Is Your SME Ready For The Workforce Of The Future?

Megawaty Khie

We’re on the cusp of digital transformation. With everything around us becoming more integrated, SMEs and enterprises around the world are also increasingly finding the need to recreate traditional workplaces. Think back to the 1950s, when offices were segregated into tiny cubicles and employees kept mostly to themselves, meeting their colleagues only during important meetings.

The workforce of the future is more connected, with walls being torn down to give way to more interaction and sharing of ideas. In building the workforce of the future, however, companies must understand that technology purchases are not the only answer. More importantly, it’s about opening the path for employees to engage in long-term learning and development opportunities so they can drive transformation in their own ways.

Remember, once employees have adopted the right digital mindset, it’s easier to move them to action and encourage them to work towards a common direction.

Here are the key steps HR must focus on to build a digital-ready workforce:

1. Foster a culture of feedback in your workplace.

Mentoring and consistent feedback will always have a fundamental place in how a company can build inclusivity within an SME. By immersing your employees in a feedback culture, they will remain committed to lifetime learning. This is especially important in our age, in which people sometimes use the self-learning card to tamp down other people’s perspectives and ignore fruitful exchange of ideas.

Remember: A company’s digital transformation needs to have people who know how to listen to one other, recognise their mistakes, and bring their own learning to the table.

2. Stop thinking in terms of hierarchy and encourage “reverse mentoring.”

Diversity is the bedrock of innovation. For companies to successfully innovate, they must see diversity first as an organisational asset. One way companies can encourage this in the workplace is through reverse mentoring, where senior leaders can learn specific digital skills from their younger counterparts. This brings employee generations together and is key to closing knowledge gap between them.

The takeaway: When management thinks in terms of growth rather than hierarchies, it’s easy to develop cross-generational intelligence in the workplace, which can keep a company’s firm footing in the business environment.

3. Create an employee-focused performance evaluation.

In our digital age, companies must re-evaluate their performance standards to accommodate the changing needs of their employees. They can no longer stick to their old models that fail to track the nuances of an employee lifecycle. To correct this, companies must keep their performance evaluation employee-focused. This means engendering a working environment where collaboration and dialogue are prized over performance ratings. When this is in place, employees are motivated to achieve authentic growth that is based on a future-focused goal.

Why people matter in digital transformation

As organisations get ready for a digital workforce, we must not forget that it is first a people-centered approach. Yes, we can go heavy with technology purchases, but without the right people to run and manage them, our efforts become entirely useless.

The long and short of it is this: We need to build a culture where growth and collaboration are encouraged and where employees are seen as individuals with future-focused aspirations rather than mechanical needs. That’s when we can truly say we’re ready for the future.

Learn more about enabling digital workforce for small and midsize companies.


Megawaty Khie

About Megawaty Khie

As Vice President, SAP SuccessFactors (South Asia), Megawaty Khie brings more than 20 years of experience in supporting the growth of small and medium business enterprises and consumer segments in the IT and telecommunication industries. Prior to this role, she was the Managing Director of SAP Indonesia. Under her leadership, SAP Indonesia won the SAP Asia Pacific and Japan President’s Award in the first quarter of 2015 and the Winners’ Circle in the same year.