Putting people at the centre of digitalisation
Founder of RADICAL HR, and other businesses, Alessandro Rimassa, speaks with former BBC interviewer, Nisha Pillai, about digital transformation as a way to bring people and technology together.
The Agenda Podcasts
The Agenda brought to you by Sherpany uncovers the journey leaders take from facing challenges to making decisions. In this unique series of podcasts, leaders talk candidly with former BBC World Service interviewer, Nisha Pillai. #LeadingTogether
In this podcast episode, you will hear:
Founder of RADICAL HR, an edtech and training platform, and the Talent Garden Innovation School, the leading Italian business school, Alessandro Rimassa, as he discusses digital transformation as a way to connect people and technology to work and live better. In his view, digital transformation is a cultural process that starts within an organisation, and that requires leaders to think of multiple aspects: people's needs and expectations, the company culture and wellbeing, and the management of meetings. Here are some of the topics covered in the podcast:
- The importance of a people centric mindset in doing digital transformation right
- How to attract and retain talents to ensure the success of your organisation
- Company culture: The basis for faster decision-making, wellbeing and meetings
- People's expectations from companies and leaders.
Putting people at the centre of digitalisation with Alessandro Rimassa
The importance of a people centric mindset in doing digital transformation right
"In the past decade, we thought that digital transformation was all about technology. At the end of the decade, when COVID-19 came up, we thought that digital transformation was done. Then I saw a picture. It was a picture of journalists from Hearst Magazine and they were leaving their building with big towers of computers in their hands. This is the picture of a digital transformation that didn't work.
We thought that digital transformation was only technology. But at the end of the day, digital transformation is a cultural transformation. And when we do a cultural transformation, we need to put people at the core. The point is that if we want to realise a real digital transformation, we must listen to people, we must engage people, we must be driven by people. The point of bringing together the digital mindset and the people mindset is about understanding how to use digitalisation, and how to use technology to work and live better. [...]
We can't just implement technology and hope that people can use these technologies. [...] forgetting to put people at the core of your processes, then digital transformation doesn't happen."
How to attract and retain talents to ensure the success of your organisation
"If we consider people as a big piece of the success of our companies, and when we speak of services and high value products, we must consider people as a high value piece of the success of the company.
You must take care of people. It starts with listening to people's needs, listening to people's interests, listening to the differences of all the people. When we speak of diversity and inclusion, it's not just a sentence. It means listening to the different means, the different cultural approaches and the different desires of people. If you don't do that, people start choosing other companies.
If you as a company take care of people and help them to be happier, you are helping them to be more productive also. And if they are happier and more productive, at the end of the day, your company's growing, your revenues are growing. So, the point is that taking care of people is important and fundamental. They [companies] need to change their approach and they need to understand that people are a real resource. [...]
The paradox of these days is that probably the unemployment rate will grow, but at the same time, the difficulties of companies to attract and to retain talent will grow.
In the last two decades, we thought that unemployment was something totally connected to digitalisation, to technology, to artificial intelligence. Now, we are discovering that two different facts exist at the same time. As business leaders, we must face that with the retention and attraction of talent. That's our big challenge."
We thought that digital transformation was only technology, but at the end of the day, digital transformation is a cultural transformation.
Company culture: The basis for faster decision-making, wellbeing, and meetings
"[...] to continuously change our companies, we must be fast, and being faster is something that is not connected to rigid procedures and bureaucracy. So, the point is that we need the company culture, based on values, on purpose, on engagement, on empowerment, to help people to take decisions in a fast way. That's the first point.
The second one is wellbeing, especially corporate wellbeing. Taking care of people and helping them to be happy, it means listening to the different needs of people and transforming the company into a partner of people, not just seeing the company as your employer, but seeing the company as a partner of people. I mean, in taking care of the wellbeing, we go and create a life balance. [...]
We are having too many meetings, too long meetings, and meetings with too many people. The point is that if you have more than five people in a meeting, you are doing something wrong. [...] It is about redesigning our organisation's work, and it can start with the meetings. I always suggest to people to understand the cost of a meeting. When you have 20 people in a meeting of two hours, you have an entire week of a person's working hours.
Unfortunately, I think we are just at the beginning of understanding that we must redesign our organisation, and that's also the challenge that we have in the next months and years."
People's expectations from companies and leaders
"When we speak of teams and leaders, we speak of the focal point of organisations. To me, organisations today don't need an operating system that is valid for the entire organisation, and don't need to focus on this single person. We must focus on teams. Teams are the core of organisations.
When we speak of teams, we speak of something like a small company, and when you run a small company, you know that you must set goals, manage the cash, the time of people, have precise goals, continuous alignment, and feedback, because it's fundamental to create the right work environment to help people to do their best.
From the managers, we need continuous feedback, and when I speak of feedback, I speak of bi-directional feedback. It's not just that I'm giving the feedback to you, but you are also giving the feedback to me.
We need precise goals, and not just tasks. We need the support of people to achieve their goals. And then we need to celebrate. To say 'OK', it's very good that you achieved your goal. You also did something different from what I thought, thank you for helping me to learn another way of doing this thing. It's something that we must really appreciate, must learn from each other, because teams must grow."