Digital Workforce Management | 9 mins read

How to Manage Your Digital Workforce

how to manage your digital workforce
Michelle Jaco

By Michelle Jaco

The best way to understand what the digital workforce is to dive into a few companies that have utilized them. Two of the biggest companies in the world Google and Facebook have leveraged each strategy to take the positions in the market that they have today. The benefit that companies like both Google and Facebook have is that their digital capabilities grant them the opportunity to scale up their workforce rapidly.

Studying big organizations and the success that they have achieved is a great way to break down their strategy and learn from it. Examining the tactics of these organizations will allow for better decision-making regarding the workforce and how to use the available digital assets.

Characteristics

One way to explain what the digital workforce means is to break down the characteristics of this term.

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1. Staff On Demand

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One of the main characteristics of the digital workforce is to find new ways to improve the customer experience. This can be achieved by always having staff on demand in real-time. Staff on demand implies that the organization has the means and skill to temporally hire people outside of the organization.

There is a growing trend in the business supply chain where fewer employment contracts are signed between workers and companies. Instead of hiring people, the organization can rely on staff on demand.

One of the best examples to explain what it truly means is Uber. There are no formal contracts between the Uber drivers and the company, the workers can just log on to the app whenever they want to work. Since the drivers only work when they are needed the supply and demand curve is almost always equal, this means that the customers rarely have to wait for a ride.

A similar trend can be seen in the delivery business that is constantly going and having a huge boost during this Corona pandemic. Some of these companies are Deliveroo, Uber Eats, and Foodora. It is easy to sign up as a delivery man/woman and people can start working on demand.

2. Utilize Artificial Intelligence

One way to ease the workload in the organization is to develop algorithms or robotic process automation. Several tools already exist on the market that are using algorithms. A great program is Grammarly that will help anyone that is writing a text to avoid common grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.

Software that is using algorithms can be used in other businesses as well such as a program called Lynn. Lynn will scan through standardize contracts such as an NDA (Non-disclosure agreement) and check if something is out of the ordinary.

A great goal is to aim for automation in the organization. Any process that can be automated should be since it will bring down costs and make life easier for the employees.

3. Digital Transformation of Human Resources

Process automation is the next characteristic of the digital workforce. Algorithms will make work easier but automation will eliminate the workload. A completely digital workforce should not need to be bothered with repetitive and routine procedures. According to an article from CNBC, about 20 million jobs will be taken over by robots and therefore be fully automated. Automation of work is great for an organization since it will bring down the cost of production.

Even jobs in the field of journalism might be automated in the near future. Artificial intelligence, like bots, can be developed to write articles such as this one by simply going through a clip on Youtube or a similar service. But even though automation is within the near future it is hard to predict which positions and jobs that will be replaced.

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Try it free for 14 days.

4. Upgrade the Employee Experience

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By automating the simple and everyday routines of the workforce, more valuable time can be spent on problem solving and creative work, thus improving the employee experience. The increase in the focus on cognitive power increases the demand for engagement in the workplace.

Improved employee engagement contributes a lot when trying to be creative and solve problems. If an employee is more engage the productivity and focus are much higher than if they are not interested in what they are doing.

The employees need to welcome technological change in order to become more engaged. If they can not accept the change they will not have the right mindset and therefore lose focus on the work tasks. Getting the workers in the right state of mind is a challenge for the HR-department and they need to prepare everyone before the technology is implemented, otherwise, they will not be able to profit from the benefits of automation.

How to Manage a Digital Workforce

As technology gets more advanced and implemented into the workplace even the workforce turn digital. And the effects of the digital workforce is a great benefit if the organization can utilize this in a good way.

Taking a look at some of the biggest companies in the world, one thing is clear; the work can be done from anywhere on the globe. It is important to catch up on trends like these fast so that the organization stays innovative and can benefit from the advantages.

To stay competitive in the market an important factor is to evaluate the current situation so that company can operate efficiently. Some of the most important things to consider are how the organization can use digital technology to increase productivity.

Reading about what the digital workforce and what it entitles is one thing, another thing is to develop the skill set to manage a workforce that is digital. Beneath in this article, six different leadership hints are described and explained-

Communication is Key

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One of the most important skills to have as a leader is the ability to communicate instructions and messages in a good manner. Possessing this skill will allow for a great increase in productivity, especially when using a digital workforce.

If the communication within an organization is working it can ease the workload of management as well. Instead of taking important decisions on their own, they can take inspiration and knowledge from the team around them. The digital workforce requires the manager or leader to work with the team and not only issue demands. By doing this the team will feel more comfortable and become more independent in the long run.

Embrace Change

One thing is for sure and that is that change is inevitable. Even though change might be a good thing the unknown is scary and humans like the familiar. It is not easy to change and uncertainty will in some cases be opposed. Digitalization is growing and will bring changes that organizations need to implement. Managers need to accept change so that the employees can follow suit.

Technological changes are good in many aspects, but it can also bring down productivity if it is not accepted. The people in the workforce need to be on board with these developments, otherwise, they will not be fully capable of using the technology in an efficient way.

Furthermore, digital workforce management is necessary when trying to motivate the staff to change.

Become a Visionary

Since change is inevitable, the implementation of technology is imminent as well. Accepting the new technology is only the first step, after this, a vision on how to capitalize on this needs to be developed. Even though things might be running smoothly at the present, a visionary will always need to look to the future. A good way to make sure that the digital workforce management is on par is by developing clear goals for the future.

Having a clear vision of the future might not be enough, it is also important to make sure everyone in the organization is on board and have the right mindset. A big part of a successful digital workforce management is to make sure that everyone in the business is involved in the plan for the future.

Appreciate the Value of the Work

Historically, someone doing a lot of tasks in a short amount of time was considered the measure for good work, but this is an outdated way to quantify the value of work. Instead of having the time that a task takes to say if the work is good or not, the sole focus should be the value that the employee brings.

Millennials are more comfortable taking longer time and focusing on the quality of the work instead of the quantity. This is why a leader needs to look at the essence of the work and not how much time is spent on the task. To put this into perspective, imagine that someone is making shoes. One person makes three pairs of shoes in an hour, but the product only lasts for three months.

The other person makes one pair of shoes in an hour but the product lasts for a year. This means that the customer most likely will find that the pair that lasts for 12 months bring them more value.
A great way to ensure that more clients and that the production of either goods or services are of great quality is to implement technology into the business. Having this mindset as a leader means that the focus needs to be on the quality and not the time spent on work.

The Importance of Team Work

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A truly successful company or organization can not be built and operated by a single person. To ensure prosperity the best thing to do is have a great team. The workforce will also need to be involved in the decision-making process so that they feel like they are contributing to the future of the company.

To ensure that the team is doing a good job, one important thing is to hire the right people. The team needs to be able to work in harmony and this can be achieved by always keeping them in the loop. They will also need to be motivated and know exactly what the vision of the company is.
The right people with the right skill is also an important factor. Hiring someone that does not have the right competence will only become a bottleneck for the company and will hinder success.

Lastly, an important part of digital workforce management I trying to keep the staff positive. The right attitude is important, not only for the work there and now, but also for the future. Some work will be boring and challenging, but it is up to management to make sure these tasks are done as well.

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