UAE - Some 92% of UAE business leaders regard their people as their greatest asset and 51% of IT leaders say their organisation knows what it takes to digitally transform a workforce, says a study.

However many employees are now facing a challenge to keep up the pace, according to a new Dell Technologies Breakthrough Study. What’s more, more than half of the UAE business leaders (57%) of the 10,500 respondents from 40+ countries believe their organisations underestimate how to engage with their people properly when planning transformation programmes.

About 73% of UAE respondents look forward to learning new skills and technologies, to help elevate their careers, the study notes.

Time to recharge

The results highlight how the recent period of rapid transformation are leaving businesses and their workforce in need of time to recharge, reflect and refine before embarking on new or iterating on projects. Despite the huge progress and efforts of the past few years, the research highlights how there is still a potential for transformation to stall as 57% of UAE respondents believe it is their people’s resistance to change can lead to failure.

Walid Yehia, Sr. Director and General Manager – UAE, at Dell Technologies, says: “Technology is the enabler to human capacity. To make this human-machine partnership happen, businesses need to understand people’s behaviour and mindset towards technology and change. They must apply empathy to everything, from responsive and trusted technology designs that put the end-user experience first, to thoughtful transformational change programmes that drive excitement and purpose.

“Our mission at Dell Technologies is to create technologies that drive human progress, and in today’s do-from-anywhere world, we believe the future belongs to those who are equipped to adapt and thrive wherever new opportunities are.”

Now is the time for organisations to take stock before embarking upon new digital transformation projects, ensuring their workforce is supported and has clarity on the next stage of implementation.

Path forward

The study charts a path forward. It signposts opportunities for businesses to focus, and keep pace with transformation, with breakthrough happening at the intersection of people and technology along three frontiers:

Connectivity: Businesses performed tremendous feats to connect, collaborate and conduct business online during the pandemic. But they're not finished.

Almost three-quarters (71%) of respondents in the UAE say they need their organisations to provide the necessary tools and infrastructure to work anywhere (along with the autonomy to choose their preferred working pattern). In fact, they worry their people might be left behind because they don't have the right technology to shift to a highly distributed model (where work and compute are not tied to a central place but occur everywhere).

The technology alone isn't sufficient. Businesses also need to make work equitable for people with different needs, interests, and responsibilities by focusing on the following factors that will eventually lead to increased business success.

Define the company’s ongoing commitment to flexible work arrangements and the practicalities of making it work, equip leaders to manage remote teams effectively and equitably and empower employees to choose their preferred working pattern and provide the necessary tools/infrastructure.

Productivity: People's time is limited and there are now too few qualified candidates for open roles. To address these strains, businesses can delegate repetitive tasks to automated processes and free-up people to focus on enriching, higher-value work.

At present, 32% in the UAE say their work is stimulating and not repetitive. With the opportunity to automate more repetitive tasks, 73% of the UAE respondents look forward to learning new, sought-after skills and technologies, like leadership skills, courses in machine learning, or focusing on more strategic opportunities to elevate their role.

Empathy: At their heart, businesses must build a culture, modelled by empathetic leaders, that treats people as their greatest source of creativity and value.

The research shows there is still work to do and empathy has to inform decision making, from simplifying technology for half (51%) of respondents from the UAE who often feel overwhelmed by complex technologies, to tailoring change programs to individuals’ skills, where nearly half of the employees surveyed (48%) in the UAE believe their leaders do this.

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