Collaboration is the key if businesses have to succeed in the new world of work. But how does one do it effectively and how can CEOs drive the change?
In a recently held conference by the Economic Times called Phoenix - CXO Virtual Summit on Human Capital, one of the panel sessions invited Mr. Sumit Rai, MD & CEO of Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance, Mr. Vijay Kumar, CEO of GoDigit General Insurance and Mr. Vinod Aggarwal, MD and CEO of VE Commercial Vehicles Ltd. to talk about driving effective collaboration in the virtual world. The session was moderated by Jayant Paleti, Co Founder of Darwinbox.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the discussion:
The panelists unanimously agreed that after the initial shock from the pandemic, their businesses slowly recovered and recorded much better productivity as work went virtual. They realised that people understood technology much better than previously imagined and were quite adept at using it. Their NPS was higher and even experienced a higher collaboration rate among the teams. And here is how they were able to achieve that.
Key enablers of collaboration
The two tenets of collaboration that organisations have to solve for are Communication and Trust. Fortunately for Edelweiss Tokio, digital platforms have brought about much smoother communication. As Mr. Sumit put it, “Being a distributed organisation, and with 4000 people spread across 90 locations, our communication would go through layers of people. But today, for me to communicate with the last person on the chain over a Zoom or a Teams call is much easier than before and it eliminates the whole Chinese whisper challenge of it.” They also do a host of other exciting stuff to keep the communication high within the organisation.
Moreover, Mr Vinod Aggarwal added that because the trust factor was high in his organisation, collaboration between people was much more effective. And they were able to build that trust by weaving it into the very fabric of organisation culture and living by those values, everyday.
Another important aspect that Mr. Vijay of GoDigit pointed out was enabling and then respecting the work-life balance of employees because in remote work, the boundaries are at best, blurred. By ensuring people have their work time and personal time separated also lends to building a high collaboration among team members.
Simplifying collaboration using technology
It is no doubt that technology is now the key driver of change and efficiency in the workplace. And the panelists agreed. Mr. Aggarwal of VE Commercial Vehicles said their team has been able to instill more confidence among their customers because now more of the senior members are able to join the conference calls and talk about the products and services.
In the insurance industry, Mr. Sumit told us that today people are more aware and open about taking insurance and with all the time saved in commute, the agents are able to make almost 4-5 customer calls as against 2-3 in the pre pandemic era. And this automatically translates into more earnings for the agents so it is highly unlikely that this would be reversed even after the pandemic is over.
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Redesigning work structures to build the culture of collaboration
According to the CEOs, the future of work will still largely be remote with only around 30%-40% of the workforce operating out of offices. Even inside the offices people may prefer taking digital meetings rather than sit in the same room, especially if the meetings involve large gatherings.
Interestingly, Mr. Aggarwal pointed out that earlier, he and other senior executives were not so confident of closing deals or building trust among customers using virtual platforms but that view has now turned on its head! He not only believes in using technology like this but also finds it more effective, especially because his customers are also now ready for virtual meetings.
The way in which traditional industries have been working is already seeing a paradigm shift and will continue to so in the next 3-4 years. Most things will not be reversed and organisations will embrace technology like never before. The glue that will hold this together would be collaboration and while businesses have come a long way in cracking that, there is still a lot to be discovered.
We will leave you with this powerful mantra by Mr. Sumit:
“Be flexible. Be positive and communicate a lot!”
While we have covered some of the important highlights, do check out the video for more such interesting insights by these industry leaders.