Digital Enablement in Employee Engagement

  • postauthorAshutosh Anshu
  • postdateMay 16, 2024
  • postreadtime5 min read
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Building an Impactful Hybrid Workplace Culture

The last decade was characterised by a steadfast adherence to traditional work paradigms – full-time employees stationed in office cubicles, adhering to the familiar rhythm of 8-hour shifts. However, the emergence of COVID-19 in 2020 precipitated a seismic transformation in workspace dynamics, swiftly ushering in a new era where home became the primary locus of work.

As the world gradually recuperated from the pandemic’s effects, workspaces underwent yet another evolution, transitioning from makeshift home offices back to traditional office settings. However, this shift didn’t signify a complete return to the pre-pandemic status quo; instead, it marked the emergence of a hybrid work culture, where elements of remote work blended with in-office collaboration.

While working from the office may have been the norm for Generation X, the evolving work culture should now be shaped around the preferences of the future workforce, namely millennials and Gen Zs. Advancements in communication technology have made the hybrid work culture not only more convenient but also more productive and effective, for some organisations based on their nature of business. This shift reflects a broader acknowledgement of the diverse needs and preferences of employees in the modern workplace landscape.

Also, Read: 10 Best Employee Wellness Programs

building impactful hybrid workplace culture

Incorporating innovative collaboration methods into the workplace and fostering thought leadership is paramount in embracing the technological revolution. The exponential growth of digital capabilities and widespread internet connectivity is fundamentally altering the dynamics of collaboration between enterprises and their employees.

Embracing these changes not only enhances productivity and efficiency but also positions organisations at the forefront of innovation in an increasingly interconnected world.

Regardless of whether it’s a traditional or hybrid model, every work culture is fundamentally cantered around people. It’s imperative that the facilities, benefits, and security provided for employees – whether they work in the office or remotely – are equitable.

Technology serves as the thread that can effectively engage this hybrid workforce and foster a truly sustainable work culture that prioritises the well-being and productivity of all employees, regardless of their location or mode of work.

Digitisation

How is it Impacting Employee Engagement?

The idea of employee engagement has always been at the forefront of a successful business. As modern organisations adapt hybrid workspaces, they must also redefine how they empower and engage their employees in this new workplace culture.

  • Feedback from employees is golden in setting up any workspace. We must leverage technology to get insights and analyse employees’ positioning in a hybrid workspace. For instance, we have Hitachi Insights, an employee engagement platform we made even before COVID hit. It is one of the largest employee engagement platforms in the world.
  • Surveys are the voice of employees, in a way, and we have always believed in result-oriented management. We conduct employee engagement surveys for continuous feedback on how they are aligning their goals with the change. Surveys on digital platforms work only when there’s a plan of action. Otherwise, it’s just a piece of online sheet with information. Heads of each department should study and take steps to improve the engagement score. At Hitachi, the action plan is analysed deeply to ensure an upward trajectory in the engagement score.
  • Digital engagement activities are crucial in a hybrid culture to create a unified force that encourages collaboration and knowledge sharing. Online activities such as yoga classes help them bond beyond the professional level and feel included. And I can’t emphasise enough the importance of employee inclusion, given the day and age.

Change

A Constant, but also a Challenge

Change is never easy and is often met with a lot of resistance. Once employees are comfortable in a certain work culture, changes tend to make them uncomfortable. Some of India’s largest software firms, saw alarmingly high attrition in 2023 when they announced the end of remote work.

Another case in point is the rapidly changing health and insurance industry. Earlier, everything was done manually. If anyone within the organisation required any information related to their medical insurance, they would send an email to HR. In the last few years, Hitachi undertook several initiatives like creating virtual platforms, which have helped employees to take on-line consultations with doctors – all online.

Change Champions

Ensuring a Smooth Transition

The onus of communicating the benefits of any change lies with the leaders or Change Champions. They need to communicate with their employees the benefits they will acquire with the change. They align employee goals with the organisation, have the same mindset as the business leaders, and understand and implement the ideas to perfection.

In a globalised business environment, every implementation plan must be different for different sections of employees. This warrants Change Champions to work closely with the project team of a particular geographic location or department. One solution cannot work in all geographies.

Change Champions are always helpful to bring desired change. At Hitachi, we follow the PDCA methodology.

smooth transition in employee engagement

Safety Over Business

Prioritising the Well-Being of Employees

The well-being of employees should come before business. Hitachi is one the pioneers in adopting digitisation in work culture. One framework that offers a multi-faceted focus is SQDC.

safety quality delivery cost

Safety is not just limited to a particular function but takes under its purview every aspect that runs the business, with the goal of making employees feel safe in a hybrid setup. Mental awareness programs, health camps, and programmes around physical exercises keep a check on the well-being of the employees.

The Missing Link

Being Proactive to Change

A rapid change can be challenging for some business leaders. It can create an aura of disengagement. Being proactive to change should be incorporated from a top-down approach. Today, a hybrid workplace is a change that needs to be embraced. But 10-15 years from now, there can be another shift in work culture, and businesses need to be agile enough to adapt to those changes. We will see an increasing trend in the formation of employee resource groups (ERGs) to facilitate changes.

Organisations that will triumph in this new digital work culture are those that are open to change, innovation, and adopting new digital methods, while also curating digital experiences for their employees.

They must be proactive in creating new systems and policies and re-interpreting their work culture. Not doing so would put them at risk of losing productivity, employees, and clients. Even though technology is key in leading work culture innovation, making the overall culture more human-centric rather than technology-centric, will foster a successful digital workplace culture.

Ashutosh Anshu
Board Director, CHRO & DE&I Lead India Region, Hitachi India

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