Dubai: How fast should a business in the UAE and elsewhere go in for a full-scale digital makeover? The answer obviously is – as fast as possible, but make sure the workforce is ready to come along.
New research from the US tech major Dell Technologies reckons that the whole process could stall from people’s ‘resistance to change’. In fact, more than 57 per cent of UAE business leaders in the survey thought along these lines.
But there can be no stopping digital change in itself. The Covid years have brought clarity on the how and where businesses need to tap digital, and not just at certain management levels in an organisation.
So, while ‘more than half of IT leaders in the UAE say their organisation knows what it takes to digitally transform a workforce, many employees are now facing a challenge to keep up the pace’.
And stalling at any point in the transition carry with it extreme risk. “To make this human-machine partnership happen, businesses need to understand people’s behaviour and mindset towards technology and change,” said Walid Yehia, Senior Director and General Manager – UAE at Dell Technologies.
“They must apply empathy to everything, from responsive and trusted technology designs that put the end-user experience first, to thoughtful transformational change programs that drive excitement and purpose.”
Much has been made about the need for workforces to be upskilled to handle change brought on by digital. So, what’s the best way to co-opt everyone into this task?
Businesses can delegate repetitive tasks to automated processes and free up people to focus on higher-value work,” the Dell official said. “Why is this so important? It’s increasingly acknowledged that companies are only as extraordinary as their people.
“Indeed, 92% of UAE business leaders believe their people are their ‘greatest asset’. So, delegating repetitive tasks to automated processes and freeing up people to learn new skills, technologies and focus on higher value work will help drive real business transformation.”
And UAE workers are OK with going through the upskill processes. In fact, “73 per cent of UAE respondents look forward to learning new skills and technologies, to help elevate their careers so that presents a clear need for upskilling,” said Yehia.
“It’s important to understand that when done right - technology investments can reduce costs while combating a challenging business environment. Technology is the enabler to human capacity, so businesses need to look at people, technology and processes as a whole, to be successful.”
The work continues
Nearly three-quarters of respondents in the UAE feel the need for their organisations to provide the necessary tools and infrastructure to work anywhere - along with the autonomy to choose their preferred working pattern. Their worry is being left behind ‘because they don't have the right technology to shift to a highly distributed model’.
To get over this, ‘Businesses also need to make work equitable for people with different needs, interests, and responsibilities by focusing on the following factors that will eventually lead to increased business success,” Dell report states.
• Define the company’s ongoing commitment to flexible work arrangements and the practicalities of making it work.
• Equip leaders to manage remote teams effectively and equitably.
• Empower employees to choose their preferred working pattern and provide the necessary tools/infrastructure.
Currently, 32 per cent in the UAE say their work is stimulating and not repetitive, and 73 per cent of the UAE respondents ‘look forward’ to learning new, sought-after skills and technologies.
The Dell research shows ‘empathy has to inform decision making’, from simplifying technology for half of respondents from the UAE who often feel overwhelmed by complex technologies, to tailoring programs to individuals’ skills, where nearly half of the employees surveyed in the UAE believe their leaders do this.
Now is the time for organisations to ensure their workforce is supported and has clarity on the next stage of implementation. Companies can support and equip their people to innovate through better connectivity, productivity, and empathy