Since the health crisis, digital transformation in companies has accelerated. They are increasingly relying on new technologies, also in HR processes.
Digital transformation was already a big talking point for businesses prior to 2020, but that momentum accelerated as the pandemic hit. Almost overnight, companies not only needed to adopt the right technology to keep their business running smoothly, but within a matter of months they were quickly relying on software services to organize remote work for teams.
This has contributed to a time of unprecedented change, not least in the expectations of workers who are looking for radical flexibility and employers who must now meet them. Employees today want jobs that fit their lives (rather than a life that fits their job), and many are willing to work harder to get it.
For some, however, nothing is less natural than fully embracing the change in mindset, culture, and process required to not be left behind. Others have found that switching to remote work was handy in an emergency, but their instinct now drives them to return to the world of before as soon as possible. This context creates a dichotomy in which employees vote simply by their actions.
How can employers balance the realities of a rapidly changing work culture with employee expectations? Here are some important priorities:
Create a climate of trust
For companies struggling to change work culture in general, and remote work in particular, the issues often revolve around trust. Some executives invoke accountability or performance to limit or discourage remote work. They prefer a traditional environment where physical proximity allows them to maintain complete control.
In contrast, digital-first organizations set the standard for progressive employment. In 2020, many well-known brands embarked on a long-term ‘new normal’, fully aware of the need to instill trust in processes that were then still nascent.
Trust alone will not move a telecommuting company forward. Only building the right structure allows teams to fully align with their goals. This requires documentation that sets out roles, responsibilities, and goals, as well as an accountability structure that needs to be clearly communicated. These points increase intentionality. Managers and employees stay in sync and the climate of trust leads to exceptional results.
Invest in empathy
The most important success factor for modern leaders is increasingly empathy. It’s a quality exemplified by people who show the determination and patience to listen and understand the vulnerabilities others experience and create a positive emotional connection with them.
Although empathy is often innate, it can also be learned. Any organization concerned with effective recruitment and retention needs to invest in this, as a lack of empathy can have devastating professional and personal consequences. Conversely, open and genuine empathy can transform job satisfaction and the quality of the employer-employee relationship.
Adopt flexible technologies
In a remote, digital and connected world, it is the introduction of efficient technologies that unites. Their use is one of the positive trends that has emerged in the workplace lately as they help to bridge gaps in communication and collaboration. Going forward, companies must continue their efforts to make remote teams thrive.
Many of us have grown weary of Zoom and seen how video communication etiquette pushes people to project an “appropriate” image. Rather, companies must adapt the technology to individual preferences and needs. Flexible working benefits from a flexible approach to choosing digital technologies.
Improve diversity, equality and inclusion
While organizations around the world are taking steps to address the shortcomings of diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) in society and in the workplace, many others pay only token attention. These questions are very nuanced, but those who see DEI as an opportunity and an obligation will reap the undeniable benefits of diversity in the workplace.
Take the democratization of opportunity: International companies seek talent where they are and provide jobs for people wherever they live. Here, too, technology plays a catalytic role. Employers are better positioned than ever to find, hire, onboard, and grow diverse remote teams with a proven digital infrastructure built for remote work.
At a time when the shortage of skilled workers is a serious obstacle to growth, the era of international team development begins. However, remember that this philosophy should become second nature for companies. If you’re content with creating a dedicated page on your website or including the DEI in a section of your annual report, it’s time to shift gears.