The benefits of flexible work options may seem like an effective employee engagement strategy. But it’s also igniting an urgent call to connect the dots between fragmented and siloed HR administrative processes, employee data, workforce analytics, and learning management systems.
According to research from Oxford Economics and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), sponsored by SAP, 35% of midsize businesses across India plan to stagger the number of employees in their workplace at once for the foreseeable future. However, the study suggests growing concern over the need for investment and more aggressive adoption of specific technologies to remain competitive with their peers and larger competitors.
For companies with limited resources, capital, and time, this gap in the employee experience can feel overwhelming. Short-term needs for dramatic change often take precedence over long-term talent strategies. Meanwhile, little mindshare and money are left to invest in advanced applications – such as guided decision-making and process automation – that provide the fast, informed, and human-centric flow of their everyday work that their workforce wants.
So how can growing businesses provide employees with the tools they’re ready to adopt in a financially viable manner? By incrementally modernizing the work experience with cloud solutions as needs arise.
Incremental modernization drives employee success
One prime example of midsize businesses adopting this line of thinking in my local region is PI Industries, based in Gurgaon. Having grown more than 30% within a year after a major acquisition, the company had a rapidly expanding workforce and needed to integrate many inherited systems and a different organizational culture.
To standardize processes, increase transparency, and enhance the employee experience, PI Industries integrated its HR processes on a common, cloud-based HR platform. This decision replaced disparate on-premise systems and manual processes and provided a central repository for all employee data, a single source of truth, and enhanced reporting capabilities.
Going from little to no control over recruiting, onboarding, and other HR activities to a fast, paperless, unified, and highly transparent experience, PI Industries is better equipped to address gaps in its HR processes. The company can identify skills gaps, roll out targeted training to strengthen competency in critical areas, and develop talent in meaningful ways. Additionally, reviews are completed on schedule, and approximately 50 new hires are onboarded each month – even during India’s government-mandated COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
This cloud-based approach empowers growing companies like PI Industries to commit to an ongoing transformation strategy that places the needs of their people front and center – which is a considerable asset and competitive differentiator. And no, this doesn’t mean that they need to implement 200 new functionalities and tools and 15 different ways to customize their user experience like a large enterprise does.
While new ways of working demand new skills and digital capabilities, employees still desire more streamlined, flexible, and productive approaches to getting work done – no matter their location, job type, and personal situation. A complete solution is needed, but it needs to scale as business needs change, growth expands, and requirements shift to handle fluctuating bandwidth, evolving constraints, and increasing limitations.
Then, with the guidance of a partner, organizations can determine the capabilities and solutions needed and the optimal timing of their adoption to seize opportunities and mitigate risk in meaningful ways. For example, partners can craft a digital transformation road map and help ensure stable and scalable solutions to meet the business’s strategic objectives. Furthermore, they can support process standardization and simplification across the organization’s operations while harmonizing and digitalizing end-to-end processes across all functional areas.
Gradual digital maturity fuels continuous growth
Most companies may be complacent with their current technology and ability to navigate a changing work environment. Still, the daunting task of recovering from a pandemic in the months and years ahead requires much more. And for most midsize businesses, this challenge means overcoming a digital divide created by deploying applications used by competitors and addressing one-off, short-term needs.
Looking at their digital transformation with a long-term view and the inclusion of cloud technology, companies can build a foundation that adapts as needs change, stabilizes operations, and limits disruption. Then, over time, the work experience that employees want and need is delivered at their pace – everywhere and anywhere they need it.
This article was first published on Forbes and written by James Thomas, Vice President of SAP SuccessFactors – India