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by Akoya

Employees, those great forgotten people in business transformation

Lockdown proved to be a perfect opportunity to take a step back. What conclusions can be drawn since the last systemic crisis? And what directions should be taken for the next ten years? Unsurprisingly, groups can better take into account the human factor in their transformations.


In companies, the last decade has come under the sign of transformation. Digital, organizational, managerial, business model, in short, transformation on all fronts. However, when you are subject to the diktat of quarterly presentations to the markets, you want to be able to show that these costly transformation programs are profitable. And the sooner the better.


So you’re accelerating. This target vision, which you basically know would take two years to implement and benefit from subsequent gains, is finally being deployed in six months. Obviously, some steps have been compressed or even cancelled along the way. And these are often the ones that were supposed to allow women and men to understand, learn and prepare themselves for this target vision.


The human being, systematic victim of a short-term approach to transformation.


What are the consequences of this acceleration? While the value redistributed to shareholders has more than doubled between 2009 and 2019[1], the situation is quite different on the employee side. In 10 years, the number of burnouts and other psychological pathologies at work has been multiplied by 6[2]. And that’s without counting the unrecognized, diagnosed or counted suffering that could affect up to 52% of employees[3].


But what are HR doing? Ironically, they were too busy transforming themselves. Equipped with modern, unified HRISs, transactional tasks were transferred to managers and employees. And thanks to this freed up time, the HR function was able to professionalize itself and become a true business partner. It has gained in strategic vision, is no longer afraid to talk with the business as equals and has returned to the decision-making table. But, as many professionals admit, it has forgotten its focus on the employee itself.


The conclusion is irrefutable, but without a proposal it would remain useless. Here are 5 concrete ideas that any leader seeking to transform with his employees rather than at their expense can adopt.


Meaning and skills are not concepts, they are assets to invest in.


Transforming with its employees is about giving meaning to a transformation. The current crisis has only underlined the lack of meaning for some people when for others it has become obvious. Meaning is the cornerstone of a human transformation because it embodies the compass of the famous “employee experience”.


Transforming with its employees is about anticipating even better the critical jobs and skills that will enable you to progress through sustainable innovations. It means working with your teams to design organizations that provide opportunities for improvement and freedom to innovate and flourish.


Transforming with its employees is about tackling the challenge of skills development: according to the World Economic Forum, nearly one billion people will need to be retrained by 2025. Companies must hold their responsibilities in training with training by devoting more resources and improving its effectiveness.


Human beings deserve to be considered as a subject of excellence.


Transforming with its employees also means equipping itself with tools and processes to monitor human indicators: commitment, well-being, diversity, and inclusion. And beyond monitoring them, it means putting them on the same level as operational and financial indicators in the objectives of decision-makers.


Finally, transforming with its employees means building a path of excellence in human management, covering both business and human sciences. From higher education, but also within companies, by integrating this dimension into the career paths of future leaders.


The first moments of Covid-19 crisis were a time of retreat towards HR professionals in survival mode: payroll, health, safety, and social dialogue. The coming decade requires companies to lead in human development. And who better than an HR function, back at the heart of the organization, would gather all decision-makers around this awareness?

Antoine Aubois

Co-Founder & Partner