We’re on the cusp of digital transformation. With everything around us becoming more integrated, SMEs and enterprises around the world are also increasingly finding the need to recreate traditional workplaces.
Think back to the 1950s when offices were segregated into tiny cubicles, and employees kept mostly to themselves, only to meet their colleagues during important meetings.
The workforce of the future is more connected, with walls being torn down to give way to more interaction and sharing of ideas.
In building the workforce of the future, companies, however, must understand that technology purchases are not the answer alone. More importantly, it’s about opening up the path for employees to engage in long-term learning and development opportunities so they can drive transformation in their own little ways.
Remember: once employees have adopted the right digital mindset, then it’s easier to move people to action and encourage them to work towards a common direction.
Here are the key steps HR must focus on to build a digital-ready workforce:
1. Foster a culture of feedback in your workplace.
Mentoring and consistent feedback will always have a fundamental place in how a company can build inclusivity within an SME. By immersing your employees in a feedback culture, they too will remain committed to lifetime learning. And this is especially important in our age where people have sometimes used the self-learning card to tamp down other people’s perspectives and ignore fruitful exchange of ideas.
Remember: a company’s digital transformation needs to have people who know how to listen to one other, recognise their mistakes, and bring their own learnings to the table.
2. Stop thinking in terms of hierarchy and encourage “reverse mentoring.”
Diversity is the bedrock of innovation. For companies to successfully innovate, they must see diversity first as an organisational asset. One way companies can encourage this in the workplace is through reverse mentoring where senior leaders can learn specific digital skills from their younger counterparts. This brings employee generations together, and is key to closing knowledge gap between them.
The takeaway is, when management thinks in terms of growth rather than hierarchies, then it’s easy to develop cross-generational intelligence in the workplace, which can keep a company’s firm footing in the business environment.
As organisations get ready for a digital workforce, we must not forget that digital transformation is first a people-centred approach.
3. Create an employee-focused performance evaluation.
In our digital age, companies must re-evaluate their performance standards to accommodate the changing needs of their employees. They can no longer stick to their old models that fail to track the nuances of an employee lifecycle. To correct this, companies must keep their performance evaluation employee-focused. This means engendering a working environment where collaboration and dialogue are prized over performance ratings. When this is put in place, employees are motivated to achieve authentic growth for themselves and that is based on a future-focused goal.
Why people matter in digital transformation
As organisations get ready for a digital workforce, we must not forget that it is first a people-centred approach. Yes, we can go heavy with technology purchases, but without the right people to run and manage them, then our efforts become entirely useless.
The long and short of it is: We need to build a culture where growth and collaboration are encouraged, and where employees are seen as individuals with future-focused aspirations, rather than mechanical needs.
And then that’s when we can truly say we’re ready for the future.
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