by Maher Hamze ,
Partner and Transformation Services Leader, Mercer Middle East
09/10/2023 · 7-minute read
We hear from Maher Hamze, Partner and Transformation Services Leader for Mercer Middle East, on what challenges and opportunities HR faces in a more digital-led workplace, and how organizations are embracing the shift to a digital first mindset.
A digital approach to HR strategy transforms and enhances how organizations engage with their workforce. Through advanced analytics, organizations can make data-driven decisions and offer personalized experiences. Digital platforms facilitate continuous learning, flexible work arrangements, and streamlined administrative tasks, while AI-driven tools optimize talent acquisition and performance management. Such strategies also promote well-being, facilitate real-time engagement feedback, and assist in succession planning. Overall, digital HR tools not only automate processes but also help in tapping into the full potential of both current and future employees
Even pre-pandemic, the advent of new technologies and the entrance of Gen Z into the workforce have elevated expectations for digital delivery in workplace experiences. Post pandemic, there definitely has been a marked acceleration in the adoption of digital HR tools, as organizations recognized the need for remote work solutions, efficient communication channels, and digitalized HR processes. While many employers have made significant strides in providing a comprehensive digital experience, the level of preparedness varies across industries and regions. The pandemic may have expedited the transition to digital HR practices, but disparities remain in how well-equipped different organizations are to meet these rising digital expectations.
More work can be done but some organization are making an active effort to understand employee preferences and get a sense of the various personas they have within the organization and personas they are looking to attract to tailor a more targeted employee value proposition rather than a one size fits all version.
The pandemic has been a catalyst for many employers to revaluate and better align with their employees' needs. The challenges brought on by the pandemic underscored the importance of flexibility, well-being, and open communication. Many organizations were compelled to adapt quickly, instituting remote work policies, enhancing health benefits, and fostering more regular communication. This accelerated shift made employers more attuned to employees' changing priorities, values, and expectations. This has underscored the necessity for organizations to provide a customized value proposition for their employees, rather than a generic, one-size-fits-all solution.
Digital tools and technology can help employers bridge these gaps by offering real-time feedback mechanisms, pulse surveys, and sentiment analysis. These tools capture and analyze employee experiences, preferences, and concerns. Advanced analytics can then transform this data into actionable insights, enabling employers to respond promptly, adapt policies, and ensure that their strategies are in tune with the actual needs and aspirations of their workforce.
As generative AI enters the workplace, it's pivotal for organizations to revaluate their business, talent, and HR models. A central consideration is the development of a robust job and skills framework, which will act as a foundation for identifying current competencies and future skill needs. Organizations should foster a culture of continuous learning, emphasizing both soft skills like critical thinking and technical proficiencies. It's crucial to integrate upskilling and reskilling initiatives aligned with this framework, ensuring the workforce remains adaptive to the swiftly changing tech landscape. A forward-looking recruitment strategy, valuing adaptability and potential, becomes essential.
To attract and retain talent in an increasingly digitalized workplace, organizations must prioritize personalization and flexibility. Employers can harness technology and digital tools to achieve this by utilizing advanced analytics to understand individual employee needs, preferences, and career aspirations. AI-driven platforms can provide personalized learning and development paths, while digital communication channels can facilitate tailored feedback loops and engagement surveys. Additionally, remote work tools and digital collaboration platforms allow for flexible work arrangements tailored to individual needs. By leveraging these technologies, organizations can transition from a generic approach to an individual-centric HR strategy, enhancing employee satisfaction and commitment.
Reflecting on the last four years, the most significant change has been the rapid and broad-scale adoption of remote and hybrid work models. Pre-COVID, many organizations were hesitant about allowing employees to work from home or did so on a limited basis. The pandemic necessitated a swift shift to remote work, challenging traditional beliefs about productivity and collaboration outside the office. This transition has illuminated the importance of flexibility, adaptability, and the value of trust-based management. As HR plans for the future, embracing these learnings to create a more flexible, resilient, and employee-centric work environment will be crucial. It's evident that the future of work isn't bound by physical locations but by fostering connectivity, engagement, and well-being irrespective of where an employee is situated.