Sunday, 17 July 2016 21:54

Succeeding in the ‘digital transformation’ era


Every tech company is talking "digital transformation" these days, promising higher engagement and productivity. Here’s what Workday has to say. 

Workday bills itself as a "leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for human resources and finance", delivering "human capital management, financial management, and analytics applications designed for the world's largest organisations". 

Indeed, Workday boasts that "hundreds of companies, ranging from medium-sized businesses to Fortune 50 enterprises, have selected Workday" to transform their digital transformation needs. 

With digital transformation the buzzwords of 2016, it should come as no surprise to see Workday engaging a company such as IDC to prepare a detailed eight-page white paper on the subject entitled: “Focusing on the Employee Segment of One for Higher Engagement and Productivity,” published in June 2016. 

You can download a free copy of this whitepaper after free registration at the link above (or here.) 

Rob Wells, the company’s managing director for A/NZ has provided a summary of the white paper’s key points.  

Wells starts off by noting the the Workday-Sponsored IDC whitepaper "involved more than 1400 employers and employees in a total of 11 countries in the Asia Pacific region", and that it "highlights the fact that improving employees' productivity and profitability has become the top driver for the digital transformation (DX) initiatives which organisations are looking to deploy in the region".

Well notes that "employees are at the centre of most digital transformation initiatives across Asia-Pacific".

However, the research "shows that employers still don’t fully understand what motivates what are increasingly their most important assets". 

The example given is that "although the majority of Asia-Pacific workers are satisfied with their jobs, a full 55% of them are likely to change companies if a better opportunity presents itself. So, while satisfied, it seems that Asia-Pacific employees aren’t fully engaged – and highly engaged employees are vital to digital transformation".

The research also notes that "workplace satisfaction does not necessarily translate into higher engagement or loyalty, unless organisations get serious about addressing their employee needs, and have the right processes, tools and metrics that help in cementing what is a critical level of relationship".

So, what does Wells say companies need to do?

We are told that they need to "put an increased focus on gaining a holistic view of all employees' data from training to rewards, from retention to metrics. Those metrics should be in tune with the evolving nature of the workplace, particularly as digital technologies are changing the way businesses operate, interact and grow".

In terms of what made Australians happy and engaged as employees, Wells said "the number 1 criterion was 'enjoying work'. Seven other countries nominated 'better pay' as the top factor."

As for Australia, it "rated in the top three countries in terms of workplace flexibility and engagement at work, flexibility rating 12% and engagement 42%".

More Australian stats? Sure. 

We’re told that "Australian employees also scored in the top three nations in the Asia Pacific region in their commitment to their organisations’ culture, values and goals; 60% in India, 54% in Philippines and 50% in Australia". 

However, "higher satisfaction levels proved not necessarily helpful in driving higher productivity levels or retaining the best employees".

More than half of the respondents, which we’re told is 55%, admitted they were “very or somewhat likely” to change jobs. Of all the Asia Pacific countries, Australian employees — at 18%  recorded the lowest likelihood to do so.

Then there’s the finding that "Australian companies score well against progressive Asia Pacific rivals in applying new technology in the shift away from traditional HR thinking. Yet, they still fall short of the gold standard in embracing the powerful value of employee engagement in the workplace".

So, while Wells says it is "crystal clear that an engaged employee is a company’s most important asset, too many organisations fail to fully liberate that powerful resource by not implementing a robust end-to-end integrated HR/talent management platform. Such a platform connected to front- and- back-end systems and aligned to the company’s business needs will undoubtedly enable individual employees to achieve the ‘power of one’."

Wells says "the transformation by organisations from legacy HR thinking to embracing employee experience thinking is critical".

Indeed, there are "four 'landmark' trends that contribute to Australia’s changing employment landscape":

1. the intense global competition for talent; 
2. the invasiveness of digital technology that blurs the lines between work and personal life; 
3. the multi-generational environment co-existing in the workplace; and
4. the growing use of a contract, temporary or contingent workforce.

While advocating that organisaations invest in a robust HR and talent management technology platform that provides comprehensive employees' views, and helps the organisation better manage their most critical asset, Wells says "the IDC white paper acknowledges that embracing the DX era will not transform a business’ fortunes overnight. Such an initiative remains an important step in the right direction on the journey".

Finally, we live in a world where digital technology is now everywhere. 

Wells states that "it is disrupting business models and radically changing the workplace and the way work is done". 

"Technology is altering the way companies design, manufacture, and deliver almost every product and service. This is impacting the way companies, large and small, have to come to terms with so many aspects of employee engagement: performance management, collaboration, on-boarding, talent retention and promotion." 

Wells concludes by stating that "traditional processes, tools and strategies that were used in the past are not well suited for the 21st century employment marketplace".

After free registration, the detailed eight-page report and separate and nicely detailed infographic can be downloaded here.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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