Is disruption new to us?
Are we aiming at driving workplace productivity only now?
Is employee satisfaction important only in this era?
What does employee satisfaction mean?
My answer to the above questions is good news! Disruption is something that humans have always focused on as we have survived and thrived from the stone age till now. Workplace productivity has always been in the focus whether it is for factory workers or data entry professionals. And the most important thing to remember is that we have predominantly done this to gain higher satisfaction as employees, entrepreneurs or customers.
All I am trying to say is let us not fall into the trap of wondering if we will be able to adapt to all these Digital Disruptions that are being flung at us…of course we will - just like we always have!
The biggest differentiator of any transformation today is that it has moved to become Digital. Earlier it may have been Mechanical, like the invention of the wheel or the earlier versions of automobiles. It could have been about dealing with the adaptation of Energy like moving from steam engines to petrol and now to electrical vehicles. Just like we went through all these disruptions, I believe we will take Digital Disruption in our stride as we move on with this journey. Please note it is a journey, however, with much more emphasis on the speed. If we want Digital Disruption to drive productivity and lead to employee satisfaction, then we must consider the following:
Remove the negative connotation from the word disruption
Traditionally we have been programmed to fear disruption as it changes the normal course of the way we do things. What we fail to remember is that historically every disruption has only added value to our standard of living. So, let’s maybe coin the term “Digital Up-tion“, rather than “Digital Disruption”. What is important is that we are comfortable with it and get attuned to it. See what is coming next and upskill ourselves for the next best.
Keep moving up the job value chain
Every Digital Up-tion should be looked at as an opportunity to help its employees to build on their critical thinking skills. Nothing can replace the human judgement and critical thinking of us humans and therefore our employees’ ability to empathise with customers’ needs should be given more emphasis and a focal place in our Digital Up-tion journey. Transaction management should be left to technology enablement throughout the Digital Up-tion journey.
Keeping divergent thinking hats on
When employees get more time to think, newer thoughts are brought into the organisation and in turn they lead to greater innovation - both incremental as well as path-breaking. Today, competition can come in any form and from unthinkable areas. It was hard to think that cameras could be replaced by mobile phones, yet it happened. Therefore, divergent thinking where employees are creatively evaluating enhancements to current services or products and coming up with new ideas is important. This of course will lead to higher employee engagement.
To assimilate and disseminate information about digital
The starting point of any digital disruption has to be a Strong Purpose. What are we trying to achieve from this disruption? All the stakeholders should be a part of answering this question - right from the senior leaders who bring in a strategic perspective to the front-line employees who bring in relevant insights from the real-time customer expectations. This assimilation has to be followed through by adequate information dissemination. The last man standing in the organisation must know what and why we are trying to achieve through Digital Up-tion.
Build a positive story
As an organisation we must strive to build a positive story around the Digital Up -tion agenda. We cannot let the message float around that Digital Up-tion will only be for the organisation and employees have nothing to gain. Let’s reimagine a world where Digital Up-tion means less time at your desk job and more time socialising with your customers and stakeholders. More time for each one of us to influence the larger purpose of our being. As more and more employees look at purpose driven organisations, let’s tie our Digital Up-tion to the larger purpose of existence and see how organisational productivity and the employee satisfaction skyrocket!
When employees become the focal drivers of Digital Up-tion in an organisation, only then will the idea of Digital Disruption become essential for all the stakeholders of the organisation.