A survey by Korn Ferry found that many chief executives have a lack of confidence in the people in their organizations, while putting a higher value on technology and tangible assets. More than 60% surveyed said technology would be the firm’s greatest source of competitive advantage in the next five years, while almost 70% said this technology will soon create greater value than people will.
Jean-Marc Laouchez, global managing director of solutions at Korn Ferry, said leaders can have a “tangibility bias” that encourages them to prioritize thinking, planning and execution on tangible assets rather than people. “Soft skills such as the ability to lead and manage culture will become critical factors of success for companies in the future of work as they need to maximize their value through people,” says Laouchez.
Organizations can use new technologies not only to optimize processes, but also to optimize their human capital. Advanced HR departments are now using analytics at the C-suite level to optimize human potential and labor through precise scheduling and understanding employee motivations. They’re also testing new organizational structures and philosophies around management.
Timothy Manhardt, practice manager at Kronos, says leaders should look to automation, accessibility and education as primary drivers of improvement and optimization. Businesses also can tap into new solutions to deliver work-related information directly to the smartphones of employees. Mobile self-service tools also can boost engagement tools and enable employees to have more ownership in daily decisions. The key is to leverage technology not for the sake of technology, but to enable people.
“Soft skills such as the ability to lead and manage culture will become critical factors of success for companies in the future of work as they need to maximize their value through people.”
“Optimization isn’t just about technology, it is more about supporting the people who use the technology…Combining systems, processes and people to achieve meaningful change, especially when the intended outcome is to improve productivity and support employee engagement, is a complex task that must be nurtured,” says
Leveraging technology to optimize workforce management may require CEOs to influence some changes in organizational structure. Biro says that with the growing millennial workforce, there are more flat organizations with little hierarchy where “managing up” is part of the workforce management system.
“It is clear that large, slow moving, siloed organizations are susceptible to disruption—and they may never see it coming. Companies that embrace a more streamlined, fast-moving culture already are reaping the benefits,” says Biro.