Crisis as a leader of change in the digitalisation process and organisation of companies
This epidemic is something that the world had not fully anticipated, and has changed our relationship with work overnight; a lot of businesses have been forced to go digital in order to ensure continuity. While the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced significant uncertainty about what the future holds and the impact of this humanitarian crisis, one thing is clear: we live in a much more digital world.
The number of people experiencing working remotely (many for the first time) in this situation is immense, and they have a lot of questions. One of the most frequent topics is about successfully negotiating the sudden switch to digital. As many were forced to turn to digital collaborative work tools to get the job done, the very meaning of the word “collaborate” has evolved. Companies have had to embrace the prospect of their processes becoming digitally modified on some level. Across departments in companies, we can see that the mastery of technologies and the ability to use them gives a real advantage in this crisis; the best-performing companies have a digital strategy that’s tightly aligned with the business’s overall strategy.
The ongoing transformation was certainly not conducted according to a vision and executed step-by-step, following a well laid-out strategy. Companies have had to adapt in a hurry, in order to reduce adverse impacts on the business as much as possible, when it was possible. Businesses have thus had to show agility in driving the digital changes they needed in order to merely stay open. The IT sector, in addition to showing resilience in the face of the pandemic, has been at the forefront of the digital transition. Digital has proved itself to be a key service and developmental lever for all sectors.
Fundamentals of company success in this transition
Collaboration based on trust: The company’s confidence in its teams, many of which might have found themselves isolated. The trust of customers in the company to abruptly change their collaboration habits and always be in line with their DNA is also essential.
Agile adaptation: The flexibility made possible by this confidence, which allows companies to imagine new and radical solutions and anticipate the next move in order to always better satisfy its customers.
Customers in the centre: Companies must ensure that the customer remains at the heart of all decisions. In today’s environment, this means developing a clear vision of how customer habits and behaviours are changing, who is likely to stay and what the implications for the business are. To increase work efficiency and minimise disruption for our customers, we have strengthened our technical support teams who are used to giving advice and solving problems remotely.
The quality of the experience lived by all employees is not cosmetic: on the contrary, it is at the very heart of an organisation’s performance and its sustainability over time. Employees who are committed and connected to their company will be empowered to make the necessary efforts to survive a crisis. At the same time, the inclusive management of diverse and rich teams across various demographics including gender, age, experience, education profiles, is the key to developing innovation, which in turn supports the sustainable financial growth of the organisation.
It is important to adapt the management methods to working with teams that are physically distant. Knowing how to lead a team, remotely, in project mode has become a key issue for managers in the digital age. Remote work requires a particular adaptation for each individual. The manager must take into account the time needed for each individual to adapt to the new work situation, to organise his/her days and work space.
There is no miracle method that applies to all teams in the same way, so one must learn to test and adapt, to co-construct in collective intelligence with one’s teams.
Our first focus at Canon was to maintain the close link with the teams. We quickly offered them the necessary online tools to exchange and facilitate this new reorganisation and to better deal with the confinement that we all suddenly had to face. It was also a question of co-constructing our new way of being and working together by relying on existing structures such as our learning and development portal.
These essentials of remote management adapted in times of crisis aim to develop a soothing work climate and trust within the team, a sine qua non condition to continue any activity and come out of this crisis in a better way.
As a result of this pandemic and now that many employees have experienced this new way of working, remote work could also become a way for an employer to brand their company. Working from home could align with expectations of employees who want a better work/life balance.
Somesh Adukia: Managing Director for Canon Central & North Africa