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25 Nov 2021
by Debi O'Donovan

Technology transformation requires heightened focus on your people strategy

The Covid-19 pandemic is the catalyst to rapidly accelerating digital and technological changes that we have seen emerging during the ongoing fourth industrial revolution. During 2020 and 2021 we reached a tipping point of organisations being swiftly spilled into a new order whereby the digital workplace dominates. Technology and digital tools permeate virtually all job roles and sectors, from using online services, handheld devices and artificial intelligence to video meetings, robots and collaboration tools.




CEOs and chief human resources officers (CHROs) are aware that, in the aftermath of this crisis, a mindset of returning to how things used to be will not feed business resilience and, in turn, growth. Over half of the employers responding to our Technology Change is Business Change research are expecting their organisations to undergo significant organisational transformation. This means that business leaders and HR teams need to be open to new and experimental ways of thinking in order to build sustainable organisations fit for the future.

At the heart of this will be the workforce. Processes and systems will not be the winning factor for organisations. Success rests on the manner in which people deliver processes and systems. That means a firm’s digital strategy and people strategy have to be aligned.

The majority of employers in this report have ambitions for extensive digital transformation. More than half have already brought in key talent to drive change, with 41% still planning to do so over the next couple of years, or longer.

These huge shifts put pressure on pay, meaning the job market for high-demand skills is hotting up. Employers are also more keen than ever to hold onto people prepared to adapt quickly and transform their current skills to meet new digital needs.

However, HR teams are aware that pay alone is a blunt instrument. It is a broader and empathetic employee experience that will attract, retain and engage talent. This report shows that organisations with higher employee engagement levels are more likely to reward worker outputs (such as delivery) than inputs (such as hours worked), while forward thinking employers are moving away from traditional workspaces to creating spaces that put collaboration, non-siloed working and good communication at their heart.

Employee benefits, work design and new ways of working are increasingly being reshaped to match the emerging needs of both employers and employees. The focus is on creating cultures that engage employees, look after hard-won talent and genuinely care for the wellbeing of people. Use of digital tools to deliver benefits and reward and communication is an important way to achieve this.

The pandemic exposed cracks in our ways of working and fast tracked the use of digital technology. So now really is the time to rethink our reward practices and focus more on our people to thrive in this environment and beyond.

Technology Change is Business Change is the third report in REBA's Transforming Engagement series, together with Mercer Marsh Benefits. 

The author is Debi O’Donovan, director of REBA.

In partnership with Mercer

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