The pressure to change had been building for years. Well before the COVID-19 pandemic, senior executives routinely worried that their organisations were too slow, too siloed, too bogged down in complicated matrix structures, too bureaucratic. What many leaders feared, and the pandemic confirms, is that their companies were organised for a world that is disappearing.
Digital transformation in the new normal will need cautiously planned strategies to see efficient and productive business growth. Crises like COVID-19 demonstrate that predicting the future is impossible. Some of the key areas to be focused on include assessment of the current state of an organisation’s digital transformation; defining goals and creating the transformation roadmap; and adopting vital technologies and tools.
Confident organisations with well-thought-out strategies are growing through challenges. Future-ready businesses have novel ways of addressing challenges; rebuilding resilience in the wake of a crisis and reinforcing it is a key attribute of future-ready businesses. These businesses adapt to changing customer behaviours faster with sustainability as the standard. They are always rethinking the way they shore up their workplace with competitive intelligence that tackles new opportunities and the challenges of data with less effort.Organisations need to focus on bringing new business models to better position their business in line with disruption. Diverse cultures and win-win partnerships will help organisations level up their decision making and bring innovative perspectives to the growth table.
A future-orientated strategy identifies the key capabilities the organisation will need in order to get them to that strategy – and that is where a future-ready workforce comes into play. Define your strategy, define the key capabilities, and then take a look at your current workforce to see how your existing landscape looks. Identify the skills competencies which are lacking and see how you can upskill your staff to get there quicker.
It requires moving away from putting people into blocks or silos – there are fewer static jobs where you only do X, Y and Z; future-ready organisations require capabilities which can be moved and shifted around the organisation – where the need is, you need to be able to pull a capability, place it into a team that works towards the end state, and then proceed onto the next project. Obviously, certain business units will always remain static, such as the finance department, yet this is not the case for all future-ready organisations.
Digital transformation certainly has a role to play when we talk about future-readiness. In the past it was always said that machines were going to take over all our jobs – that is not the case. Research notes that likely only 10% of jobs will be taken over by machines, the rest will be an interface where people will need to be upskilled to work on digital platforms, leading to a change in capabilities and skills of employees.
In essence, digitisation is there to make life easier, not to make things harder or take jobs away from employees. Every business is different so it is imperative that you understand what digitisation means to your organisation and what skills you will need to remain relevant.
It is, however, not just the organisation’s responsibility to remain relevant. Each and every employee needs to continuously develop and upskill themselves Employees will need to take on more accountability, because as much as it is the organisation’s responsibility, there is also accountability on employees for whatever the future holds. Here, micro training rather than macro training is crucial to ensure that employees are continually upskilling.
An important element of a future-ready organisation is how they recruit talent to ensure a diverse workforce; this will be the focus of our next article.