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Webinar Takeaways: Reworking Work to Guarantee the Success of your Organisation

Our third For a Better World of Work Webinar, Reworking Work to Guarantee the Success of Your Organisation was hosted on 6 July 2020 - to watch the full webinar fill in the form or read our main takeaways from the event below.

Workplaces as we know them will never be the same again. With remote working becoming the norm rather than the exception, HR leaders need to guide their people with purpose and vision through the coming years. In our latest Top Employers Institute Webinar, Reworking Work to Guarantee the Success of your Organisation, three HR industry experts reflect on how the situation as we know calls for reimagining the future of work.

As HR leaders begin to move on from dealing with the challenges that arose from the global public health crisis, we look at how HR leaders will incorporate the new normal to deliver on purpose and business success from a people strategy perspective.

Key Webinar Takeaways

Top Employer Institute: The 4Rs

David Plink, CEO at Top Employers Institute, set the scene by reflecting on “4Rs” that shaped recent months:-

  • While they didn’t see a global pandemic coming, Top Employers organisations were as ready as they reasonably could be for its impact. They were digitally enabled, with strong instincts for open communication and with scalable health and safety plans in place.
  • Once COVID-19 started to spread, there was a rapid mobilisation to large-scale change – technology enabled remote working en masse. Mental well-being was front of mind and safe working practices quickly evident in those offices, shops, transportation and factories allowed to open.
  • Organisations communicated with employees more often and with greater openness and transparency.
  • The pandemic is ongoing in many parts of the world, but some organisations are already nevertheless adapting to a new reality, with a desire to focus beyond the short term and onto a longer-term strategy.

New realities

What does this mean for Top Employers? The new reality is one in which they fundamentally alter the way they work, cooperate and deliver their services and products. There will be five aspects to this:-

  • Accelerate technology. Organisations are investing in digital tools, particularly those that provide data security for employees, get closer to customers or build cooperation online.
  • Enable work from anywhere: Technology now allows this - and this has implications for mental and physical health and the likelihood of smaller HQs with more satellite and home offices, a reduction in travel and greater latitude around how meetings could be conducted.
  • Future-proof the proposition. Businesses are considering the impact of COVID-19 on the services they offer, what this means for the demand and the capacity they need to serve this.
  • Build culture. Organisations need to understand what they now need from leaders and managers to thrive - and how disparate organisations can find new ways to come together.
  • Increase communication. This will mean more access to leadership and within teams, with clear messages and honesty, even when the news is bad.

JTI: Accelerating a People First Strategy

Howard Parks, SVP People & Culture and Corporate Security, JTI, explained that his organisation was already on a journey from process- to people-centricity when the pandemic struck. The sweeping outbreak of COVID-19 produced game changing circumstances in several respects:

  • People First. The urgency of changes engendered by the pandemic effectively accelerated remote working and other changes proposed from two years to a single week.
  • Myths Busted. With staff relocated en masse, it became clear that staff could be productive at home, sales could be achieved without face-to-face meetings and that it was possible for a dispersed workforce to collaborate effectively.
  • New Ways of Working. Value in Performance (as opposed to Presence), Trust, Flexibility and Collaboration all came sharply into focus, with many positives emerging from new ways of working.
  • Leadership Culture. Leaders now need to be clearer in their communications, trust their team to perform, adopt a more coaching-based form of engagement and show more empathy for the ups and downs of remote working.

Looking forward, Howard Parks commented on what he has learned:

  • Capitalise on this moment. It’s a unique opportunity.
  • Embrace change. And maybe take a few risks.
  • Invest in your culture. To support business goals – it will pay dividends in difficult times.
  • Find the silver linings. Use the learnings that have emerged from recent months.
  • Take the right next step. When you are uncertain, just take the one step at a time

TCS: Driving Purpose-Driven Transformation

Milind Lakkad, Executive VP & CHRO, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), stressed that every decision around COVID-19 has been made with one concern in mind: the safety and wellbeing of TCS Associates. Furthermore, the pandemic had brought home the importance of understanding the purpose of what TCS is there to do.

  • Enabling Secure Borderless Work Spaces. Around 95% of TCS’ associates were enabled to work from home globally within three weeks.
  • Rigour in Learning. The #LearnInLockdown initiative meant that over 370,000 people added over 6.6 million learning hours.
  • Engagement with Purpose. There was a clear focus within TCS on 1-2-1 connections and the emotional and mental well-being of Associates.
  • Social & Work Collaboration. The business has extensively leverages Internal & external collaboration platforms.
  • #OneTCS. Virtual Leadership Townhalls and inspirational speakers helped to create a sense of togetherness.

All of these practices have helped to lay the platform for future HR strategies:

  • The 25/25 initiative. – to ensure 25% of their workforce is needed in the workplace at any one time to be 100% operational. TCS expects this to be achieved by 2025 at the latest.
  • Talent on Cloud. It doesn’t matter now where talent is physically based. The business (and all businesses) can now think very differently about the possibilities for recruiting the best talent from anywhere in the world quickly and virtually.
  • Associate Experience and Quality of Life. The reduction of travel time has significantly improved quality of life for many. Positive and negative aspects of remote working need to be very carefully measured and managed.
  • Community Outreach. For TCS, communities are no longer just a stakeholder to be served but the very purpose of the organisation’s existence.