As front doors close at home, another world opens for workers

The biggest questions need the boldest answers. That’s why we’re using our global scale, technology expertise and collaborative spirit to move towards a better today and a brighter tomorrow...together

From recruitment to career development and staff retention, the new environment will re-focus critical business thinking and can redefine the role of Human Resources within companies. Head of Human Resources, Australia and New Zealand, Prabal Chatterjee answers key questions senior leaders are asking about transitioning to the new normal workplace environment.

Posted: July 2020

As front doors were shut and the necessity for remote working became real, something remarkable happened. Perhaps ironically, individuals who were now physically isolated were connected by technology to explore new working practices, opportunities and self-learning programs.

We were not only free to pursue these new doors and windows, but they were encouraged to jump through them. So, what does the future look like as we slowly and carefully transition back into what is being described as the new way of working.

As part of The Big Questions series, TCS’s Head of Human Resources, Australia and New Zealand, Prabal Chatterjee, shares his learnings the past 100 days and reveals questions TCS partners and customers have been asking about the new normal of working.

Q: What advantages are there of continuing remote working into the future?

Organisations across the board are looking to maintain remote working as the new normal for at least part of their operations for the future.

Aside from key advantages and obvious savings with a remote team, such as property and maintenance, clients are satisfied knowing that quality remains state-of-the-art while employees are happier with greater flexibility and work life balance.

As TCS has discovered through our own adoption of Secure Borderless Work Spaces, organisations can achieve increases in efficiency and productivity by enhancing remote working capabilities. At TCS, we believe that by the year 2025 only 25 per cent of our global workforce would require to be in a physical office. 

Q: How is Secure Borderless Work Spaces opening the door to positive remote recruitment?

Adapting to Secure Borderless Work Spaces presents enormous opportunities to pivot our recruitment strategy and take advantage of the changes to re-invent the way employment has traditionally worked for us. Remote working capabilities enable the organisation to tap into talent across boundaries and from different countries.

Organisations can now seek the expertise and skills of people around the world and market the benefits to clients including your increased international insights and experience as well as multidimensional cultural perspectives. 

Q: How can I use Secure Borderless Work Spaces to retain talented staff and offer more attractive professional development propositions and opportunities for my employees?

It’s a common scenario for organisations to lose talent because these staff members felt they had hit a ceiling or exhausted their options to develop their career. Secure Borderless Work Spaces totally changes the game for your employees by opening up a whole new world when it comes to career development and opportunities. This in turn leads to greater staff happiness and commitment to the organisation.

Previously, staff members in Australia may not have had the ability or the option to put their hand up for a role beyond the boundaries of Australia. This we believe has the potential to change in future. People, today and beyond, no longer need to be from a particular region or geographic location close to your office to be participate in a project or take up a new role. More employees now have the chance to participate in opportunities no matter where they are located including in jurisdictions they might only have previously dreamed about.

Q: How can remote working improve my organisation’s delivery of learning and development?

To be an employer of choice, organisations have to up the ante when it comes to supporting employees’ career visions and goals. The good thing is that avoiding time-consuming commuting has given employees greater opportunities to devote more time to learning and professional development.

People understand now more than ever that there’s a need to invest in themselves, rescale their skills to adjust to our new normal work environment today and beyond. We will see more people seeking to add more competencies to their skill set and becoming experts in those areas enabling them to put their hands up for new and different roles.

It’s important to encourage learning as part of your organisational culture and overall strategy for staff retention. Organisations have far better means with remote working to deliver learning because it’s no longer restricted to training rooms but can be achieved via online programs and apps with virtual trainers on hand from anywhere and available at any time to assist with staff improvement.

From what I'm seeing through TCS’s experience with implementing Secure Borderless Work Spaces, we have a lot of increased participation in our learning programs and we’re realising that we’ve created a new default learning process. We offer courses and certifications that could cost a hefty amount outside the organization but are provided to employees for free. It comes within a supportive environment where staff are continuously encouraged to learn and grow. 

Q: How can we use remote working to reach out to more people across Australia and New Zealand?

Maintaining a functional remote working model means organisations can open their doors to people located in regional Australia and New Zealand when looking for talent. People living in regional areas where employment has been more limited also now potentially have more opportunities available to them.

To tap into these new resources, employees and employers need to have the right infrastructure and systems in place. Having secure network connections and the availability of a high-speed broadband, for example, are going to be an essential. At the outset, this means that major regional towns will likely come into greater focus while smaller regional towns will come a bit further down the track. Secure Borderless Work Spaces meant we could effectively engage and communicate with them and make them aware of what our values are and what our organisation stands for. 

Q: How will a new remote working model impact on our recruitment processes?

Recruitment processes are about identifying the right talent. Job criteria and position descriptions may have to be adapted to account for new ways of working. Giving new recruits a test project can be a good way to assess their style and capabilities and how they fit into your culture.

When it comes to skills we talk a lot about technical capabilities but equally important are a person’s behavioural competencies. In recruiting virtual workers, some skills may become even more important including the ability to collaborate effectively in online project and work, responsibility and accountability, ability to troubleshoot creatively to solve problems without requiring too much extra help, top notch organizational skills and ability to manage deadlines, motivation to work and commitment towards your organizational values. 

Q: How can we reskill and rescale our workforce to adjust to a new sales environment?

Building relationships with potential customers has always been a skill worth investing in. Our new normal means we have to rethink our approach to sales and some newer skills may be required.

Sales teams have long relied on building relationships to make inroads to an organization. We’ve often used coffee, lunch or meetings in a physical sense to strengthen rapport. These sorts of events are likely to be less of a focus in future. This means organisations need to look at a different set of skill parameters. The skills that we needed in the past, including communication skills and teamwork, project coordination and delivery and mentoring remain relevant and important. But we’re going to add a whole new realm to it. People must be able to work independently, and maintain a routine, discipline, able to leverage video and chat technology, be focused on outcomes and objectives and good at managing their time. 

Q: How do we continue to invest around the wellbeing of employees through this transitionary period?

Many organisations have boosted their investment in employee health and wellbeing in recent months. This has included online activities including virtual kitchens, yoga classes and added support for mental health.

Organisations now need to refocus on helping employees to transition back into physical workspaces in some part for some of the time. Our workplaces are unlikely to feel and look the same, there will be added restrictions on the way we work including respect for social distancing. An important aspect to all this is maintaining continuity and ensuring staff have adequate support to make the adjustments. This requires lots of communication and programs to help staff manage the stresses of change. 

Q: What can we learn from TCS’s experiences?

TCS pioneered a Machine First approach to work and Open-Agile-Collaborative-Workplaces by setting a bold vision of becoming 100 per cent Agile by 2020. We have created open and collaborative office and remote working environments facilitating co-working flexibility and adaptability across the entire organisation with no compromise to quality or security.

Nurturing the development of our employees and encouraging innovation is how TCS brings the best out of our staff. Our continuous education and professional development programs is recognized as the most sophisticated in the world. Our learnings have enabled us to accelerate our transformation and extend the benefits of best practice expertise to our clients.