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Frictionless HR and the future of work

Stephan Paolini
April 14, 2021

A hybrid workforce model established on a robust, frictionless HR infrastructure gives employees secure digital access to HR processes at any time, from any place, and using any device. The result? An improved employee experience and a more intuitive, seamless way of working.

Did John Maynard Keynes really once say: “When the facts change, I change my mind”? Apparently, no one’s sure. But either way, it doesn’t matter, because there’s a truth in that simple statement that we all recognize.

The world of work is a case in point. Until recently, people sat together in open-plan offices and meeting rooms, and anything else was, well, unusual.

And then the global pandemic arrived. The facts changed, and people changed their minds. What had been unusual became not only acceptable – but normal. Indeed, a report by the Capgemini Research Institute (CRI) – to which I contributed – tells us that three-quarters of organizations expect 30% or more of their employees to be working remotely, and over a quarter put the figure at 70%. The report tells us the functions in which this is most likely to happen include IT, finance, and accounting.

The opportunities…

Minds have changed not just because the facts did, but because of the benefits organizations have seen. According to the CRI report, over six in ten organizations saw productivity gains in Q3 2020 because of remote working, and average productivity gains ranged from 13–24%. Almost 70% of organizations said they thought those gains would be sustainable beyond the pandemic.

It’s not just about productivity, either. The more remote working there is, the greater the likely savings in areas such as real estate, facilities management, and business travel.

… the challenges…

However, a new normal brings with it a need for new ground-rules. In HR in particular, organizations can’t expect office-based practices and expectations to continue without change.

During the pandemic, the CRI report tells us many employees, and especially those in their 30s, have reported feeling burned out as a result of remote working. They feel stress from an expectation of being “always on.” Some of them feel they’re not trusted, and that they are being micromanaged as a result. And some new joiners feel lost. They don’t feel they are truly on board.

… and the way ahead

The CRI report considers how a new, hybrid workforce model can address these challenges, while maintaining and even enhancing the opportunities. I’d like to focus on one aspect of it.

The hybrid model is predicated on establishing a consistent HR platform that can support everyone, regardless of their circumstances. Consistency can only be achieved if a robust, seamless digital infrastructure can be put in place – so that employees can have secure digital access to business processes at any time, from any place, and using any device. At Capgemini, we call it frictionless HR.

A frictionless HR infrastructure needs to be agnostic, using smart technologies to help everyone feel they truly belong, whether they are onboarding, or engaged in learning and development, or undertaking performance management, or seeking information about compensation, benefits, or wellbeing.

The Frictionless Enterprise

Implementing a frictionless HR model, can help organizations transition towards a concept we call the Frictionless Enterprise  – an approach that seamlessly connects people and processes, intelligently, and as and when needed. It dynamically adapts to the circumstances of individual organizations, and addresses each and every point of potential operational friction to deliver an improved experience and a more intuitive way of working for employees.

In the articles that follow in this section of Innovation Nation, several of my colleagues and others write more on this topic. We cover how frictionless HR can be achieved, and the key criteria for its delivery in terms not just of the technology platform, but of the service partners who help to deliver it. We look creatively at what it might achieve, and we look, too, at the human needs it can meet. And there are technology assessments, interviews, and a useful infographic too.

In short, there is plenty of information here. And, as John Maynard Keynes is believed to have said, information is the basis on which good decisions can be made.

To find out how Capgemini’s Digital Employee Operations enhances your employee experience through implementing next-generation, digital HR operations, contact:

Learn more about how we implement ways to detect, prevent, and overcome frictions in our clients’ business operations, helping our clients to move towards realizing – what we call – the Frictionless Enterprise.