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Digital Disruptions Redefining Markets and Strategies


By Anita Bodnar*

Entitled, self-absorbed and lack of patience. Familiar characteristics in office? Yes, these are supposedly millennials’ as described by Simon Sinek from his interview that had gone viral earlier this year. A “Generation of Weakness”, his video captions. Business Insider even wrote a report claiming millennials were responsible for “killing industries” such as Napkin, cereal and golf, due to their preferences. But let’s be fair because not all millennials share the same characteristics as above. In fact, they are also hard-working, passionate, risk-taking and tech-savvy with a love of recognition and a work-life balance. So why am I saying all this first? This is because millennials now occupy the largest share of the global workforce. This is a generation of employees who demand a different kind of workplace experience which organisations had not much time to prepare and adapt to.

For instance - Deloitte’s “The Millennial Majority is Transforming Your Culture” report indicates that flexible working conditions and work/life integration is the number one way millennials expect organizations to change if they wish to improve retention.

As organizations shift to cater to the millennial generation, especially with technological and digital advances, several significant business innovations are created. Examples include various HR technology in areas such as employee feedback, automated performance management, employee on-boarding and gamification (use of game mechanics to motivate positive behaviours). By using these new technologies, organisations create an integrated and inclusive workplace experience that caters to the current workforce as well as the generation shift. The new challenge now is managing digital disruption in your workplace.

Many of the current disruptions and changes in digital and business innovation relies on tapping into organizational data. The successful digital and business disrupting organizations are those that can effectively and strategically channel data that is already available to harness employee skills, improve performance and provide a consumerized employee experience.

This 'consumerized' employee experience relies on businesses that value their customers, maintain a relationship with them and expect them to remain loyal by treating them a certain preferential way. This same preferential treatment should be extended to employees first, as described in Richard Branson’s famous quote, that “employees should come first. If you take care of them, they will take care of the clients”.

Keep Up with the Changes

Many of the changes and disruptions that will occur over the next few years, especially in people and management, cannot be said to have been unanticipated. The signs are obvious. Companies don’t even need to read between the lines.

An example of utilising digital innovation and workplace data to cater to the multi-generation workforce in the future as well as improving the employee experience, is to deploy a strategic approach in using the data from the technologies to make impactful decisions.

Currently, employee data in organisations are from various sources, including entry and exit interviews, annual reviews, surveys, and HRIS systems.

However, many organizations do not use the information gathered for decision-making, as the quality of the data cannot be verified. Are employees being honest in that survey when they know that their careers may be at risk? Are enough employees taking the surveys to be worth a usable sample of your organization’s population?

Both challenges are some of the factors that we considered at SelfDrvn Enterprise to develop a system that allows employees to answer surveys and give feedback anonymously. The system utilizes existing and upcoming technologies and digital processes—such as game mechanics (instant feedback, recognition with points and badges, and is fun)—to help minimise survey fatigue.

Anonymous surveys offer organizations the opportunity for increased awareness and improved performance, while gamification focuses on triggering motivation and behavioural change in people. Combined, anonymous data gathering and gamification can help organisations design a fun and effective employee workplace experience.

It is important to point out that the disruptions that are already occurring now are not exactly breaking news. Josh Bersin, of Deloitte, points out that “evolution of HR technology has mirrored the evolution of management and HR philosophies.”

Let’s break this down. Traditional HR approaches began to rise in the 1980s, followed by the technology-influenced HR applications in the 1990s. By the end of the 2000s—following the global recession—competition for talent increased, and companies turned to on-demand software, such as Software as a Service (SaaS).

Current trends have moved away from creating HR systems to manage processes to a more fundamental system of improving the entire employee experience. The disruption that occurs in the technology industry is brought about by employees, the same employees that companies around the world are competing to attract.

The practical approach to handling the impact of this disruption is to create a consumerized experience that employees would say positive things about, strive to go the extra mile for and stay loyal to for a longer duration.

While trends will continue to change, recognizing disruption currently is to understand that employees are the ones who set the pace for organizations. To grow your organization, you must grow your employees. The employees are the disruptors; to create a positive impact, consider providing a nurturing environment and experience where they can thrive.


Anita Bodnar

* Anita Bodnar is Writer at Selfdrvn Enterprise

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