Digital employees will drive the future of work

Digitisation is not just technical transformation, rather it is a smart integration in the digital age with all its concepts and tools

Image sued for illustrative purpose. Digital marketing.

Image sued for illustrative purpose. Digital marketing.


Half a century ago, the dominant workplace culture was based on the centrality of the corporation (owners and shareholders), and the prevailing logic was to prioritise the corporation first, then the employee and the customer. The rationale behind this was that a strong organisation would be able to secure the lives of its employees, thus providing goods to its clients.

After the emergence of e-Government, a new culture of prioritising the customer/client evolved, based on the thought process that customer satisfaction would guarantee sustainability of the institution, and therefore the salaries of its employees and the profits of its owners.

Today, we need to look at it from a different angle. In light of the digital transformations and destabilising technologies, 70 to 80 per cent of the value of work is based on service, not commodity. This necessitated comprehensive and radical revisions in the management methods, and especially in the area of human resources. The new equation is that a digitally qualified employee is the one capable of understanding the customers/clients and meeting their expectations and requirements, and therefore he/she can achieve the institution's material and non-material goals. So, how do we get there?

We need to review the future of work, the future that we are already living in. In today's world, digitisation is a key element for business success. Digitisation is not just technical transformation, rather it is a smart integration in the digital age with all its concepts and tools. It is not only a culture, but a lifestyle.

The digital generation, those born after 2000, are about to knock on our doors for work. Are we ready to receive them and even employ their skills, let alone develop them? Do we really realise the psychological and educational background of these young people who have not lived a single moment in a world without the Internet?

This digitally savvy generation joining us is a matter of time. In order to avoid the shock that might arise from this, it is necessary to work sooner in the field of human resources, to develop the current competencies in order to embrace the digital generation and work with them to achieve customer happiness. The first element to be considered is the concept of the job itself. Human resources in a digital organisation are more focused on work than on the job.

What is the difference?

The job is a 'job description' that revolves around a basic skill that gives the employee his/her importance in the organisation. But in the digital organisation, work means that an employee, would necessarily possess a 'basket of skills' without which he/she would not be able to do the job. For example, a sales employee cannot succeed without a certain amount of data analysis skills, digital marketing skills, and planning skills. The corporate communications employee needs to have content, technology, social media, and design skills as well as strategic planning, and many others.

Finally, when we talk about prioritising the employee, are we contradicting ourselves while promoting customer priority? Definitely not. In order to prioritise the customer in this crucial moment, we must take steps towards a digital employee that is significantly different from what we have always known.

Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori is the Director General, TRA

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