BW People in the interaction with Amol Gupta, The People Leader, India & Philippines, FIS pondering on the after-effects of the pandemic on the HR space and what drastic changes in the employee experience that happened during the crisis.
How do you perceive COVID-19 lockdown: a massive setback or time to reboot?
I personally perceive this lockdown as the time to reboot. The speed of changes happening in this unprecedented time is phenomenal. Going forward, the way of working and doing the business will surely be different from the pre-COVID-19 era. The pandemic is fundamentally shifting how we live and do business and will accelerate the Fourth Industrial Revolution – fueled by smart technologies such as AI, BOTs, cloud and mobile computing. Some organizations, including our own, have already had a headstart on this with a focus on digitization.
What dramatic shifts has COVID-19 pandemic caused in the HR landscape?
The changes for some organizations are massive in the way the HR used to function and the way it is functioning now. There has been a shift in every aspect. Since all employees are working remotely, policies, processes, and frameworks have to be built. It includes normalizing self-directed work, inculcating the new-normal etiquettes, keeping employees included as remote employees are at risk of not being as connected to colleagues, receiving developmental feedback, and setting clear team expectations. In addition, we are seeing an increased need for robust analytics and data to inform decision-making. At FIS we are well ahead of this with workforce planning and analytics a key part of our people strategy.
We are also planning a launch an in-house developed tool called EPIC for a section of our BPO colleagues to gauge productivity during these remote working times. HR is constantly innovating with new ways to proactively bring tools to support the mental and physical health and wellbeing of the employees. Employee engagement and communication are paramount now more than ever, so we have employee touchpoints to steer them through these trying times. Even hiring, joining and induction, or exit of the employees is being conducted remotely. We have a strong focus on the learning and development of our remote employees and have seen a huge spike in interest.
In the wake of COVID-19, three ways how the future of jobs will change?
There are big transformations coming to the future of work. First, I think, the jobs of tomorrow will entail an increase in the major chunk of employees working remotely and there will be many tools available for digitization, risk mitigation, and productivity measurement. Second, the concept of the workforce will continue to evolve with full-time employees, gigs and robots as the new blended workforce of the future. Third, major emphasis will be on employee experience and well-being. Businesses will continue to thrive, it may just look different than before.
What kind of professionals and skills will be in demand by organizations post COVID-19 lockdown?
Scenario planning is a key tactic in imagining a post-COVID-19-world. There are still a lot of unknowns. The workplaces are rapidly changing, for sure, and with it, the skills that companies will require. AI, Robotics, Bots, and Automation roles will be in demand as the speed of implementing processes will be much faster. There would be a need for Information Security roles so that data can be protected during remote working. Also, since a majority of employees are working-from-home, there would be a need for a renewed emphasis and support for employee experience as remote workers might need support for their mental wellness and mindfulness.
Companies will be on the lookout for employees who would be able to adapt to ever-evolving workplaces and have the ability to constantly update and upskill. Living in a VUCA world means that an ability to manage and indeed thrive in ever-changing environments will become critical. At FIS, we have changed as a competency embedded in our values and learning.
How has the COVD-19 lockdown changed the roots of the employee experience mandate? Mention the new key elements that were added across different industry verticals during this crisis?
With the current lockdown situation, many organizations have successfully implemented work-from-home. HR and business leaders have worked in tandem to meet the workforce requirements. But, for HR to uphold and maintain employee experience while working remotely is very different from the way it used to be when people were working from an office. Currently, the most important job function for HR is to take care of a workforce that is not only burdened by radically changing ways of working but also immense health scares. Now, engagement activities like employee touchpoints have to be generated frequently by managers. There is nothing much more important than letting your employees know that you will support them in any way possible.
After the COVID-19 pandemic, what will be the idea of the future workplace for companies? Mention 3 ways workplaces will change?
As mentioned earlier, the post-COVID-19-world will see a change in ways businesses are operated and the way we work.
- Work-from-home will likely be the new normal and the latest technologies will redefine the workplaces.
- The future workplace will have a more shared sense of purpose, a culture of collaboration, and a way of tapping an ecosystem built specially to drive business value.
- Also, new social distancing norms will be in place for employees who have to go to the office.
Mention the key trends that will drive the HR space in the coming years?
The HR industry was already going through a major overhaul with cutting-edge HR software, implementation of AI, and the growth of the gig economy. The current health crisis has fundamentally changed the way businesses operate, manage their teams, and interact with customers. It has completely shaken the HR landscape. Today, HR is identifying strategies to support employees working remotely and identifying alternative ways to work. HR needs to set policies to ensure employees’ health, mental well-being, and safety. We have to constantly skill and re-skill employees as per the business needs.
Organizations need to provide stakeholders with solutions that enable them to extract actionable insights to unlock the untapped potential of their people with an emphasis on analytics, gain transparency into business processes and strengthen their first line of defense.
Hence this pandemic can be an opportunity for HR to re-define the business for the future by contributing to business continuity planning with a blended workforce of the future. The productivity of employees needs to be monitored and we are planning to launch an in-house developed tool called EPIC which gauges productivity. In my opinion, the Coronavirus pandemic has become the accelerator for one of the biggest workplace transformations of our times.
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