Wondering whether you should be investing in people or technology in today's pandemic-stricken business environment? Read more to see why our straightforward answer is 'yes', and how the current digital transformation can be the catalyst to change your culture for the better.
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the nature of work and thrust organizations onto a path of accelerated change. Among many challenges, the pandemic has highlighted a need for technology which can support rapidly evolving workplace demands. Digital changes that organizations shelved or planned for later need to happen now if they're to survive and get ahead.
Workplaces need to keep up
People need the ability to do most, if not all their work remotely without losing the productivity and collaboration of their office environment. They must be able to maintain the same levels of performance management, team building and mentoring while mitigating growing cyber security and privacy threats.
The workplace itself has many different forms — from laboratories, to call centres, prisons, military bases, border crossings, parks, front counter services, on-the-road inspections, and many more. And most, if not all, are seeing a shift in the way work gets done. This evolution is sparking the creation of a digital workforce, enabled by a variety of automated solutions to drive productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness in the virtual workplace.
It's also important to avoid pitfalls that could come with an accelerated pace of change. The adoption of new technology should be done right, with strategic accompanying changes to people and processes.
Remote working makes culture more critical
Employers that embrace a digital workforce will realize the talent pool is much larger now, since people can live and work from anywhere in the country. But technology alone won't be enough to manage the change — it's people who must get things done. Company culture will face the ultimate test as people work remotely towards company goals.
Culture drives decision making, behaviours, and processes. It also determines employee loyalty and engagement. A crisis is the time to double down on how you invest in your people. People will long remember how leaders dealt with the pandemic; whether you conveyed sincere concern, or if it was all about the numbers. Culture can help move your company forward in both the short and the long run.
What is culture?
The right culture usually arises when people's behaviours dovetail with the company's values and goals. This can help organizations see significant benefits such as:
- Greater unified movement towards goals
- More engaged and motivated people
- Greater accountability (which leads to better decision making)
- Increased trust and loyalty within the company (which also spills over to customers)
- Better talent and employee retention
Getting it right
Aligning your company's culture and goals is a strategic activity which should be considered in conjunction with other process and technology changes. There's no one-size-fits-all solution for culture change, and your company's specific situation and barriers are key considerations in designing the right plan for you. Integrate both quantitative and qualitative measures into a culture change plan, and ensure these also align with your goals and desired outcomes. Be sure to address all key aspects of culture — including gaps, alignment of leaders, and messaging.
The time is now for companies to adapt and innovate. The pandemic has significantly accelerated the need for digital transformation, but with that comes the opportunity to create lasting change and build a solid foundation for the future. The right culture can work alongside the right technology and processes to remove performance impediments and help companies get ahead during a complex time.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.