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Why Employee Experience Will Drive Future Of Work

To compete and succeed in this global world, Indian organizations must turn their attention to the unfolding reality of future workplaces and embrace technology that will help make the work experience comfortable and enjoyable for employees and deliver results for the business

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The modern workplace, as we know it, is in the throes of unprecedented change. Globalization, heightened competition, accelerating technological change and growing regulatory requirements are driving an unparalleled need for agility and speed across the organizational value chain… and this, in turn, has led to a transformation in the way we work.

Dive in a little deeper and organizations are experiencing the impact of changes in employee attitudes and expectations.  Technology is disrupting age-old ideas and constructs about the workplace, and about the way work should be done. Among the new challenges (and opportunities) that organizations are facing today is the role digitalization has played in empowering employees – in much the same way that it has done for consumers.  

Companies need to respond by opening their eyes to the new opportunities that have arisen to differentiate themselves to both prospective and current talent, and thus, co-create the workplace of the future.

‘Happy’ employees ensuring a ‘happy’ workforce is the goal of most organisations – a happy workforce more often than not means an engaged, productive workplace. For many, this would mean reviewing and cutting down mundane tasks, helping unleash employee creativity and allowing them to focus on more strategic and productive tasks.  According to a recent ‘State of Work’ study, employees spend around 16 hours a week on manual administration tasks – that’s two working days wasted on tasks that can largely be automated. The enabler to reduce much of this ‘mundane’: Technology.  Some might term it disruptive technologies that can help eliminate tedious and repetitive tasks, thereby strengthening an employee’s performance and improving job satisfaction.   

Enterprises can also look at how technology can help build the right transactions and interactions at every stage of the employee journey – from onboarding to major professional milestones to departures. It becomes essential to create structured formats that will make the employee experience in the organization seamless and consistent. While there are plenty of tech solutions in the HR space, what is critical is a technology that delivers greater ease of work – for instance, employee apps that are easily customizable across departments, locations and roles.  

Human-machine collaborative workplaces Emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), machine learnings and artificial intelligence (AI) will define the workplace of the future. Smart devices, powered by cloud computing and IoT, are already enabling people to connect with others within the organization and across the world, and complete most tasks virtually. Co-working or remote working, supplemented with emerging technologies, is empowering individuals with ‘on-the-go’ and remote accessibility, bringing about a shift in the way tasks are performed and work is done.

In the workplace of the future, we will see more of intelligent automation, which has the potential to free up skilled employees for high-value work — boosting productivity, innovation and revenue growth. Successful adoption will depend upon how best organizations are able to bring together humans and machines to create synergistic blended teams.  

New capabilities Digitalization and automation implies that the workplace of the future will see extensive redesign of employee roles. The 'Future of Jobs in India' study, commissioned jointly by FICCI and NASSCOM with EY, states that 9% of India's 600 million estimated workforce would be deployed in new jobs that do not exist today, while 37% would be in jobs that have radically changed skill sets. This implies that individuals will need to constantly relearn and upskill themselves to survive and thrive. Simplicity and ease of use will need to be built into workplace systems for them to be effective and powerful.

Digitalization will also create new job profiles that never existed before. Data science is one example of a new area where jobs and roles are emerging. With an enormous amount of data being generated, organizations will need data managers to make sense of the numbers coming in from various sources to gain better business insights. Cloud architects, digital marketers, AI research scientists, data security experts are among the job roles that we will see more of.   

Communication at work Organizations are now looking beyond the ecosystem of emails, phone, chats and shared sites to foster easier communication and collaboration. Email was a disruptor technology some decades ago, replacing older tech such as facsimiles. Today they are a big productivity drain as they require constant follow up and are barely suited for the seamless and real time demands of modern workplaces. New communications platforms such as [email protected] allow employees to break down siloes, and interact not just cross-functionally, but across time-zones, borders, languages and cultures.

Businesses are also adapting to a changing phase of internal communications. Enterprise communication platforms are one such example with immense potential. Enterprise messaging applications, when further integrated with software tools, are known to help improve employee productivity. According to research by IDC, the Indian market is set to see collaborative applications as a fastest growing software segment with a CAGR of 47.8 percent for the period 2017-2022.  These emerging technologies will take up routine tasks, freeing employees to focus on the creative and meaningful aspects that drew them to their chosen areas of work.  

To compete and succeed in this global world, Indian organizations must turn their attention to the unfolding reality of future workplaces and embrace technology that will help make the work experience comfortable and enjoyable for employees and deliver results for the business.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Edgar Dias

The author is Managing Director, ServiceNow India

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