A strategic advisor and a business transformation leader with over two decades of expertise in software product engineering, enterprise architectures and end-to-end project management. Sunil has an impressive track record of delivering high performance enterprise applications for the Fortune 500s of the world. Having lived and worked, both in India and USA, Sunil enjoys interfacing and understanding work and organizational dynamics of different cultures. He is a trusted collaborator in delivering impact to a business ecosystem of partners, employees and customers. Sunil focuses on building long-lasting relationships with stakeholders on a bedrock of mutual respect, integrity, and meritocracy.
This is a brave new world. A world that thinks and functions differently. And there is no going back. Tech disruption has been pushing the envelope of innovation for decades now. But this pandemic has accelerated the need for our business ecosystem to leap forward to the future. We owe it to Darwin once again. The philosophy of adapting to change has seen leaders being born even during the toughest of times.
As we progress towards building our barriers against COVID-19 and learning to accept the changes set in motion, it leaves us with questions about what it would mean for workplaces, employees, and employers of tomorrow.
Work-from-home started as a short-term business continuity solution for enterprises to combat the sudden economic shock of the pandemic. But the after-effects exposed us to new ways of doing business. The odds of success for both employees and employers are better if we adopt a hybrid model of working. Such a work environment responds proactively to employee expectations, improves productivity, and helps in striking the right balance between flexibility and accountability. The workplaces of the future are bound to assume new meaning. These would be seen as places where employees collaborate and socialize, and not as places where one is forced to show up. But for such a model to yield results, it is crucial for employees and employers to work together and identify what works best to allow life and work to thrive in unison.
With an evolved way of working, the very definition of work must undergo transformation. If fixed hours are no longer the norm and micromanaging helped no one, irrespective of the location of work, measuring work in terms of outcomes would be the way forward. Enterprises must adopt an experimental approach to build the right framework that would define and measure work outcomes accurately.
What can help employees thrive
It is necessary for employees to understand that the balance has, in fact, tipped in their favor. They can afford to be fearless and develop out-of-the-box solutions as employers are more invested in thoughtfully grooming them for better engagement and retention. However, such a freedom requires an employee to nurture a flexible mindset, continue the pursuit of relevant skills and focus on communicating goals and aspirations in a precise manner.
Flexibility comes with responsibility. A tech professional must be open to accept challenges and explore avenues to create meaningful impact. They should be able to define, measure and demonstrate their work outcomes and productivity. Being collaborative will help them thrive better. Having said that, it is important for employers to inject that culture of teamwork excellence, so that an employee can get exposed to new roles and responsibilities without the threat of being overshadowed. Flexibility is always a two-way street – employers and employees, both, need to practice it.
Data is the fuel for any digital transformation these days and to excel in such a data-driven industry, skill relevancy takes center stage. The sheer speed at which data is generated, requires a tech professional to be a problem-solver first, with strong foundational skills to source, transform, and analyze a variety of data to derive actionable insights. An individual must constantly learn and stay up to date with data technology trends. Data and digital technologies on the cloud are likely to be the most in-demand skills over the next 5 to 10 years.
Communication is one of the most undervalued skill in the life of a tech professional. Human languages need to be given as much importance as computer languages. And yet, this is the least developed skill in our industry. Written and verbal communication are both essential for successfully translating one’s ideas into actions. Individuals must practice writing succinctly and speaking clearly so that it becomes easier for managers to support employees in their aspirations to achieve big.
How to take the next step
Fortunately, for most professionals, knowledge is freely available through various online platforms. Learning platforms such as Udemy, Coursera, or even YouTube can serve professionals with a platter of relevant skillsets to choose from. Actively exchanging technical ‘know-hows’ through websites such as Stack Overflow, engaging in self-assessment coding sessions through HackerRank or contributing to data science and machine learning communities like Kaggle, can not only enrich a problem-solving experience, but will also help individuals polish their portfolios for prospective employers to map them against appropriate roles. Attending webinars and conferences to learn from industry experts can be of immense value to employees and prospective candidates.
What the future holds
A couple of years back, it would have been impossible to wrap our heads around the idea of living our lives in a digital space. But today, it is ushering an era of unfathomable possibilities. As the world adjusts to new ways of solving problems, the demand for skilled tech professionals in a data-driven industry will continue to rise. The sooner we accept to adapt, the better are our chances to thrive in this rapidly evolving ecosystem.