Building a Human-Centric Organization
Money, title, fame, or power can’t make any difference for an organization until they exhibit being human. In most organizations, the workforce has become units of production and is hugely treated as resources more than a human. HR should not be a focus on people as resources rather help in rebuilding a human-centric experience with more human capabilities, for the future workforce, for a better adaptive culture, and for a sustainable organization.
When the workplace is built on trust and respect, encourages motivation and engagement, it automatically helps people find meaning in their work and contributions. And organizations, in turn, attract and retain top talent, and all these make a big difference in the results, their growth, and sustainability. Also, it is necessary to use technology appropriately in the workplace, which will not only boost productivity and efficiency but also create an opportunity for a human-centric experience.
If we want to establish a human-centric experience, we should focus on reskilling ourselves and should also consider humanization as a benefit. We can desire a world, where we will humanize again or rehumanize, especially to restore human rights and capabilities and moving from a machine to a living system.
Digital disruption can however also be an opportunity to build future-proof organizations. Here are six principles that should be embraced in order to guide the impactful changes that enable adaptive cultures.
1. Ensuring Focus on Experience; Customer, Employee & Digital (CX, EX, DX)
The first principle entails gaining a holistic understanding of the importance of the customer, employee, and digital experience and adapting values and ways of working to enable the optimization and evolution of the customer experience.
To ensure the organizational culture is adaptive to the demands of the external environment and customer needs, leaders and their teams need to continuously reflect on the purpose of the organization, as well as to determine and be clear about what value the organization adds to customers and to the market. In order to understand the purpose, it’s important to analyze and understand why you exist, what your real value is and how this is evident in your customer experience.
2. Empowerment and Ownership of the Change
The second principle in building an adaptive culture is empowerment and ownership. Empowerment requires that leaders share the accountability and ownership for driving change. Leaders need to empower people to enhance the end-to-end customer experience and take ownership for the transformation strategy, integration of agile processes, creating an integrated digital roadmap, and fast execution of results.
An ownership culture requires flat hierarchies and horizontal collaboration so that the workforce feels empowered. Of course, people need to be equipped with the skills (including digital savvy) to ensure they have the capacity to take ownership. Recruiting digitally skilled people and upskilling can support the digital transformation. Culture change initiatives and coaching for change will support people build the psychological capability and mindset to take ownership.
3. Collaborating Across Silos to Learn and Leverage Collective Insight
The third important principle in the Triple eX adaptive culture is collaboration. Organizations today are moving towards flat structures, transparent communication, organization-wide data sharing, cross-functional collaboration, and collaboration across the ecosystem.
This means collaborating with partners, vendors, and especially with customers to ensure that customer feedback is heard and included in the end-to-end value-adding customer solutions. Collaborative organizations have open communication, empowerment, info-sharing, honest relationships, trust, flat hierarchies, and most importantly, self-aware leaders who are prepared to collaborate with others to make the organization successful.
4. External Focus
Due to constant and fast-paced change in today’s marketplace, organizations need to be hypersensitive to trends, market developments, customer needs, advances in technology, and to be acutely driven by what is happening on the external market. Customer-centricity and external focus are key to sustainable growth.
Leading organizations, large and small, and especially the likes of Google, Amazon, Netflix, etc. all use outside-in digital transformation principles; data analytics, emerging technologies, trend awareness, innovation, fast releases (MVP) to develop an enhanced and relevant CX and service models to transform the business.
5. Building Resilience to Deal with Change
Arguably one of the most important principles in building an adaptive culture is resilience and future-proofing the organization to deal effectively with constant change, uncertainty, and ambiguity. To thrive in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) business climate, organizations need to continuously reappraise their context, innovate and be able to nimbly respond to changes.
Successful organizations see setbacks as opportunities to learn, and they will foster ongoing learning and agility within their teams in order to achieve success. Agile and adaptive organizations test their systems and structures to ensure that they enable innovation and nimble responses.
Resilience is all about bouncing back from failures and the ability to embrace experimentation and learning. Truly agile organizations seek feedback, respond to feedback, and reappraise regularly with the goal of maintaining resiliency.
6. Results-Driven Transformation
The sixth principle in building an adaptive culture entails focusing on delivering quantifiable and quality results, at speed. There is a fundamental difference between managing a traditional change project with predictable outcomes in a relatively stable environment and enabling constant change and performance in today´s volatile, fast-paced digital economy.
Change agility needs to be embedded in the DNA of organizations and this means that leaders and teams bypass lengthy preparation, prioritize impactful objectives, deliver and execute at speed, using agile principles and performance metrics.
Adaptable organizations prioritize high-impact work that meets the current and future needs of their customers. Organizations need to discard meaningless objectives, eliminate redundant processes and work, and any activity that isn’t adding value. It’s important to be critical within the organization with the goal of enhancing the employee experience, digital experience, and customer experience thereby sustaining relevance and realizing growth.
- Soumyasanto Sen, Digital HR and Transformation Coach – TEC Leadership Institute, Germany
- Dr. Christine McCarthy, Managing Director, People& Culture – TEC Leadership Institute, Germany