Impacts of Digital Working on Leadership and Employee Experience

today2021.12.26. 102


Technological innovations completely revolutionize the way we work, and thanks to the pandemic this process has been accelerated incredibly. AI and automation may allow people to be more productive in their roles and make their work more efficient and profitable, but it is essential to be mindful about the use of technology and keep a healthy balance.

During The HR Congress World Summit, we aimed to unveil the answers to some of the most pressing question in regards to EX and digital working with the help of a distinguished panel. This panel included Mark Brinkler, Director of HCM Transformation from Oracle, Andrea Illes, Head of People Experience Europe from NOKIA, Liz Rider, Global Head of Leadership & Culture from Volvo Group, and Rickesh Patel, HCM Solution Engineer from Oracle.

Are We Asking Too Much of Leaders? 

Our leaders have the great responsibility of runningn businesses and delivering targets and numbers. Now, in addition, we are asking them to be humanistic along with a number of other things. But then, how do we continue to support them? At this point in time, it is hard being a leader – your staff is working remotely, you have to support the team, deliver, communicate, and take care of employees’ well-being.

At Nokia they consider differentiating and separating “people” leaders from technical leaders. Human skills are extremely important in leading a team; this ensures colleagues are connected and are sticking to the company, especially in the current set up of hybrid work. Without the right people skills it is practically impossible to lead and manage, especially since it has never been easy to switch jobs, so the skills we request right from the beginning have become even more crucial. People need interaction and connection.

Liz agreed with Andrea’s approach and mentioned that she definitely sees the benefits of a more humanistic people leader. Typically those who get promoted who are excellent performers in their technical field, but it should also be about bringing out the best in people and having those humanistic skills at the same time. Maybe not everybody has those skills or wants to be a people leader. Sometimes people are forced into that position when it may not be right for them.

How Have You Used Technology to Support You Through the Last 18-24 Months? 

Andrea started with the benefits, as she has seen a lot of progress in automation during the lockdown when they focused on automating many of the processes and making them more efficient.

She also mentioned how the platforms for virtual learning are in high demand now as companies need to to deliver onboarding and trainings virtually.

Liz also mentioned their digital investment and how they started to use online tools and apps to support leadership development.

Mark spoke about his experience seeing many organizations who haven’t had that digital investment over time and have really struggled to pivot quickly to a different way of working. They had to accelerate the whole digital transformation journey, and that journey is substantial. Then he mentioned how the expectations of the employees are much higher now, particularly in the new generations.

Liz then added that she thinks those of her generation use the younger generation as an excuse. Yes, they want more feedback and want things now, but all generations actually want those same things.

Rickesh agreed with Liz and then he shared his experience talking to different companies. Speaking with them highlighted the importance of having technology that allows people to do things quickly, easily, and efficiently.

Over the last few years, in our personal lives we are used to using our smartphones to check our banking and arrange our life, and now we expect that from work too. That’s where the younger generation comes in. Because those people are growing up with that now, the expectation is that it should be that way when people are in the office.
Rickesh also mentioned the advantage of digital assistants that are able to support people faster. It is actually not taking away from those human experiences – it is augmenting it and improving it.

How Do We Measure Employee Experience?

Andrea stated that the concept of employee experience has many aspects. To measure it somehow, her company is running post service regularly on different topics to understand how people are coping, what their preferences are, and what they would like the leadership to do more or do less of, along with having more open feedback and understanding where they are on their journey. It is not only about measuring it but thinking proactively about what might be important.

Liz mentioned the usefulness of post surveys and regularly listening to what people are saying, what they are thinking, and where they are at the moment. These are complex and not all in one place, so you have to gather it and pull it all together.

Andrea then spoke about the importance of collecting, reviewing, and understanding people analytics well.

Liz added how it is all about making sense of the data and basically using it to tell a story.

According to Rickesh, the key is combining analytics along with other data around the business to understand the employee experience better. Also it is important to capture this with short surveys about how people feel during different points throughout the year and when there are different events in the company. This can be combined with other data to see what other things impact employees positively or negatively and determine how can we capture that.

Employee experience is certainly a complex area, so we can start by measuring it with layered conversations and having professionals get into it in a bit more detail to make sure they get the right conclusions.

There were many more valuable insights in the discussion, so watch the video below:

Written by: Mihaly Nagy

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