EX: Going Back To The Drawing Board

EX: Going Back To The Drawing Board

As organisations navigate uncharted paths of new ways of working, HR leaders will have to learn about new-age technologies, understand what will work best in their companies, and lead the way to successful deployment.


The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital transformation across the globe with a sense of urgency that most had not anticipated. It forced organisations – whether modern start-ups or traditional businesses – to switch to remote working to ensure employees’ safety. As a result, businesses had to change their policies and adopt newer technologies to support work from home in an extremely short duration of time.


As the pandemic now shows signs of receding, HR leaders have to go back to the drawing board to understand what the future of their dynamically evolving workplace and workforce will look like and what they need to do to enhance employee experience (EX) as well as build a cohesive company culture.


One abundantly clear thing is that there is a high likelihood we may never go back to the pre-COVID ways of working. Organisations have realised that employee productivity need not necessarily be linked to their physical presence and that people can contribute from any corner of the world. From the employee standpoint, remote working has enhanced efficiency, facilitated better work-life balance, and led to job satisfaction.


With few mission-critical roles already transitioning back to the office, trends are easily visible that the hybrid workplace model is becoming increasingly common and popular. Hybrid working is here to stay for the long run rather than just the foreseeable future as it continues to support employees who are present in the office and those working remotely, in addition to flexible workers.


Ways Tech Can Enhance EX


To enable employees to work seamlessly, organisations will have to continue investing in many technologies. This includes platforms already in use before the pandemic hit and those deployed overnight as a stop-gap arrangement. With the digital world holding a permanent place in our lives, organisations will have to take a hard look at and implement technology solutions that not only facilitate work for employees but also enhance their experience and foster a culture of collaboration and trust.


Here are some key areas that HR leaders, in partnership with business, need to focus on to help build the workplace of the future:


Enabling seamless working


To make the hybrid workplace efficient, productive and agile, organisations will have to give employees the tools they need to work anytime, anywhere. This includes everything from simple document management, workflow management, cloud computing, automation, cybersecurity to data analytics and artificial intelligence. Over the past few months, I have personally attempted to review every procedure from a new lens, aiming to be process-driven rather than person dependent. Technology can help to not only weave the remote working experience seamlessly but also provide the intelligence that HR leaders will need to remove bottlenecks and elevate the employee experience.


Ensuring smooth communication


New-age communication and collaboration tools form the core of a successful digital workplace. From simple messaging platforms and chatbots to video conferencing, social tools and the ability to share information from anywhere securely, collaboration tools can ensure teams are more connected today than even when they were in a traditional office setup. With the aid of collaboration tools, teams can share knowledge, brainstorm, provide updates to peers and bosses, stay abreast of team projects, and more. While most of these tools are easily available now, I anticipate further upgrades sooner than later.


Nurturing employee well-being

As employees get to meet each other less, technology can play a crucial part in helping build interpersonal relationships. Whether it is HR professionals/ people managers checking on their employees’ well-being, peers staying in touch with each other and sharing personal updates, business managers building a rapport with their teams, or simply moving towards a system of frequent reviews, technology can help show people that there are others who care about their mental and emotional health.


Upskilling and measuring the success of the digital workplace


The success of this new way of working post the pandemic can be determined only if employees adapt to it and if it can be measured. Deploying technologies such as data analytics, AI, deep learning (DL) and retraining/upskilling the workforce can help HR managers ensure productivity, process efficiency and the measurement of company culture. It can help them understand trends and behaviours and provide actionable intelligence to give each employee a personalised experience to optimise their performance and enhance overall company growth.


Top Tech Trends for HR in 2021


There are several things the HR leaders need to keep in mind as they address the challenges faced by their workforce in the digital-first environment. Let’s take a look at what organisations need to embrace going forward:


Total Experience


Organisations need to take a more integrated approach and link employee experience, customer experience and user experience disciplines. By creating an environment that spans devices, they will be able to develop smart offices of the future. Gartner says HR leaders should start by understanding the underlying principle of total experience and identify points of intersectionality.




With many organisations already beginning their digital transformation journey, there will be increased technology adoption in every aspect of HR. Technologies, such as AI, DL and machine learning (ML), will play a pivotal role in putting in place automation tools for various HR functions, such as accounting, communication, and review. McKinsey says that as we move towards imagining a post-pandemic world, HR leaders will have to create a model built around unprecedented automation, flexibility and agility.


Anywhere Operations


In a hybrid workplace model, employees need access to devices and information from anywhere – the office, the home or a beach in Ibiza. They also need the tools to be able to deliver business services at any time. HR managers have to work towards creating a location-independent mindset. Gartner states HR leaders need to invest in digital experience monitoring tools that provide real-time insight into employee performance and experience.




As people work from outside the physical boundaries of the office, organisations will have to strengthen their security measures. Furthermore, as people access sensitive data from their home networks, there has been a rise in cyberattacks and data breaches. Global companies also have to deal with local and international data protection laws. As per Forbes, HR managers must work closely with IT leaders to put in place stringent data security measures to protect the company’s sensitive information and its employees.


In Closing


As organisations navigate uncharted paths of new ways of working, HR leaders will have to learn about new-age technologies, understand what will work best in their companies, and lead the way to successful deployment. They will have to work closely with the top management, business managers and the IT teams to reshape the post-pandemic workplace.


Mandeep Kaur has over 17 years of experience in leading organizations in retail, logistics, and transportation. She is currently working as the Head of HR for LOTS Wholesale Solutions. She is a results-oriented leader with strong business acumen and extensive experience in large-scale domestic and international operational restructuring, talent management, and mergers and acquisitions.


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