Six Action Points for successful workforce transformation

By Andrew Davis, - Employee experienceFuture Workplace

There’s much discussion at the moment whether ‘normal’ will ever be normal again. Take, for one example, where and how we work. For decades, we have been told we could be much more productive using things like virtual meetings and shared documentation. I don’t know about you, but from the conversations going on around me, it seems this message has now got through to just about everybody.


The strong likelihood is, whatever pattern of work behavior you were in, you are very unlikely to return directly to it in the future. The all-embracing pandemic has thrust under the spotlight that new ways of working are needed. Enabling remote working, in particular, has taken on a new urgency, with a paramount requirement being the flexibility of work location and access to the resources necessary to achieve that.

There’s also another side to this. Even aside from the current extreme and challenging circumstances, many digital transformation (DX) programs that were already taking place around the world were not being managed in a way that would minimize employee anxieties and ensure their wellbeing. Our research shows levels of employee confusion and dissatisfaction (see below) that urgently need addressing and a real risk of high staff turnover from mis-aligned agendas.

Given the painful learning about the value of remote working forced on many organizations by the pandemic, it is very likely that a new wave of digital and workforce transformation programs will result. There is an equally strong risk that the same employee anxieties and turnover will repeat themselves.

To help customers spot the dangers in advance and minimize negative outcomes, Fujitsu has issued a new Action Agenda whitepaper. It highlights six action points that make digital transformation – including more flexible working – more likely to succeed and help lessen the risk of extreme staff turnover.


The strategic disconnect between digital and workforce transformation

The root of our approach is to reconnect the current strategic disconnect between digital and workforce transformation. In Fujitsu’s experience in workforce transformation (an area where Fujitsu is an acknowledged global leader), many DX programs either fail to address workforce transformation altogether or relegate it to a separate silo where it pursues its own objectives.

This disconnection must come to an end. DX is one of the highest priorities on the agenda for any management team, yet many organizations do not seem to fully understand the necessity of workforce transformation. For example, research undertaken for Fujitsu by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) shows that, while transformational efforts to date have delivered significant benefits, only a few businesses have established a firm grip on how to re-skill their workforces to build a long-term business strategy. In particular, organizations can drive far greater benefits from business transformation programs simply by thinking more strategically about the inevitable evolution of their workforce when planning transformation programs.


Still focusing on today’s jobs

Among the specific areas we look at in the Action Agenda is the tendency for a heavier focus on training people to be better at the job they’re doing today. We are not taking into consideration the skills in how to transition the workforce to address the types of work needed in the future. Our Action Agenda discusses how to identify the skills within a management strategy aligned to long-term business objectives and organizational culture.

We also look at the surprising lack of attention to employee satisfaction: just 39% of organizations have set out to design or improve employee experience as part of a transformation program. This is a particularly noteworthy omission: there is a growing understanding that the totality of an employee’s involvement with an organization, from recruitment through departure, influences their contribution to its success even more than individual factors. Firms are paying a price for this blind spot, with 70% reporting increased staff turnover as a direct consequence of transformation, and 28% saying the increase in turnover has been extreme.


Six Action Points for workforce transformation success

Based on extensive experience as a leading global digital and workforce transformation partner, Fujitsu has developed these six action points for successful transformation for senior management. They advocate a greater level of vision and leadership to acknowledge the tight interconnection between digital and workforce transformation. This vision must include measures to reskill the workforce and enhance employee satisfaction to minimize the very real danger of increased staff turnover during a transformation program. As well as communicating the clear benefits of transformation to employees, the costs and complexity that inevitably arise must be acknowledged, planned for and mitigated.

Each of the six action points is underpinned by a series of specific recommendations to assist senior managers develop bespoke agendas to match their exact requirements.  The complete Fujitsu Action Agenda whitepaper can be downloaded here.

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