Meeting employee expectations: Organizations must take conscious efforts to meet employee expectations. While money seems to be a big point of attraction for most who are seeking for a change, every other factor also needs to be considered. Hiring, People Operations, and Recruitment must be embraced as a round-the-clock activity with dedicated resources. Taking quantitative and qualitative measures to ensure expectations are met and exploring room for constant improvement is crucial.

When it comes to designing the future of work, one size fits none. Discovering success isn’t about a hybrid model or offering remote work options. Individuals and organizations are looking for more freedom. The freedom to choose the work model that makes the most sense. The freedom to choose their own values. And the freedom to pursue what matters most. We reached out to successful leaders and thought leaders across all industries to glean their insights and predictions about how to create a future that works.

As a part of our interview series called “How Employers and Employees are Reworking Work Together,” we had the pleasure to interview Dr. S.P. Ramarathinam.

Dr. S.P. Ramarathinam, Chief Operating Officer at Vuram, is a Ph.D. in Engineering and has 43 years of experience in the manufacturing industry before joining the information technology industry. He has been a part of Vuram for the past ten years.

Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Let’s zoom out. What do you predict will be the same about work, the workforce, and the workplace 10–15 years from now? What do you predict will be different?

In the future, organizations will have to critically analyze the expectations from the employees and vice versa to take proactive steps to meet them. Shaping a nourishing work culture that rewards efforts and keeps the people in the organization will be crucial. Even as we progress with the advancement in technology, an empathy-first approach will be crucial and will remain the same to attract the best people and shape the workplace of the future.

What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?

The lessons from the pandemic emphasize the importance of compassion and empathy to ensure organizational resilience and prepare for the future. Alongside prioritizing adoption of new technology and resources, organizations need to be mindful about the mental and emotional well-being of their employees and building stronger relations with the clients and customers. Embracing a people-centric approach, ensuring financial, emotional, physical, and personal well-being of the people will be crucial. Besides, organizations must invest in high-quality learning and knowledge sharing initiatives to keep their people effectively adapting to the changing market environment.

What do you predict will be the biggest gaps between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect as we move forward? And what strategies would you offer about how to reconcile those gaps?

Establishing a positive and sustainable relationship between the employees and the employer to address the focus areas of interest is crucial as the way work culture is adapting to the changing market conditions. Open communication is key to reconcile any gaps between the people in the organization and aligning people’s efforts towards organizational goals.

Employers need to balance technology, empathy, and growth opportunities to ensure long term sustainable relationships with employees. Also, moving from the traditional approach, organizations must focus on creating opportunities to learn, grow, and shape personalized career paths for their employees.

We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?

The way organizations adopted remote working as an answer to the necessity for social distancing to ensure safety of the people while being resilient to ensure business continuity is a classic example that organizations are thinking beyond an office-centric system for the future workplaces. Remote working and hybrid working models are much appreciated due to a series of reasons while both come with their own challenges to deal with. However, organizations are thinking beyond a single solution for all approaches evaluating the benefits for all parties while adopting the policies and approach to work. Remote working offers a host of benefits including, better work-life balance, reduced dependency on transportation to office which reduce pollution levels, more flexibility, reduced expenses, and so on. However, these aspects depend on the industry and the nature of business the organization is involved with. Hence based on all the factors, organizations must consider what suits their goals and the interests of their people the best.

We’ve all read the headlines about how the pandemic reshaped the workforce. What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support a future of work that works for everyone?

Society will weigh mental health and emotional well-being as benchmarks for exceptional workplaces. Going ahead, organizations will prioritize shaping people-centric work cultures that nourish creativity, productivity, and personal growth/well-being at workplaces. With people working at a closer proximity with their families, being part of a happy and nourishing workplace is crucial to balance professional and personal priorities. Organizations that value people and have long term sustainable people policies will reap the benefits from improved sustainability, resilience, and innovation.

What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?

The future of work will humanize growth opportunities and emphasize on well-being among other parameters of the People Operations. With technology taking over mundane and repetitive tasks, the future of work will give more opportunity for people to focus on utilizing their cognitive skills and relationship building with clients and customers at work.

Our collective mental health and wellbeing are now considered collateral as we consider the future of work. What innovative strategies do you see employers offering to help improve and optimize their employee’s mental health and wellbeing?

At Vuram, we allow people the freedom with responsibility to shape their work, improving happiness and job satisfaction. Emotional well-being and mental health are a crucial factor ensuring productivity, creativity, innovation, and job satisfaction.

The pandemic has taken its toll on people with loss of life, mental health challenges, and depression. Organizations must take a stand to adhere to the commitment towards its people as the global economy is seeking ways to recover. Moreover, understanding people can help organizations grow, reduce attrition, deliver better results, and serve the society. At Vuram, we give people the freedom to shape the organizational policies and benefits based on the ideas shared by them. Participative management is crucial to make an organization a happy place to work.

It seems like there’s a new headline every day. ‘The Great Resignation’. ‘The Great Reconfiguration’. And now the ‘Great Reevaluation’. What are the most important messages leaders need to hear from these headlines? How do company cultures need to evolve?

Leaders need to stand by their people and work alongside them without distinction. Towards the end of the day, employees seek the best for their personal well-being, families, and professional growth. All these areas must be taken into consideration beyond considering humans as mere resources. As technology keeps evolving, we cannot discount the human factor that drives change and resilience. The impact and aftermath of the pandemic has cemented the need for work-life balance among people.

Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?”

  1. Meeting employee expectations: Organizations must take conscious efforts to meet employee expectations. While money seems to be a big point of attraction for most who are seeking for a change, every other factor also needs to be considered. Hiring, People Operations, and Recruitment must be embraced as a round-the-clock activity with dedicated resources. Taking quantitative and qualitative measures to ensure expectations are met and exploring room for constant improvement is crucial.
  2. Mental health: Beyond evaluating the past performance, organizations must take into account the mental trauma and impact the pandemic has left upon the people. Providing support and ensuring access to certified counselors is a way to address this challenge. At Vuram, we have the Vuram Hears program that provides mental and emotional support to our people at 5 separate levels, with four of them being internal and the fifth one as access to certified counselors. While resolving challenges, this improved the happiness and well-being among people during the challenging times.
  3. Optimism about the future of work: The new learnings and technological progress as a result of the pandemic will continue to shape the future of work in the coming years. The evolving workplace will witness continuous changes as the industries race towards recovery. Access to continuous learning and knowledge sharing is important to keep people invested in growth and conquer the steep learning curve that has evolved because of the change.
  4. Societal Changes: Initially the industry expected the pandemic to last for 6 months and afterwards they expected their earlier established method to come into force. But surprisingly, this method is going to be the new normal. There is one important point that society and the employees should keep in mind, which is meeting people in person at least less frequently is a must. Hence people should have the mindset to take all the precautions in place and come to office at least in relation or in a cycle as planned by the company. Meeting the people speaking to them in person and pleasantry exchanges helps a lot in business improvements. Since people tend to work remotely at homes in independent silos, organizations need to create virtual events and opportunities for people to come together, get to know each other, and build people relationships.
  5. Bridging work culture gaps: Nurturing a culture of trust and maximizing human potential will depend on a positive work culture. Ensuring equity, inclusion, diversity, and participative management is crucial to progress. Creating employee resource groups is crucial to equip people with resources to overcome work culture gaps and bring people together to drive productivity and well-being.

Our readers often like to continue the conversation with our featured interviewees. How can they best connect with you and stay current on what you’re discovering?

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Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.