According to International Data Corporation (IDC) surveys, many organisations are in a digital deadlock because they are failing to engage their people, bring their skills up to date with new digital requirements and align their cultural organisations with their new vision and business goals. These are some of the crucial challenges addressed by the Future of Work (FoW) framework.

The FoW is not only a technology revolution, but also, fundamentally, an organisational and cultural transformation. The latter is most challenging for European organisations, and employee resistance to change is the hardest battle of all.

Implementing an FoW strategy is far from straightforward. In fact, according to IDC studies, only 29 per cent of European companies claim to have an enterprise-wide FoW strategy (see Figure 1). They are the FoW leaders.

Many FoW lingerers are looking for ways to progress in the FoW journey but don’t know how to do it. How have FoW leaders managed to be ahead of the game? IDC has identified the following common traits:

  • The leaders are borderless organisations. Employee, customer and partner interactions take place in a distributed and secure enterprise that conducts business from outside the traditional corporate firewall. Their borderless cultures foster ecosystem collaboration beyond borders and help drive creativity and velocity.
  • Their smart working environment is an expression of their corporate branding. Their workspace drives employee productivity and collaboration plus well-being. This transformative effort also brings considerable cost savings and environmental efficiencies.
  • They take a human-centric approach in the adoption of intelligent technologies. Implementing artificial intelligence, robotics and intelligent process automation software technologies augments and expands their workforce. Their thorough change management programme includes reskilling and upskilling.
  • They are driving a holistic employee experience. The latter is not only about empowering workers with the right tools to get the job done, but also supporting employees’ career growth with the right mentorship and skilling program. Creating superior experiences keeps the workforce engaged and motivated. These employees, in turn, deliver great services and experiences to the company’s customers.
  • They are agile and highly collaborative organizations. Many are extending the agile methodologies initially adopted by their DevOps teams, and implementing them enterprise-wide to drive cross-functional collaboration. Their fluid environment is more dynamic and responsive to market changes.

Furthermore, the business leaders in FoW-leading companies have special qualities. These leaders are primarily tasked to set direction for change and are “masters of people skills”. They can effectively engage their workforce towards a shared vision and create a sense of belonging and idealism.

Being a leader in the Future of Work is not easy, but having a people-centric culture that is keen to embrace change starts these companies off on the right foot and in the right direction for a fascinating journey.