Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to present with one of our valued customers – The Hershey Company (yup, the chocolate guru) – at ASUG 2015, the annual conference for the Americas SAP User Group. It is a huge event, coupled with sister conference SAPPHIRE NOW, and draws in around 20,000 people. There are a number of keynotes, mini forums, and events like the one we led where companies share stories of how they solved their business challenges. You'd think attending an event of this size it would be easy to feel overwhelmed, but what really impressed me was how connected and consistent the messages were. I heard messages from the CEO of SAP talking about the need for both customer and employee engagement using words like "empathy" and "community." I think this is indicative of what's happening in the world of work at the moment. It is evolving; it's becoming more human.
Myriad of Pressures
So, how is the world of work changing? There are many pressures happening in our world today that affect the workforce. Deloitte published research late last year about trends in this space (Bersin by Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2014).
The top 3 most urgent trends for organizations are:
1. The need for leadership development at all levels.
2. The need to attract new talent and engage existing talent.
3. The need for technology that makes # 1 and #2 easy!
Deloitte also found that employers were largely not ready to meet these needs.
Coupled with these pressures, we find that employee expectations are also changing - consumer technology continues to evolve at a rapid rate and workforce expectations evolve along with it. Yet most organizations are not keeping up with the rate of change. Currently, less than half of employees say their company provides ample training on the technology they need, and less than one-third say their company makes the latest technology available to them (Workforce 2020).
At all levels of the organization, workers expect more flexibility and empowerment, leadership and career development, open communications, and feedback and collaborative ways of working. They expect all this coupled with simplicity; it should be easy.
Likewise, the speed at which ideas traverse the public internet is phenomenal, yet few organizations have been able to replicate the same kind of knowledge sharing and transfer within their organizations. Are your workers empowered with the knowledge they need to:
• Remain competitive?
• Easily connect with information, peers, and experts?
• Be flexible and work from anywhere?
• Convert knowledge into information where possible?
• Be brand evangelists and stay in-the-loop with your corporate strategy?
Consider the Big Picture
Having worked in the world of technology-enabled collaboration for nearly 10 years, I have long touted the message that successful collaboration centers on people. At Sitrion we are very focused on how we can aid our customers in preparing to meet the future of work. Our suite of products enable our customers to do just that by connecting your workforce with the experts, information, and business processes they need to be effective in their work day. If you want to attract and retain top talent then you cannot afford to be left behind.
But remember the technology is just an enabler. If you focus only on the tools and not on the humans using them, then you will not reap the full business value of these new ways of working. So as you evaluate your next steps in addressing this changing world of work, make sure that you are also looking at the holistic picture of change. That includes the technology, the organizational, and the people change. This holistic view of change is not your typical IT program of change management. It's both broader and deeper than that; it's about evolving the way we work, not just adopting new technology. So find a partner who can guide you to success in embracing the future of work.