Culture, leadership and analytics matter more

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Culture, leadership and analytics matter more

Australian companies are focused on flattening leadership hierarchies and getting the culture right. By using smart data they will help meet the need to improve their employees’ experiences at work.

In the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2016: The new organisation: Different by design, Australian business and human capital executives lead the world in their ranking of leadership and culture at (94%), and people an­alytics (86%), with engagement or the way we feel about our workplaces also critical at (88%).

Globally the 7096 global executive level re­spondents rated organisational design as their priority (92%). In Australian we marked it at 87% important/very important. The good news for Australian workers is that more than 55% of executive level respondents believe they have a ‘very good’ or ‘good’ understanding of organ­isational design, compared with 49% globally.

Leadership, culture and technology

Globally and locally all businesses realise they have to adapt to rapidly evolving business ecosystems more quickly. They are turning to technology as the facilitator.

  • Almost three-quarters of executives (74%) identified digital HR, the complete redesign of HR tools and services around digital technology, as a top priority
  • 59% are shifting their back-office HR sys­tems to mobile in an effort to make them easier to use by employees
  • 42% of companies are redesigning their HR systems to support mobile, just-in-time learning.

But technology can be both an amplifier for the positive AND the negative in terms of culture and change. When thinking about cul­ture change, we should think about both:

  1. Hard-wiring - that is the systems, pro­cesses, communications processes and channels; and
  2. Soft-wiring - the software we use and in particular the leaders behaviours.

In our experience, soft-wiring and in par­ticular leaders’ behaviours, have the greatest influence on culture, whether positive or neg­ative. We talk of the length of leaders’ shad­ows, particularly in Australia where we place the most importance on leadership out of the 16 developed countries surveyed, followed closely by China, Japan and the Netherlands (91%), and then Canada (90%).

But when it comes to technology and leadership - if leaders behave poorly, tech­nology will accelerate the negatives. Its ubiquitous nature means it enhances con­nectivity, its speed and transparency. 

On the positive side

Hyperconnectivity enables us to:

  1. Collaborate, with the right people and with diverse people, improving employee connectivity and culture as well as outcomes point of view.
  2. Feel empowered, creating personalised service, careers and work experience.
  3. Be more responsive, helping the shift from annual surveys to employee listening tools such as pulse surveys, anonymous social tools, and regular feedback check-ins by managers.

Again Australia leads the world in the im­portance it places on people analytics, and us­ing people-related data to improve, be smarter and inform all types of management, business, and HR decisions.

Millennials, teams and leadership

Leadership hierarchies are being replaced by a network of connected and empowered teams with younger, globally diverse leaders. The recent Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016: Winning over the next generation of leaders found that almost half of millennials in Aus­tralia expect to leave their organisation within the next two years.

They cite a lack of leadership-skill devel­opment and the feeling of being overlooked, which they believe is compounded by larger issues around work/life balance, their de­sire for flexibility, and a conflict of values. As millennials come from a social world, where technology and digital applications are often superior to those in organisations, these out of work experiences heighten their expectations of the workplace. They are often disappointed.

According to the global human capital trends survey only:

  • 7% of companies use mobile technology for coaching
  • 10% for performance management
  • 8% for time scheduling
  • 13% for recruiting and candidate management
  • 21% for leave requests.

So when you consider that today there are more than 7 billion mobile devices in the world, with more than 40% of all internet traf­fic driven by these devices; and that millen­nials will make up around 75% of the global workforce by 2025, getting this technology on will be critical.

Crowdsourcing, culture and purpose

In addition mobility is growing in impor­tance with the need for flexibility, and increas­ingly, a broader talent ecosystem, which is often remote. The combination of shrinking employee numbers on the balance sheet and crowdsourc­ing for instance, is becoming more significant. Australia’s ranking of this changing open econo­my is number two in the world after India.

In this new economy those organisations that are more explicit about their purpose, will be more effective when it comes to shaping their culture – the how we do things around here. And technology will enable that. An or­ganisation’s purpose statement becomes more important, the more dispersed the workforce is. And that is where technology can be so use­ful in both developing and communicating it.

Belonging, believing and behaving

Although technology can make people feel disconnected, it also can be a hugely important facilitator of how employees belong, believe and behave. Increasingly as we look to belong and be engaged, searching for something to believe in – a shared purpose – technology can be very helpful. And as we seek feedback about how we are doing - our behaviours – good ‘real time’ people analytics tools will be crucial.

And this is where the behaviour of an or­ganisation’s leaders is so critical, as technolo­gy will amplify the positive AND the negative when it comes to culture and change. A new generation of tech savvy professionals, hun­gry to develop their skills and progress more quickly to leadership roles, will pounce on the innovations in the workplace and in turn create stronger, more competitive organisations.

This article was first published in Asia-Pacific Banking & Finance.

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