3 minute read 30 Nov 2018
Business people having a team meeting in office

Three ways a digitalized GBS can support its employees

By

Christian Mertin

EY Global Advisory Solutions Leader – Global Business Services

Transformation leader in Global Business Services with deep knowledge in finance, shared services and other back-office functions. Strong capabilities in supporting technologies and digitalization.

3 minute read 30 Nov 2018

The digitalization of GBS is a change that should be managed carefully, mindful of specific people needs.

Digitalization  is not just something to adapt to, but it is also transforming the shape and character of teams and the nature of work itself – it creates higher-value work for Global Business Services (GBS) employees. 

At the same time, there will be higher expectations of both employees and machines – and this change needs to be managed carefully and collaboratively. GBS leaders now need to get people and intelligent technology to work together, . 

1. Address employee consumerism

Employees are also consumers – and as digital natives, many of them will have higher expectations about the overall convenience of services. They are used to AI-infused technology such as smartphone personal assistants and smart speakers. They use apps to manage many aspects of their private lives and expect seamless connectivity and nothing but stellar user experience. But at work they face the "Sunday-Monday" problem: they are often forced to use outdated and laborious company systems, and complicated, neglected process design can negatively impact the overall organizational work experiences. 

2. Think global, act hyper-local

Globalization has triggered an acute awareness of localization. Employees in China experience technology, for example messaging services or online payment options, quite differently from employees in Europe. So large-scale, global standardized change and communications approaches tend to leave the employee with mixed messages and a lack of clarity. More than ever before, organizations will need to utilize the most relevant digital tools and technologies available to serve the needs and preferences of specific employee groups instead of using a one-size-fits-all approach. 

3. Prepare for a new culture and new skills

Digital transformation is reality and leadership needs to act as cultural designers and architects. The task is to set up the organization for the future, planning the skills around each new wave of innovation, and having a plan for how to develop and sustain them. 

Getting the culture, behaviors, processes, business capability and operating model set up right (while embracing hyper-localization) is crucial and takes time. Organizational change management has traditionally been a leadership-driven "top-down" process. But now change management should combine the standard top-down method with a forward-thinking and collaborative bottom-up approach, not only to daily problem-solving, but to defining the shape and scope of GBS services in the future. This spurs creativity and innovation at the grass roots level, while enabling affected stakeholders to personalize and hyper-localize the change. 

Conclusion

The hardest part of any digital transformation is not the implementation of technology, but how people adopt it. And with digitalization, it’s imperative that employees build their agility "muscle" as change is continuous, cyclical and on-going. 

GBS organizations need to adopt a culture of change, where a constantly evolving mindset is needed. People must be open and receptive to change and leaders must consequently empower the organization to live that culture. But change cannot be standardized, instead it is hyper-localized. There should be a customized change approach for each region, each function – adjusted to needs and requirements yet globally aligned towards common goals. 

GBS leaders need to ensure their employees are positively empowered to shape and develop not only their skills, but their roles and the evolution of GBS itself. 

Summary

Digitalization is transforming GBS, in terms of the value it can add and the services it can offer. It's a very different model from the low-cost centers that GBS has evolved from. To maximize human potential, GBS leaders now need to develop their people’s skills and meet their expectations in entirely new ways.

About this article

By

Christian Mertin

EY Global Advisory Solutions Leader – Global Business Services

Transformation leader in Global Business Services with deep knowledge in finance, shared services and other back-office functions. Strong capabilities in supporting technologies and digitalization.