Covid-19 leading to organisational shift


Hyderabad: The ongoing pandemic has led to a new ecosystem, making organisations to initiate every possible measure and utilise every possible means to protect their people/assets, embed sustainability and drive business continuity.

In the past, organisations were thinking about new ways of working, but the Covid-19 crisis has made the shift to a new platform and the development of new ways of working an immediate need.

Major organisational shifts are happening in the areas of design, capability and culture in order to build excellence in the new ecosystem, points out a latest research paper jointly brought out by PwC India and the National HRD Network (NHRDN) titled ‘Excellence in the new ecosystem’, unveiled at a recent conference. Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal, Education Minister, Government of India was the chief guest.

The research presents inputs from about 250 participants across 150 plus organisations over the last two months including 46 interviews with Board Members, CEOs, CHROs, C-suite leaders and PwC industry leaders as well as 203 survey responses from CXOs and business leaders from industries such as energy, utility and resources; financial services; healthcare; IT, media and communication; retail and consumer; infrastructure, manufacturing and automotive.

J Ravikanth Reddy, founder & CEO, PQuest and president NHRDN-Hyderabad, instrumental in bringing this report, said, the paper tries to answer aspects such as-How can organisational design support the business dynamics of the future? Which emerging organisational capabilities are critical for success in the future of work? And which paradigms of culture and engagement do organisations need to rewrite?

Covid-19 leading to organisational shift
J Ravikanth Reddy

Organisational design

About 59 per cent of the survey respondents expect the operating model and organisational structure to see the biggest shifts in the coming times. The respondents feel that 25 per cent of the workforce will move to a work-from-anywhere model and 16 per cent of the work will be automated going forward.

One-third of the survey respondents feel that employee productivity has reduced. In terms of exploring external talent, 12 per cent of the respondents are looking at outsourcing some business functions while nine per cent say they may hire freelancers with relevant skills.

While work will be done from company offices, co-working spaces and virtually, organisations will look at repurposing workplaces, redefining ‘ways of working’ and ‘work from anywhere guidelines’, offering improved choice and flexibility of where/how employees choose to work, virtual teaming and coaching, enabling data protection with adequate cyber security checks and infrastructure for remote working collaboration.

Organisational capability

The joint-study shows, with changes in the ways of working, organisations are facing certain key shifts underpinning organisational and leadership capabilities. The report presents a significant change in the pre-Covid scenario and the new ecosystem that has evolved now, he noted.

From control-led close supervision of work within the confines of the physical workspace, organisations have shifted to a self-managed ecosystem, with tighter systemic controls to monitor productivity. Organisations that witnessed bias for high people-touch elements are now witnessing high leverage of technology and process automation with more focus on personalised experiences.

From reliance on specialised talent with high person-dependence for certain jobs/roles, organisations are now building ‘multi-hatted’ talent with transferable skills and increased process-dependence. Organisations which have seen heavy reliance on ‘individual’ leadership capability are seeing ‘distributive’ leadership that is adaptive and learning-based.

About 60 per cent of leaders prefer building capabilities in the existing employees to address the changing skill requirements as compared to sourcing externally.

Organisational culture

He said, “The report shows that flexibility, work from home support and health & wellness are the top employee expectations in organisations. To ensure flexibility, organisations are giving employees who commute long distances the option to work remotely on a partial/permanent basis. Return-to-work is being designed for employees depending on the nature of work, client requirements and functional delivery.”

To enable work from home, organisations are giving fixed amounts or soft loans to its employees for purchasing and setting up personal infrastructure that will aid in remote working, data protection with cyber security checks to ensure work continuity and tools for remote working collaboration. They are also redefining ‘ways of working’ and ‘work from anywhere guidelines’.

Companies are repurposing their employee health and safety proposition to ‘Return to Work’, assessing which offices are fit for work and ensuring proper compliance at plant locations, developing an in-house infection risk assessment application for individuals working in factories besides other steps.

Reddy added, “We are all aware that the workplace, workforce and the nature of work itself are rapidly transforming, and the three levers of design, leadership and culture need to come together to create a different employee and customer experience.”

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