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57% senior executives feel remote work is a disadvantage for organizations: Survey

Organizations in India have been keen to adopt new leading-edge workforce technologies, but they have not been successful in implementing them rapidly, according to a survey. KellyOCG’s 2021 Workforce Agility Report said that 49 per cent of executives in India said their organization is adopting new talent management technologies, but 50 per cent also said they are too slow to adopt technologies such as AI and automation. Also, 55 per cent said their workforce lacks the skills to be able to adopt new technologies at a pace. Pete Hamilton, Vice President and Regional Director - APAC, KellyOCG, said, “The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in India have forced employers to move towards remote work, and a hybrid work model will likely be the way forward. Organizations are still apprehensive about adopting the changing dynamics and thus a shift in both mindset and strategy is required. It’s clear that business leaders have been trying to implement various policies to help employees, but full execution is needed to reap the intended benefits.”

Employees are struggling to adjust to working remotely Business leaders in India say they will continue to offer hybrid work models and remote work opportunities to cater to the changing needs of employees who are balancing priorities at work and at home, but survey results indicate that employees are struggling to adjust to working remotely. The report highlighted that 66 per cent of executives in India said their organization will adopt a hybrid model. However, 57 per cent also said that remote work is mostly a disadvantage for their organization. To address these discrepancies and help staff adjust to the changes in work mechanisms, organizations are focusing on up-and reskilling their permanent employees. In addition, businesses have been employing more contingent workers who are familiar with new technologies and are equipped to bridge workforce gaps, the survey found. More than half (55 per cent) of organizations said they will employ more contingent labour to improve resilience and take their workforce agility to the next level. By comparison, in other regions across Asia-Pacific, about half (47 per cent) of companies surveyed said they have employed more contingent talent than usual since the onset of the pandemic, while a similar number (43 per cent) said they are using contingent talent to bridge skills gaps in their workforce.

To build mutual trust between permanent and contingent labour, employers have also been focusing on improving diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) solutions, and gradually implementing other policies to create a more accommodating work environment.40 per cent of respondents said their organization is focused on improving its DEI policies and 67 per cent said overall employee satisfaction has improved. Organizations will need to continue restructuring policies India is still recovering from the initial onset of the pandemic and the effects of the second wave. With the possibility of a third wave in a few months, organizations will need to continue restructuring policies to meet the shifting demands of the situation. Globally, the KellyOCG study also identified a group of leading organizations – the ‘Vanguards’ – who report employee wellbeing and productivity have significantly improved within their organizations during the pandemic, alongside improved revenue growth over the past three years. These leaders, which made up approximately 10 per cent of respondents, are taking a strategic, long-term approach to improve the resilience, agility and wellbeing of their workforces, compared with the ‘Laggards’ (respondents that report a decline in employee wellbeing and productivity over the past 12 months). Specifically, the data revealed four key global dynamics of the Vanguards’ response to the pandemic that is helping them build a more agile and resilient workforce and a more profitable business. The report said that Vanguards amplify workforce fluidity. They are more likely to have a comprehensive strategy for bridging skills gaps by employing new talent, bringing on temporary labour (63 per cent), and implementing re-skilling initiatives (52 per cent). Besides, Vanguards are building a better employee experience as 91 per cent of Vanguards say that improving the employee experience is as high a business priority as improving the customer experience. The study further highlighted that Vanguards are improving DEI. While many still only pay lip service to DEI programs, Vanguards are making them a priority and are more likely to have company-wide DEI strategies. Also, Vanguards understand that adopting leading-edge technologies is critical to managing a workforce in flux. They are far more likely to deploy new tools to better manage all talent, boost collaboration and enhance the employee experience. The survey was conducted among more than 1,000 senior executives across 13 countries.

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