The Human Side of Transformation in the Digital Ecosystem

by Benjie Garcia

I had the privilege of co-presenting at the PASIAWORLD 2019 last November 14 with Dr. Christoph Wargitsch of Wargitsch Transformation Engineers (a new partner of POWERinU).  Our talk entitled “Lean, Agile and People Transformation in the Digital Ecosystem” centered on 5 messages to the conference participants:

  1. Lean and Agile are complements
  2. Digital Transformation can be disruptive – Stay Agile
  3. There are no shortcuts to Digital Transformation
  4. Forget “Management Religions”- Engineer your own solution.
  5. Human Capital is key to success – Unleash the creativity of your team.

As a Human Resource professional for practically my entire corporate career and now as a Consultant and Coach, I concentrated on message number 5 which is the focus of this article.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), IOT (Internet of Things), Machine Learning and other technologies associated with the digital age has begun to transform industries and businesses in many parts of the world. It is transforming not only how we work but the way we live.  One of the 10 trends identified in the Deloitte Human Capital Survey 2019 is the journey from employee experience to human experience.  This is not just another buzzword for HR professionals and consultants.  I see it as setting a new standard wherein organizations focus their efforts on creating a deep sense of purpose for each employee by connecting their individual aspirations with those of the organization.  This means taking a holistic approach to supporting the growth and development of each employee and empowering them to take ownership of their lives to achieve self-actualization.  I assume this is a response to the challenge many organizations face in building trust and engagement within their workforce. Undoubtedly, the accelerating pace of change at work will surely create more pressure among leaders to take action. The good news is that, there are business leaders who are leading the way with their examples.  I hope that more leaders will follow suit.

One important implication of this trend towards providing the Human Experience in organizations is the need to change the way employees learn. (Incidentally, this trend was reported as the top challenge in the Deloitte survey.)  Creating further urgency to this issue is The Future of Jobs 2018 report of the World Economic Forum predicting that 54% of all employees will require reskilling and upskilling in just 3 years.  Against this prediction, it is alarming that only 11% of the Deloitte survey respondents considered their organizations as having an “excellent” learning culture. Hence there is an urgent need for organizations to catch.  (As an example, a recent Global AI survey done by McKinsey & Company indicated that companies that have significantly benefitted from AI adoption are those that have made huge efforts in retraining the workforce.)  In order to support this kind of learning environment, employees will have to be self-motivated to reskill or upskill themselves in pursuit of their personal and professional goals.  Thus, the term “lifelong learning.”  Fortunately, there are tools currently available to organizations and individuals to cultivate and support this habit.  There are new learning technology platforms that enable real time learning that is integrated with usual flow of life.  Coaching is a powerful tool wherein learning becomes more personal.  Utilizing small projects teams as opportunities for experiential learning is an effective way for peer to peer learning.

In addition to providing resources and tools to support learning, business leaders also need to rethink the way they structure their organizations, processes and policies. Design Thinking is an effective tool, especially when combined with analytic, to promote and encourage a learning culture that leverages the creativity of its own employees.  Christoph demonstrated this through a series of engaging exercises for participants who attended our break out session during the conference.

Interested in getting keynote speakers for your conferences or gatherings? Email info@powerinu.com.sg to inquire.

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