Arkadin: We don’t need better workforces just smarter communication

By Sean Kwek, Managing Director, APAC, Arkadin

Today’s workplace is very different when compared to what it was just a decade ago. With advancing technologies, cultural shifts and increased competition all driving a multitude of industries to become more digital, the way in which people work and get things done has significantly changed as more millennials enter the workforce. And this change looks set to continue. What’s more, businesses are no longer only concerned with getting things done, often sticking to rigid, antiquated processes, but instead are placing more emphasis on how tasks are completed; working more efficiently, creatively, collaboratively and with agility.

As well as the global landscape thriving as a result of these new ways of working, business within the APAC region is also seeing significant growth with the Goldman Sachs real GDP Growth forecasting a 6% growth across the Asia region (excluding Japan). Business leaders within this region are also feeling confident in their ability for continued growth as PWC’s annual APEC survey found that 52% are planning to raise investment levels.


Re-shifting workplace values

As businesses within APAC continue to experience steady growth, their values and ways in which they work day-to-day has also seen a significant pivot.

In January 2019, LinkedIn released the 2019 Global Talent Trends report, an annual survey of hiring professionals aimed at enabling business leaders to shape their recruitment strategies. The report highlighted the importance of soft skills, including creativity, time management, collaboration and adaptability, to the modern workplace as 92% agreed these skills were more valuable or just as important as hard skills. In particular, those within the APAC region agreed on the importance of soft skills as those from India (95%), Southeast Asia (95%), China (93%) and Australia (91%) placed collaboration, creativity and adaptability as being more desirable traits to their workforces.

In addition to valuing skills that made employees more agile workers, the report also found there is still a noticeable focus on flexible working which comes as no surprise as many of today’s workers expect some form of flexibility in their working lives and 72% of talent professionals agree. Additionally, the report states that improving work-life balance (77%), staff retention (54%) and increased productivity (42%) were among the benefits of offering flexible working. Those within the APAC region also agreed on the importance of delivering flexible working as Australia (84%), Southeast Asia (71%) and India (67%) saying that work flexibility is very important to future workers.


Equipping workers with the tools for smarter communication

It’s apparent that modern business leaders understand the changing values of today's workforce and notice the impact flexible working, collaboration, creativity and adaptability has on overall profitability. However, the next step is to equip teams with the right tools to deliver on these values. 

Communication is an integral element of the modern workplace which contributes greatly to team productivity, business profitability and employee engagement. Research highlights that 97% of employees believe communication plays a key part in how tasks are performed every day.

What’s more, LinkedIn’s report found that while flexible working was desirable, it also highlighted that collaboration, team bonding and work oversight were key barriers created as a result of flexible working patterns. Nevertheless, smarter communication tools can be used as a way to break through these barriers with instant messaging, audio conferencing and video conferencing overcoming the challenges of employees working remotely due to their ability of creating the immediacy of communicating face-to-face.

As the workplace continues its transformational shift towards a more dynamic and digital future, the impetus is now on business decision makers to implement smarter communication methods to equip their workforce with the tools and flexibility needed to enable more productive working. One of the most powerful factors of greater communication is its ability to strengthen a business, which can result in objectives being reached and employees being better aligned.

There are myriad communication tools that can be implemented and combined to strengthen communications within a workplace. Solutions such as Unified Communication (UC) are now enabling businesses to combine video, web and voice conferencing. Additionally, these communication tools enable strong digital engagement strategies to be implemented which can be utilised across a range of different departments to ensure an engaged and motivated workforce.

Each business will have its own set of individual challenges depending on the region they operate or the sector they work within. Yet, for those organisations within the APAC region looking to expand globally and continue their steady growth, they need to consider what hurdles might be in their way and how they can overcome these using the right communication tools.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to implementing smarter communications, assessing a workforce’s specific needs and mastering the identification of communication tools and patterns that work best will help leaders to gain a better understanding of how to successfully mobilise their employees and drive their businesses forward.

Sean Kwek is the Managing Director of Asia Pacific at Arkadin, a leading global provider of collaborative technologies 


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