indica News Bureau-
With the recent COVID-19 pandemic impacting everyone across the globe, companies are frantically scrambling to find ways to adjust to the new norm of Working from Home(WFH) and remote employees. But the toughest challenge, regardless of where your workforce works from, is to keep your employees engaged, motivated and happy.
Madhukar Govindaraju, Founder and CEO of NumlyTM, says that the team at Numly™ has successfully developed a game-changing innovation, by applying Advanced Data Science and AI to drive employee engagement in medium and large enterprises, and to accelerate professional and business growth through the cultivation of soft skills.
Govindaraju believes that knowledge sharing has to be the underpinning of any employee engagement process. With Numly™, the company is leading with people networking, skills coaching and advanced data science to usher in the future of remote work.
Most recently in 2018, Govindaraju embarked on a journey, yet again in his career, from an experienced executive in the software industry to a serial entrepreneur. With more than two decades of experience in the software industry as a GM/Product Executive, CTO, SVP Engineering, and business leader, at some of the world’s leading software companies, such as VMware, Microsoft, TriNet HR Group, Saba Software, SAP / Business Objects, Hyperion Solutions, HP, IBM, and several successful startups, Govindaraju has seen it all when it comes to initiatives on employee engagement, employee performance management, equity, diversity, inclusivity and leadership development programs at global workplaces.
But in reality, Govindaraju believes that these programs often get drowned by age-old HR customs and rigid adherence to red-tape like rules, something that companies are still struggling with.
Sharing about his own experiences, in a global software behemoth, wherein he had to deal with rejection and stonewalling from his HR Business Partners when he tried to push for deserving and talented candidates for promotions and growth opportunities, only due to antiquated HR policies relating to promotions based on seniority, “promotion velocity coefficients” and “length-in-level” metrics, under the umbrella of “top talent” and “high-potential” talent management.
Govindaraju says, he has personally seen brilliant and smart employees leave organizations they liked to work for, because the companies (and their HR teams that manage workplace culture) were riddled with ineffective employee development initiatives that emphasized maintaining hierarchical power growth rather than engagement and growth of future leaders. Women and millennials are the most affected by this apathy that is often seen in big or large organizations. It has been the driving factor in my quest to find a solution that can help companies improve employee engagement, performance, and productivity; identify, attract, and retain top talent as well as grow the next generation of business leaders.
It is hardly surprising that with remote working growing at such a phenomenal pace, personalized employee development has become even more difficult than before. It has become imperative for organizations to invest in solutions that will help them coach, train and develop a skilled workforce, irrespective of their location.
But what does it mean to engage teams working remotely? Can Advanced Data Science and AI be applied to this problem?
Identify high-potential remote employees
With companies facing acute shortage of hireable skilled employees, they are now looking internally within their workforce to identify and nurture high-potential employees who can fuel their leadership pipeline. But lack of communication between employees or departments working in silos owing to physical distance can lead to discontent, lowered motivation levels, and low productivity.
Similar to any in-house workforce, companies have to find a way to give equal opportunities to their remote workforce to develop and grow in their careers. Ensuring clear, open, and transparent communication along with a secure way to give proactive feedback is necessary to enable employees at work. Absence of face-to-face interactions should not be a roadblock to identify hard-working employees and help them navigate in their career graph.
Provide opportunities for soft skills development
Remote workers, in general, get the short end of the stick when it comes to skill development focus by organizations, compared to their other counterparts.
While it is easier to identify technical skill, development needs of the workforce, power skills such as problem-solving, communication, decision making, and collaboration, that help employees navigate challenges at their workplace can be difficult to train. The result will be the creation of a more mature and well-rounded leadership pipeline, with polished power skills that complement technical skills.
To engage teams located remotely, self-development can be an enticing factor promoted to employees. But it can be a tricky art to master, in the absence of direction, especially when it comes to an individual’s career path.
Remote workers can find it hard to know which skills to improve and focus on, especially in the absence of everyday interactions, leading to dejection and flagging engagement. Organizations have to put in the effort to keep their employees self-motivated and pushing for self-development. Leveraging tests like 16 Personality Factor (16PF) Assessments can help organizations identify their skill gap, and development needs of their workforce quantitatively.
Organizations can then leverage this information to coach their remote workforce to navigate their soft & power skills chasm and drive business growth.
Say goodbye to generic engagement programs
Organizations all over the world use archaic, one-size-fits-all engagement programs, that are mostly Survey-tool based. For example: Annual Engagement Surveys, Performance Feedback Surveys, etc. These programs don’t really deliver measurable results and they definitely do not help in engaging a remote workforce. Today’s workforce, including the Millennials, are quite vocal about their demands for personalized engagement programs, such as innovation engineering, new hire skill development, inside sales coaching, customer success team skills coaching, sales management coaching, and many more. By taking a tailored approach towards the skills development needs of your remote workforce, organizations can achieve phenomenal improvements in engagement levels, even in remote teams.
Organizations should also foster shared values, ensure that employees, irrespective of where they are located, are bound by common work principles and attitudes. These values have to be communicated clearly, and repeatedly to your remote workforce in order to boost engagement with remote teams.
Govindaraju believes that Numly’s AI-enhanced, people networking and coaching platform – NumlyEngageTM is the need of the hour for companies as they scramble to find a way to connect and engage with their work-from-home employees.
According to a 2019 Workday-Bloomberg survey, companies are 42 percent more concerned about soft skills than they’re about hard skills. Soft skills have become increasingly important in the age of robotic process automation, as companies need them to build bench strength, grow the next generation of leaders, and effectively compete in the Future of Work. NumlyEngage™ addresses these needs directly. It’s an innovative platform that enables the development of soft skills through personalized coaching, in a structured and consistent manner, enhanced by Machine Learning and AI.