodus.
As such, companies must provide the proper tools and a seamless remote work experience. According to a Gartner survey, 48% of employees will likely work remotely at least part of the time after the pandemic underscoring the need to collaborate digitally. How then do organisations take on this challenge in 2022?
Leaders today understand that the bigger the company technology stack, the harder it is to go beyond the basics in terms of analysing and improving employees’ user experience. If organisations can view across the entire ecosystem, they can analyse which applications are popular, which are ineffective, and which ones employees avoid altogether; and exactly why that is. Does the onboarding process even explain how the application works? Are there easy ways for users to get help when they struggle? And have staff actually completed tutorials? Without this overarching view, organisations will struggle to match, let alone exceed, employees’ IT experience expectations.
The break-neck speed at which new technology is being introduced and implemented across companies has led organisations to realise the importance of gaining a deeper understanding of technology operating models and how these will evolve in coming years. A technology-centric IT operating model primarily focuses on the technical aspects such as defining IT needs, identifying the business processes involved, and the operating model itself.
Employee-centric IT model
An employee-centric IT operating model places emphasis on employees and employee experience management. This first step to the people-first approach abandons the old command and control structure of leadership in favour of empathic leadership, which is increasingly being recognised as a trait that can translate into real value for organisations, their workforce, and to an extent, even the bottom line. Not only does empathy improve team morale and cohesion, it also boosts crucial employee metrics such as productivity and retention.
In 2022, empathic leadership will go beyond allowing open discussion of current events during meetings or corporate wellbeing programmes. Empathetic leaders are evolving to ensure employees have the tools they need, the rest they require, and the necessary support to accomplish their tasks. To achieve this, leaders must emphasise the importance of digital adoption success within their organisations.
WalkMe partnered with one of the world’s leading market research firms IDC, to publish a guide outlining the considerations HR leaders need to take into account when developing a digital adoption platform (DAP) strategy. The tech-led approach combines the results of empathic leadership and establishes a people-first culture around which the DAP success is built.
To summarise the findings, DAP success relies on leaders collecting as much information as possible to evaluate their current situation so data-driven decisions can be made. Questions such as "Which applications are the best targets for DAP solutions?", "Do the biggest challenges come from employee usage, customer usage, or both?" and "What target outcomes will best drive departmental or organisational goals for digital transformation?"should be asked. With a complete overview of the current circumstances, organisations can then define impactful and measurable objectives.
In addition, enabling a DAP team instils the people-first approach required to make sense of technology by designating specific roles to individuals within an organisation.
The people-first approach allows leaders to provide the proper tools and a conducive environment to work in. This is the hallmark of emphatic leadership which is key to a successful DAP strategy for hybrid workplaces. It is imperative for organizations to understand that matching a people-first approach to tech-led business initiatives requires a delicate balance of leveraging new trends within the hybrid workplace in order to deliver effective roll-out of new initiatives to employees.