By Rajesh Varrier, EVP, Head of Digital Experience & Microsoft Business, Infosys
Remote working has evolved from a good-to-have feature during the pre-pandemic times to now a basic expectation from workers. With remote work becoming the preference of employees everywhere, 65% of senior executives say that they are increasing remote working options to attract and retain talent.
However, to effectively enable seamless remote working, organizations need to continuously modernize their technology systems and automate processes that hinder productivity. The 21st century workplace is made up of agile, diverse, and productive teams that are equipped with the right technology for optimized collaboration.
According to the Infosys Knowledge Institute’s Future of Work 2023 report, firms that push automation to most of their work activities can expect a significant impact on top line and bottom line.
Firms that turn to non-conventional hiring approaches such as considering candidates from community colleges and vocational programs are likely to witness higher increase in revenue and profits as opposed to those that solely approach universities. Also, firms that invest in diverse talent prove to be innovative and pushing the envelope.
Workplace automation: The next in digital transformation
The research reveals that while the past two years have been about remote working, the next two will be about workplace automation and modernization. Workers prefer flexible working options, but that comes with trade-offs.
The research reveals that employees are unhappy with the tools that require significant technology resources and personal focus to use effectively. Hybrid meetings can be difficult, with those joining remotely finding it difficult to engage while those in the room talk among themselves. And video calls can create anxiety or weariness among users.
In the future, workers indicate increased use of emails but lesser use of video calls. Collaboration based on interactions that are face-to-face, or on tools supporting chat, conversations, such as Slack, and augmented reality or virtual reality (AR/VR) are also expected to grow in the next two years.
Going forward, workplace automation and modernization will be the top focus areas for companies: some 30% of respondents said this is a key priority for the next two years. These investments will lead to the modernization of about half of the legacy technology estate (of companies across the US, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand) over the next two years, rising to between 80% and 90% within the next five years. This transition will be driven by advanced data and analytics capabilities, application programming interfaces (APIs) and microservices architectures, as well as artificial intelligence (AI) tools.
We found that automation is linked to revenue and profits. Moving from “no automation” to “completely automated” is correlated with a rise in profits of 3.4%, and a 3.9 % point change in revenue.
This potential monetary benefit points to the productivity increase companies could achieve as a result of better digital enablement. However, it requires meticulous measurement and tracking of the relevant metrics to ensure progress is on track. These metrics include employee productivity as a whole (top priority), as well as others such as amount of remote work, digital adoption levels, employee experience, and health and well-being.
Talent diversity improves retention, which enhances productivity
As employees continue to leave their jobs at increasingly higher rates each year, organizations need to look to new ways to attract and retain talent. The Future of Work research finds that expanding and diversifying the sources of new talent, and reskilling the existing workforce is also strongly correlated with better financial outcomes.
As far as the sources of new talent are concerned, there are three in particular that are correlated to increases in profit and revenue change. These are external skills marketplaces, universities, and community colleges, including polytechnics or vocational programs. Together, these sources of talent are associated with a rise in profits of 3.9 percentage points, and a rise of 2.4 points in revenue.
Companies told us that they will increase their hiring from universities over the next two years but were less focused on community colleges as a source of new talent. Given a strong correlation between community college hiring and the top- and bottom-line growth, businesses should look to those sources to find new employees. As well as finding new talent from more diverse sources, firms should also look to the talent they already have. Reskilling existing employees boosts retention: better training corresponds to better business growth. Every 10% improvement in the proportion of new skills being used in the workplace is correlated with an uplift of 0.3 percentage points in both revenues and pre-tax profits.
The advice to businesses is clear: tapping into a wider and more diverse pool of talent while continuing to modernize the business and training existing staff should boost your bottom line.