In order to digitize and automate services, companies need to improve their employees' experience and effectiveness. Dealing with the consequences of COVID-19 accelerates the need for digital transformation, but any transformation must pay attention to the human element as part of the overall change.
Consider these five focus areas:
- Talent– remain competitive when external sourcing is limited and internal sourcing is not fluid enough yet.
- Insights – overcome barriers of incomplete, out-of-date and unstructured information about employees, their skills and preferences.
- Collaboration – stay close, transparent, and empathetic while building an collaborative, distributed work culture.
- Enablement – allow talent to self-service their needs and create networking and learning tools enhanced with machine learning.
- Management – give guidance and visible recognition to employees when work is more fluid and teams are more distributed.
How to prepare your talent for a strong recovery
Hiring across most industries has dropped, with open positions falling worldwide—64 percent in New Zealand, 39 percent in the U.S. and 22 percent in Singapore, according to job-search website Indeed. Many companies have excess capacity and employees face layoffs or fewer working hours. After mitigating the immediate crisis, now is the time to create a new purpose for underutilized resources. You might also need to invest in new capabilities.
- Invest in cross-functional skill development: At the height of Germany's shut down, idle McDonald's staff temporarily shifted to busy Aldi supermarkets. Beyond these short-term mitigation measures, retaining well-trained talent stays paramount for your success. Offer new challenges to the right people to increase their retention. Support them in developing new skills, across disciplines, with a variety of challenges. Prepare them so they can take the next step, in a new role or team. Rebuilding your business will require talent that can think broadly.
- Offer stretch assignments that address your post-crisis challenges: A marketplace of meaty problems from all departments lets your employees find a new starting point and purpose. Start with a simple listing website and rely on the employees to manually volunteer. Then gradually use more data to suggest and match supply with interest.
Insights: How to understand employees and act during volatile times
Many organizations know surprisingly little about their employees. Talent often doesn't understand how to tell their company about their needs and interests.
Offer every employee an easy and effortless way to import skill and qualification data, share aspirations and motivations. Let them enrich and update their profiles using third-party data sources and career networks (e.g. using LinkedIn's API) and in-house collaboration ware (e.g. MS Teams).
Rather than running lengthy, annual engagement surveys, companies should collect unfiltered, regular and small batches of feedback. You can use more comprehensive engagement software like Glint or small, focused services like Friday Pulse.
Well-maintained profiles and anonymized large-scale data, procured with our ‘Knowledge as a Service’ will allow you to plan and manage your workforce better. You will be able to match employees with specific roles, speed up internal placements and maintain an accurate, transparent career framework.
Using digital marketing-like practices will enable your various departments to anticipate employees' development, support their next steps to provide a superior employee experience.