Workforce priorities for digital organisations

Friday November 9 2018

Management.  Organisations need to ensure their

Management. Organisations need to ensure their workforce has access to tools and technology that increase productuvity. PHOTO godfrey lugaaju 

By Mariam Abdullahi

In any organisation, the biggest factor determining whether change is either an opportunity or a threat is its people. In a highly-competitive environment where digital skills are often a scarce resource, telcos [telecommunication companies] need to ensure they offer the type of work environment that can inspire, attract and positively inspire top talent. By focusing on six key priorities, telcos [and other companies,] will be better positioned to engage and retain a motivated, productive and inspired workforce:

1.Building the right type of organisation
The growing focus on the so-called contingent workforce, job automation, and virtual employment is pointing to the end of the full-time, on-site job. Telcos need to start asking some probing questions of themselves to get on the path toward building the right organisational structure for the future, including how to create a highly attractive employer brand, how to position the workforce to quickly scale up or down in response to changing business needs, and how to take advantage of intelligent technologies that reshape work processes and organisational models.

2.Creating a productive work environment
In most organisations, people are the most expensive resource. Salary costs are impossible to generate positive ROI [Return on investment] for the business unless employees have the resources needed to perform their jobs effectively. Telcos need to ensure they provide their workforce with access to tools, knowledge and technology that increases productivity and efficiency. Highly skilled workers in particular want positive work experiences with access to the latest technology tools. Mobile access, intuitive and engaging user design, social technology platforms and AI [artificial intelligence] interfaces are the current preferred tools for high-skill workers. Telcos need to keep abreast with the latest tools to ensure they can attract and retain top talent.

3. Engaging people around a clear purpose
Companies that exist solely for profit will fail to attract and engage the next generation of high-skilled digital workers. Telcos need to prioritise the building of a purpose-driven company culture that engages employees around shared goals that constantly add new levels of value to the organisation. Doing this is no easy task, especially in a market as culturally and geographically diverse as the Africa continent. The latest talent management tools can effectively engage, motivate and support employees on a continuous basis, and give management a direct avenue to mobilising employees around changes in organisational strategy. Great care should also be taken to recognising employees for their contribution and acknowledging the value they bring to the organisation.
4. Making good management decisions
Employee salaries, benefits and associated costs account for as much as 70 per cent of a company’s total operating budget. It is critical that telcos have an accurate view of whether that money is being spent wisely, and that staffing levels across departments and lines-of-business are at optimal levels. Here, telcos can leverage the significant advances in machine learning, workforce planning and analytics to directly link employee costs to positive ROI. Modern talent management solutions further remove many of the factors that historically led to poor talent management decisions, including manager biases, limited access to information and insufficient use of appropriate performance management criteria.

5. Supporting needs of your workforce
Not too long ago, the very concept of employee wellbeing was limited to a narrow band of people working in very specific fields. However, the arrival of the hyperconnected, always-on worker has made employee wellbeing a primary consideration for effective workforce engagement and talent management. Stressed, exhausted, distracted or physically ill workers are not productive. Wellbeing extends beyond physical factors and requires telcos to create work environments that are conducive to making workers feel valued and well-supported

6. Managing operational risks
Beyond pure disruption, most organisations face a slew of regulatory and operational risks associated with data protection, cyber security, scalability and sustainability.
Telcos need to implement compliant, secure and cost-effective human capital management technology platforms that can automate much of the task of compliance and free HR departments up to focus more on attracting, engaging and retaining top talent.