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ServiceNow expert on why it’s important to put your people first

ServiceNow expert on why it’s important to put your people first

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The world of work is very different today. COVID-19 caused a rapid shift in workplace models, with many employees now working remotely and other organisations having adapted their policies to ensure remaining on-site staff are safe. With continued uncertainty, business leaders are still facing challenges as they look to digital tools to support the business and to enable growth.

Here, Paul Hardy, Evangelist, Chief Innovation Office at ServiceNow, tells us why it is the companies that create digital workflows based around employees – not processes – which will benefit most.

It’s unlikely you need me to point out that work has changed. Millions of us are experiencing first-hand the disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our working world.

Through my conversations with business leaders across EMEA, I know there is a focus on overcoming the challenges of this new working environment and ensuring readiness for the new COVID economy we now find ourselves in.

These leaders know that strategies built around Digital Transformation can bring the agility and resiliency they need to be successful now and in the long term.

This is key, of course. But our recent Work Survey report, which explores the impact of COVID-19 on business, highlighted to me why we must not lose sight of what really matters as we form our COVID readiness strategies: our people.

We are at an inflection point, one that has put the employee firmly at the centre of organisations – and creating stand-out experiences for the workforce has never been more important.

Three headline findings from our research, which involved 400 executives and 3,300 employees in Europe, stand out as being pertinent to the employee experience.

Firstly, the accelerated pace of change in 2020; 92% of executives in EMEA say the pandemic has made them rethink how they work. More importantly, 91% say their businesses have transitioned to these new ways of working faster than they thought possible – but that means big changes for the employee to contend with.

Secondly, this early sprint only tells half a story. Organisations reacted rapidly to the COVID-19 crisis, but around half (47%) of EMEA executives say continuing the transition to a new way of working will be more challenging. Concerns are higher among employees, with 55% agreeing this will be the case.

The third aspect highlights the challenges that are emerging now distributed work is here to stay. While all EMEA executives and 94% of employees have seen some benefits of remote work, executives are most worried about delays in product or service delivery and, for employees, it’s reduced collaboration.

Now more than ever, our employees need to know that we care. They want to feel safe and protected, but also continue their work and make a valuable contribution.

On the face of it, these findings suggest a potentially rocky road ahead in meeting these needs. Yet while the concerns that our Work Survey highlights are understandable, I know they can be overcome.

At a time of great pressure, we’ve demonstrated – alongside our customers across EMEA – that it’s possible to adapt established working practices. We’ve proven that it’s possible to collaborate and innovate faster than ever before, with Digital Transformation efforts focused around the employee experience, not business processes.

For example, we’ve delivered four emergency response apps to help organisations navigate their COVID-19 crisis management efforts, a Safe Workplace app suite and dashboard to help employees back to the workplace safely, as well as a new Contact Tracing app to support a safe workplace for employees. 

In this COVID economy, we need to broaden our perspective beyond those employees who can readily work from home, to empower every type of worker in every type of industry. That could be someone working on a factory production line, a maintenance engineer for a utility company, a customer service agent for a bank, or a salesperson who is used to hitting the road.

I’m seeing some excellent instances of EMEA organisations that are using our platform to create COVID readiness strategies around the employee experience.

A great example is Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), which built a COVID-19 support hub in just three days. Inspired by the release of ServiceNow’s nine Employee Experience Packs, which provide pre-built content and configurations for common HR activities, the hub gives 23,000 employees and managers, working in 13 countries, instant access to the latest company updates, guidance and support on the coronavirus.

Health and wellbeing is front and centre too, with CCEP using our Health Alert Experience Pack to log health updates from employees, track those with symptoms and positive tests, and support those who are most vulnerable.

By allowing our platform to manage complex digital workflows, organisations like CCEP are giving employees the services, experiences and support they need to do their jobs – and the choice and flexibility they crave. I spoke to Nico Orie from CCEP recently on a webinar where Nico shared some best practices and learnings from the COVID economy.

The companies that create digital workflows around the employee, not the process, will be those who see the greatest gains – not only in profitability and growth but in attracting top talent and achieving a greater diversity of thinking and innovation.

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