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5 ways for employers to think differently in 2018

Jeremy Blain, regional managing director, Cegos Asia Pacific, on the five must-dos for organisations to sustain their health amid a bold, new era.

Many organisations have reached a point where fundamental transformation is a must-do, not a nice to do. With that comes bold new thinking, clear vision, broader purpose, (bigger) new budgets and the mobilisation of great people to make it happen. In short, we have to be braver, stronger and most of all prepared to think / do differently.

But how? What are the top focus areas for organisations now? Who is succeeding in this time of shift? Where is the spend and what is being done about it internally to help everyone – from the top down – to unlearn what we knew, relearn new ways and keep learning?

Here are 5 must-dos essential for the health of our organisations.

1) Preparing leaders / leadership pipeline adequately with knowledge and skills to navigate the future

This is about preparing mentality as well as taking actions, making the decisions that will evolve the organisation and being able to compete effectively in the marketplace. It starts with understanding what is happening out there and how organisations are winning in an ever-shifting business environment.

2) Creating a culture of innovation

A culture of innovation can be defined as: A setting that enables new and creative thinking, linked closely to business direction, shareholder value creation (or similar) through improving and launching bold new products, solutions, services that provides the competitive edge for the organisation and fulfills the evolving needs of our customers.

It starts with learning – educating the organisation leaders and managers in what it is, how to do it and the steps to implement innovation. It needs to be at the heart of how the company operates, recognises and rewards.

Clarity is built from the top down through clear communication and this leads to action, acceptance and implementation.

3) Organisational mindset and roadmap for change

The rapidly evolving workplace is fluid and flexible, helping the organisation to more rapidly shift and change with the needs of the market, its customers, its partners and new disruptive competitors. This is as much about protecting our people as much as the business.

On this change journey we need to build an organisation that is attractive to talent, that retains our performers, builds a strong leadership pipeline and provides an environment for each person to grow and contribute in meaningful ways.

It’s an attitude, a state of organisational mind. With that comes a clearer vision of what change is needed. Clarity is built from the top down through clear communication and this leads to action, acceptance and implementation.

4) Transforming the organisation in the digital era through technology and tools

Much is talked about in terms of digital transformation – but even working in a learning organisation, I see little out there that is focused on helping organisations navigate the digital divide – i.e. what are the new technologies that can better enable the business and its people? What is appropriate technology versus tech that is ‘fashionable’? Are we guilty of going for the new fad rather than function and focus when considering technology? You'd be surprised...

IoT, big data, blockchain, fintech, AR, VR, MR, AI, robotics – are all these just words to your organisation? Or are you investigating whether they are appropriate, how you might use them and how to integrate new ways of working, fueled by tools like these?

The interesting thing is that the items above are often ‘discussed’ but you have to look much wider to for where they are ‘taught’.

5) Transforming the organisation in the digital era (the human touch)

The secret to success in the digital era? People.

The human heart of our organisations is arguably more important than ever and we need to do more to help our people through the environment of constant change we find ourselves in. Many organisations have become short-term as they chase ‘the numbers’ – pressuring their talented contributors to do more with less and deliver more as part of their job scope.

Some more enlightened organisations are actively investing in new ways of working and, with it, new ways of learning that are more personalised, adapted to the new demands of the workplace and future-focused to build skills that prepare our organisation for the way ahead.

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