The workplace of Industry 4.0 is defined by the digital age. In an increasingly connected world, the concept of a workplace has undergone a transformation. Technology has given employees the flexibility of working remotely and organizations the ability to tap into talent from overseas which was not always the case a few decades ago.
However, some aspects of getting work done stay the same over the years. One of those major factors is the need for teamwork. And, with great teamwork comes the responsibility of delivering results. The questions facing talent leaders today is whether their teams are ready for digital transformation. Getting teams digitally fluent and building their capabilities with the right communication tool has become an urgent need for the Workplace 4.0.
Get the basics right
Even though the technology that we work with might undergo an upheaval, humans will need to continue working with other humans in order to get work done. The need for high-level communication and collaboration is even more crucial now than ever since the workplace 4.0 is expected to be a blend of man and machines working together.
The essence of building a team remains the same. A team must have a clear sense of purpose, must be inclusive and diverse, and have a clear strategy to achieve their collective goals. A predefined set of ground rules, clarity on the roles and responsibilities assigned to each team member and ensuring that each member understands the end goal, is crucial for the successful functioning of a stellar team.
Managing teams in the digital age
Digital transformation impacts the way teams are managed. The need for transparency is at an all time high especially in a digital team. A lack of collaboration can lead to a detrimental consequence on a particular project and hence impact the business results. Establishing a successful digital business requires inputs from professionals from different backgrounds, creating a business plan, setting realistic expectations and a clear vision about the path the team members will take in order to see the vision turn into a reality.
The digital team leaders of today have to shift their mindset from the ones being in control to becoming the enablers and mentors of their team members. A successful leader in the digital age is the one who coaches her teammates and gives her team members the authority to chalk out their plan of action and defining success measures. For the HR leader the shift is more towards getting the company future-ready and less on the monitoring of work hours etc. Productivity is going to be measured differently in the digital age and HR leaders are at the forefront of bringing about this change.
Capability building as a team strategy
If an organization has to be successful in a rapidly transforming digital world, ensuring that the team members are continuously learning and becoming future-ready has to become a top priority for people leaders. The traditional form of team-building exercises and three-day long training sessions are giving way to online learning modules that digital teams can sign up for and take from anywhere. They can collaborate, compare notes, interact with team members, and build their capabilities.
Apart from a regular salary in the bank account, employees of the digital age want to be engaged in meaningful work and are always on the prowl for learning opportunities. It is precisely why, in addition to upskilling the existing workforce to become future-ready, it becomes crucial to provide a clear growth path to newly hired talent as well.
Communication is key
Different kinds of communication tools are at talent leaders’ disposal today. The Institute for Digital Transformation has highlighted the role of digital dexterity as a must-have not only for team managers but for each individual team member as well. “Team members must understand that communication will be both amplified and hyper-transparent in the digital era,” notes a Institute of Digital Transformation report.
In order to truly create collaborative teams, both formal and informal channels of communication must be leveraged. Informal communication such as sharing personal stories with coworkers, discussing the economy, politics, and other ongoings, forms a crucial part of workplace discourse, according to a survey by Michael Page India. Employees of the digital age want those meaningful connections at work and seek out companies with a type of culture that encourages such a camaraderie among employees.
Communication platforms such as social media websites and other team-based collaborative tools can help in providing a place where digital teams can share and communicate, without the formality and structure of an email.
Rewarding teamwork and recognizing individuality
An effective strategy for a teamwork-focused era is to recognize good teamwork when you see it. When a team gets recognized for a job well done it builds up the morale and reinforces the team bonding within a workplace. A team that celebrates good work together is more likely to be able to find solutions in a challenging situation in a collaborative and constructive manner.
While talent leaders focus on teams’ productivity and efficiency, the individuality of each member cannot be lost. As teams become more and more diverse, recognizing an individual for their contribution can go a long way in unlocking each team member’s potential.
Recognizing individuality can also be about understanding that each person has a unique working style. In the workplace 4.0, it is essential to cater to different working styles and personalities. For example, some might work well in a brain-storming session while others like a little bit of notice to come prepared with ideas to a meeting.
The way forward
Going forward in the era of teamwork in workplace 4.0, it is essential to note that teamwork happens naturally and organically. Creating a conducive culture for collaboration, empowering employees with the right skillset, communication tools, and giving them the autonomy to chart their own progress, can go a long way in helping create strong and goal-focused teams.
To learn more about ways in which you can create successful strategies to navigate the era of teamwork, you can join many such relevant conversations at Asia’s largest HR and Work Tech Conference, People Matters TechHR 2020 Singapore from February 19th to 21st, at Marina Bay Sands.