Businesses need a new kind of worker to succeed in the post-COVID era

by Zach Baumgarten

posted 08-18-2020

It won’t be long until businesses stop comparing today’s “new normal” to the world pre-COVID-19 and pre-digital transformation, according to Abhijit Bhaduri, digital transformation coach and author.

“That is a shift that is going to be happening very, very soon because the things that create competitive advantage have changed,” says Bhaduri, during a session at Adobe’s Experience Maker’s Live event late last month.

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This isn’t the first-time businesses have needed to adapt to what Bhaduri referred to as “game changers.” The game changer known as digital transformation — all the more crucial now with so many people working from home — is similar in nature to the adaptations businesses made during the first and second Industrial Revolutions, he noted.

Such a shift requires business leaders to be able to clearly explain to their teams what is going on.

“There is so much happening that people don’t understand,” Bhaduri says. “You need a leader who is a very skilled communicator [and has the] ability to take multiple pieces of information and simplify it.”

Of course, change must start at the top. “When the leader changes, the culture changes. And when the culture changes, the way things get done also change,” Bhaduri says.

He also noted how the value of business has become increasingly intertwined with brand reputation, as well as the ability to understand people and their emotions.

In this new age of digital transformation, “a very different kind of talent” is needed by leaders, who must now “create value by using these intangible elements, like design, talent, brand, patents, and innovation,” he added.

Profile of an Experience Maker

Employees, too, will have to adapt to new roles. Bhaduri used the term “experience maker” to describe the type of worker built to succeed in the new era of business. Experience Makers, he said, possess three main qualities.

The first quality is the ability to learn. “A lot of things that people are going to do have never been done before,” he says.

Related, workers must have the curiosity to delve into new topics and be willing to accept they don’t know everything. “Until you acknowledge what you don’t know, it is going to be hard for you to actually try alternative methods,” Bhaduri says.

The second quality of an Experience Maker is the ability to work with a diverse set of people. Due to the complexity of digitization, he said, businesses will need “people who can collaborate with everyone” since problems will require an abundance of expertise from many different disciplines.

The third quality of an Experience Maker is having huge drive and ambition, as well as a strong work ethic. Digital literacy and the ability to work from home and be productive is more important than ever.

An ambitious worker doesn’t “need to be told you need to work harder,” Bhaduri says. “They are driven. They want to do better even when there is no need to.”

Whether on the leadership side or the employee side, the common theme of the session: We are in the midst of change, with a new way of working emerging.

“There will be a point in time where we will stop comparing this new world of work with the previous experience of what a workplace was supposed to be like,” Bhaduri says.

Topics: Leadership, Future of Work, Events, Responsibility, Diversity & Inclusion, COVID-19

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