As recorded on July 13th 2020, there have been approximately 13.1 million victims of COVID-19 pandemic globally and sadly, the numbers are increasing each day. From leading corporate giants to local SMEs, booming startups to roadside ventures, irrespective of the industry and geography, all businesses are facing a challenging need to focalize on business continuity. Based on a study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois, Harvard Business School and the University of Chicago, in the US, around 100,000 small businesses closed down permanently due to government lockdown and new regulations.
This black swan event has been a major wake up call for all businesses. They have been relooking at their digital goals, with questions like, Are they ‘digital’ enough? Did their incumbent Business Continuity Plan work? Is more introspection needed to craft a better strategy for upcoming financial quarters? What are the actions that are critical to success? And how quickly?
Employee engagement: Crucial to organization’s success
The pandemic has shifted the focus of all strategies to people and their health. With the new normal of remote working, employee engagement has become more relevant than before to ensure enhanced employee performance and superior business outcomes.
Quantum Workplace defines employee engagement as the strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel towards their places of work. In a report prepared by Harvard Business Review, 71% of respondents ranked employee engagement as very important to achieving overall organizational success. Since long, organizations have been developing tangible ways to tackle the goal of improving employee engagement. The major inter-dependent factors leading to employee engagement are overall experience, cultural dynamics, career growth and personal development (See Figure 1).
Best-practice companies have already developed measuring and monitoring tools for managing employee engagement better.
Figure 1: Major factors for employee engagement
Emerging Technologies: Empowering employees and business
Largely, corporates are dealing with the challenge to understand the changing dynamics of employee engagement. The overall organizational strategy, working ergonomics, cross-functional collaboration between businesses add up to form a major part of employee’s experience in an organization which directly affects the employee’s engagement. Various researches concluded employee retention to be directly proportional to employee engagement, which directly affects organization’s growth. Hence, corporates need to leverage emerging technologies not only to retain talent but also to improve performance and employee experience.
Figure 2: Emerging technologies affecting organization’s success via employee engagement
Figure 2 explains the cycle of enhancement in employee engagement, which in turn improves the organization’s performance. Technologies like Robotics/Intelligent Process Automation assist in automating mundane and repetitive tasks, which creates capacity in the workforce for productive work and overall cost reduction with adherence to compliances. UiPath, a leading robotic process automation (RPA) vendors, has saved over 700 man-days per annum for one of their professional services client while improving productivity and accuracy. Cognitive OCR (Optical Character Recognition) solution digitizes the document/invoice data for faster digital transactions with a cognitive decision-making algorithm. This frees up workforce from the data conversion task and reduces the overall handling time with accuracy. A dominant leader in the OCR space, ABBY, has assisted in creation of accurate and automated invoice processing system for a leading BPO organization with paperless environment
Cloud & Analytics technologies not only help in data management and extracting meaningful insights from the underlying data but also suggest quick actions for the users through cognitive levers. Collaborative meeting solutions enable remote encrypted connectivity across organizations for seamless business communication and knowledge transfer. Hyperautomation solutions comprise of technologies like process automation with intelligent OCR and advance analytics, working in tandem to produce maximum use-case productivity and improving customer experience and satisfaction.
The upcoming 5G market aims to subsidize the technology for deeper penetration across the globe. This will affect the efficiency of working remotely and boost employee productivity.
The resilient future with digital
We are enduring challenging times, wherein businesses need to create robust business strategies to survive and sustain. Deploying digital technologies would help make the businesses more resilient to impacts from disasters like a recession or a pandemic.
Simultaneously, employees will also need to upskill to ensure they are competent enough to keep up with emerging market trends. The workforce needs to align with the organization’s shifting mission and vision to be sustainable in the long run.
Emerging technologies like enterprise-level process automation with customer relationship management, hyper-automation using collective solutions of AI, ML, and RPA, and advanced analytics have been the vital drivers propelling industries towards improved efficiency and enhanced customer experience. It has affected the lives of employees across the globe in a better way.
Organizations were always in need of digital technologies for enhancing efficiencies and the COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst in accelerating the transformation.
Assistant Manager – Solution Architect for Automation Solutions, Wipro
Veeral is a technophile and technology evangelist with experience in designing end-to-end digital solutions. He is an MBA graduate in Strategy & Marketing from IIM Indore and holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from COEP.