Using digital technology, earn an incredible ROI today
We start 2021 in a recession with rising pandemic numbers and stalled growth; yet, investors are forecasting for an economic rebound in this first quarter. Contrary to popular beliefs, this is the perfect time to reinvent work processes with digital technology that enables the organization to succeed during recovery. An even stronger reason to reinvent work is knowing that the early mover, to reinvent work processes and with digital technology, can have a high return on their investment.
Yet most companies (and their HR departments) have not reinvented their work process and offices and have not made the investments to compete in the post-pandemic recovery. Microsoft's recent white paper on "The Future of Business Resilience" stated that digital transformation is more urgent than ever and that 80% of business leaders across ALL industries will accelerate their transformation in 2021. However, according to Stacey Harris from the Sierra-Cedar/Sapient Insights HR Systems Survey, only four percent plan to increase spending on HR Tech in 2021 compared to 15 percent this time last year.
Why? Blame it on conventional conservatism…and the chaos and uncertainty caused by the pandemic. It is natural to cut expenses and investment during a recession. "Save cash" is the mantra. However, the pandemic rocketed the business world by five or more years into the future to the "now of work."
What will the "now of work" look like, post-pandemic?
Let me draw you a picture that includes the hybrid workforce, a new role and design for the office, and using digital technology to reinvent this new world's work processes.
Hybrid workforce. The rush to remote work to protect most office workers' health last March worked better than expected. According to research, 70 percent of office workers are as productive or more productive than they were before the pandemic. Half of these remote workers want to continue to work remotely two to five days a week, post-pandemic, to take advantage of saved commuting time and the efficiencies of remote working. Companies that do not honor their needs and desires will see a costly rise in turnover and skill shortages.
Future Office. With 50 percent of office workers working from home two to five days per week, the demand for office space will fall, and the role of the remaining office space will change. According to Cushman and Wakefield's January 2021 report, Workplace Ecosystems of the Future, the core office will become the place for crucial meetings, collaboration, learning, mentoring, innovation, and connecting to culture. Remote employees will do most of their "head's down" work from home, and the home office will provide on-demand meeting spaces touch-down spaces. This transition to the core office will free up office square footage, providing an investment opportunity.
Smart digital technology to reinvent work processes. The savings from reduced office space will enable digital technology investment for the hybrid workforce, to included: improved broadband, cloud storage, cybersecurity, video conferring technology, and AI-powered tools such as chatbots and data analysis tools.
Smart executives will realize that there are many opportunities to optimize with digital technology investments, particularly when used to reinvent work processes. McKinsey and Company have reviewed the investments in digital technology of highly profitable companies in multiple industries. They found that companies who invest in digital technology reap significantly more revenue and profit growth (almost twice as much) than low-investors in technology. More importantly, these companies invest in digital technology across their whole infrastructure, not just in products, marketing, and sales. These companies improved their investments in functions that often had not had high digital investment, such as supply chain, manufacturing, and human resources.
How to get started?
It is time to rethink our paradigms on how, when, and where work is performed, and the technology required–and invest in digitization BOLDLY. Below are three strategies:
Create a vision for the post-COVID19 office and digital reinvention of internal processes, such as HR. As COVID19 was hitting the world, about 79 percent of companies were beginning their digital transformation. However, few were successful at it. This insight is crucial because, too often, the cost has been the overriding factor when it comes to technology. Cost no longer needs to be a concern for the smart buyer who strategically chooses digital technology that is ready-now, provides a fast-time-to-value, and an incredible investment return.
Rethink how the office is used as a gathering and collaboration place, post-pandemic. Once the employee concerns about getting infected are overcome, the post-COVID19 office of the future will become the place to safely meet for more private business conversations, brainstorming and project meetings, and socialize in small, safe groups. While work will remain at home for half of the office employees, safe spaces will need to be created at offices for workers whose homes are not suitable for 'head's down' work. Besides, space will be needed for R&D employees and those working with hard-copy files too sensitive for internet storage.
Invest in intelligent digital assistants. The days of walking down the hall to IT or human resources or calling 1-800 call centers for routine questions are over. Employees rarely read the policy statements on the company's websites and company intranets often contain outdated information and are poorly organized. Before the pandemic, Gartner, Inc. predicted that by the end of 2021, 25 percent of digital workers would use intelligent assistants daily. This will be up from less than two percent in 2019. Most questions employees ask of IT, HR, and Finance can be answered by intelligent digital assistants. For many companies, digital assistants provide a smart return on investment as they free up HR staff from answering this question and enable them to be redirected to more strategic work.
MeBeBot's AI-powered intelligent assistant breaks through where others have not in these essential areas:
It is affordable, easy to implement and update. It installs in two to six weeks, not two to six months, providing companies with a fast time-to-value and investment return.
Answering the commonly asked questions of HR, IT, and operations frees up the staff of these organizations to pursue more strategic work. It improves employees' productivity and experiences by providing accurate answers to them 24/7–no waiting for the staff or call centers to return a call.
It smooths out the employee onboarding process, which is particularly important for fast growing companies, especially during rapid growth.