COVID-19 And Digital Transformation

COVID-19 And Digital Transformation

The success of organisations will depend on their ability to connect with every individual within the organisation at a deeper level through technology in these uncertain times.


The COVID-19 pandemic has altered everything overnight in almost every sphere of life. And this has made way for what has been termed today as the ‘new normal’. The terrifying manner in which COVID-19 infections have spread has left the world completely flabbergasted. The rising cases around the globe have challenged people from every walk of life. While we have witnessed history’s worst outbreaks like H1N1, Swine flu and Ebola among others, for many of us, COVID-19 has shown us the true picture of a pandemic.


The present-day digitalised world stands as proof to the fact of how technology drives human lives in every horizon. We no longer sit back or get petrified with news related to COVID-19 stagnating our survival. Instead, we have chosen to acquaint ourselves with the new normal through the aid of technology which is now an integral part of our lives. Technology has been aiding us to be fed, clothed, educated and healed amidst this pandemic. There are two sides to every story and so is the case with COVID-19. Though the pandemic has drastically digressed our normal way of life, it has also paved a path of improvement and enabled us to prepare for a better world.


Accelerating the ‘new normal’


It is time for us to remember those prophetic words of Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th President of the United States of America, “If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it.” The present-day deployment of technology has accelerated the ‘new normal’ life. Corporations and authorities around the world have opted for flexible working conditions such as workfromhome and remote logging to run the show. Technology pertaining to connectivity and channels of communication has been streamlined to accompany every individual amidst social distancing.


Cloud computing and social media platforms have led to technology trends thus shifting people’s focus to a new amplified digitalised working atmosphere. Nonetheless, virtual platforms like Microsoft (Teams), Google (Meet), Zoom, Workplace etc. have been in the digital market since long. These technologies are not new for organisations since they were already subscribing to them. However, the current situation has forced companies to revise the traditional investments and channelise expenditure towards building a virtual empire rather than one which is brick and mortar.


As mentioned previously, there are two sides to every story. While technology has paved the way for the new normal, challenges persist since organisations adapt to the current situation. Every organisation and more so the human resource team has to establish various new measures to keep their employees motivated through this hard yet transformational path and create more employee- friendly engagements. Also, staying indoors for long spells can also take a toll on one’s mental wellness. Hence, it is extremely important for organisations to create a digitally engaging company culture.


Ways to emerge stronger


Certain aspects that can enable organisations to step up and emerge stronger in a pandemic struck world have been cited below:-


Heart-to-heart connect: The success of organisations will depend on their ability to connect with every individual within the organisation at a deeper level through technology in these uncertain times. Creating a heart-to-heart connect among employees will be the key to future success where social distancing is the new norm.


Discovering innovative ways: Discovering innovative ways to create a closer relationship with customers through the digitised world will be a key differentiator. Effective communication in the virtual world will be vital to an organisation’s success. Therefore, employees need to be trained in various virtual platforms that are used by the organisation so that they can utilise the platform to effectively connect with clients or teams. For example, a virtual platform for a group presentation of a business pitch needs to be immensely different from a oneon-one meeting with a client representative.


Using technological upgrades: An organisation needs to make use of technology to upgrade the knowledge curve of the organisation through different digitised learning interventions. Microlearning, podcasts, video streaming are the new ways of enhancing the learning curve of employees.


Zero travel hours to the advantage: With almost zero to less travel time, there has been an increase in the productive work hours available to the employees. We are increasingly hearing business development professionals getting more windows for virtual meetings with prospective clients than what they could get during the pre-COVID times. It is always a matter of how organisations can make the best of the given scenario to enhance their new business prospects.


Managing human emotions: Leadership success in the new normal will depend on the ability of leaders to manage human emotions and subtle psychological upheavals of fear and anxiety during such uncertain times. Apart from managing oneself, leaders need to know how to coach, counsel and connect with their teams in the new virtual world. A futureready leader today is the one who is able to absorb and navigate the multitude of ‘COVID’ emotions that engulfs individuals, teams and organisations. The one who shows character today and adapts the digitised platform will be having higher prospects and expansion in the post COVID world.


Like Steve Jobs, almost 20 years ago, said, “Let’s go invent tomorrow instead of worrying about what happened yesterday,” organisations which will emerge stronger and futureready are the ones which are focused on a transformational digitised journey in this COVID times.


Kaushik Chakraborty is Director, Human Resources, Savills India. He comes with an experience of more than 20 years and has worked in leading organisations such as JLL, ABN AMRO, RBS, Max Newyork Life, ICICI Prudential and Blue Dart. Kaushik is a well-known keynote and motivational speaker at conferences and events and has also been invited to speak in multiple TEDx events in India.


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