Maintaining company culture and constant socialization with a growing remote global workforce will be the most important concern in the market feels Cyril De Queral, CEO at Powell Software. In this chat with TecHRseries, he talks about the latest features Powell Software has on offer to keep employees engaged and connected while sharing his thoughts on how new HR technologies will support today’s switch to a more hybrid workplace.
Hi Cyril, tell us about Powell Software and the idea behind this journey?
The idea of Powell Software came to us 5 years ago. Our team was specialized in building and deploying an on-premise intranet. Each intranet was customized and unique for every single customer. With the deployment of cloud technologies, we had the vision that a SAAS collaborative platform could meet the future needs of our customers. We created the Powell Software SAAS Digital Workplace which integrates the existing intranet features and also provides a modern collaborative experience for workers. Even if it is a shared platform we can provide customization for each customer. It brings more value at a lower cost.
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We’d love to hear your thoughts on the evolution of digital workplace solutions – can you talk about some interesting (global) providers of innovative digital workplace technologies and how this niche is now impacting the ways in which organizations interact with their global employees?
The digital workplace is becoming central to the most performing organizations. In my opinion, the next challenge is to integrate into the digital workplace what we had at the office. The way we work today has been completely disrupted by the Covid-19 crisis. Since the lockdown, employees are relying on collaborative spaces like Microsoft Teams or Zoom to get their work done. In fact, Teams now has 115 million daily users. With employees spending their days on Teams, organizations need to ensure this space is easy to use. We all have different levels of digital dexterity and the collaborative tools essential for today’s work need to be accessible. This is why at Powell Software we’ve developed solutions to improve the Microsoft Teams end user experience, simplifying collaboration for all.
Companies must propose to their remote workers in the digital workplace the same experience they had on-premise. The future Digital Workplace will have to manage employee communication, to take care of the culture, to organize team collaboration, and to integrate digitalized business processes. Innovative digital workplace technologies are a niche that will be crucial to keep all our employees on board, even if they work wherever they want.
What are some of the core benefits of digital workplace solutions that HR teams and business leaders have still to realize full value from?
Digital workplace solutions have already brought employee communication. With an intranet, we can share top-down information. Then over the last few years, digital collaboration tools came and provided the opportunity to collaborate with remote workers. Now more and more organizations are coming to us looking for a way to connect these. They want to connect their intranet with a space where employees can collaborate easily, like Microsoft Teams. Linking the two platforms allows leaders to ensure top-down information gets to employees, while facilitating teamwork and lateral communication.
The next wave of benefits will be around the business process digitalization. With 70% of our time spent in remote work, all our business processes will have to be able to work even if we don’t meet face to face. In the future, HR teams and business leaders will use the digital workplace not only to share information but to manage their team, onboard new employees, to drive the business…
What are some of the ways in which you feel HR leaders should drive more change within their organization (in terms of workplace culture, benefits, hiring process, etc) today?
HR leaders are currently facing big challenges. The switch to hybrid work is going to disturb the existing HR process. HR leaders will have to adapt to it and to think differently. Everything should be documented and explained. The HR process should be able to work 100% digital. The way the team is managed will be different and HR leaders will have to provide new tools and new tips to the managers. They are going to lead the organization’s move to the hybrid workplace.
What are some of the top (global) HR Technologies that you feel are doing a great job at easing HR processes and efforts?
It is difficult to list all the technologies which are helping streamline HR management. Anyway, I’m very impressed by the innovation and the creativity delivered by the start-ups which propose SaaS solutions for HR. The SaaS market allows them to be deployed fast and worldwide. It brings a lot of value to the ecosystem. HR managers should analyze and evaluate this new digital asset and integrate it into the company digital workplace.
Can you talk about some of the most innovative hiring trends in tech you’ve seen in the recent years?
In my opinion, the most important change in the hiring process is professional social networks like LinkedIn, Xing, Viadeo. It has completely disrupted the market and changes the way companies are recruiting. Especially in an increasingly international environment, these technologies provide wide access to the competences on the market.
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Can you share a little on your employee culture at Powell Software?
Our employee culture could be summarized with the following words: Entrepreneurial spirit, Agility, and Innovation! Everybody is encouraged to take initiative to better serve our customers and improve the organization of the company. Nothing is fixed and established. We need to permanently adapt and evolve in an ever-changing environment. We have to innovate every day in the solutions we offer and in the organization, we have a system in place to continuously improve how we serve our customers and respond to their needs.
A few parting tips on what companies and HR heads should keep in mind as they shape their strategies in 2021 amid the new normal?
My main recommendation is to invest in digital assets which will allow the company to work in a more remote and digital environment. The change we saw with the covid crisis will remain. As a digital workplace ISV, we saw the demand exploding since September. Companies that can operate and to be more efficient in the hybrid workplace will be the winners! HR leaders have the most important role to play in this huge transformation.
Cyril is the CEO at Powell Software
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