The computing and infrastructure giant Dell Technologies had to reexamine its assumptions and redefine every expectation. Saavedra states, “Early on, I heard people saying, ‘I just cannot wait to get back into doing things the same way they were.'” “It’s about reflecting on these last 18 months. What have we learned? What are the most important things we want to do? What were the challenges and obstacles that we faced? How can we renew expectations
Saavedra sees many great things: ways to be more productive, efficient, and inclusive and new ways to make the workplace work to achieve goals previously unattainable.
For example, Dell’s salesforce of more than 25,000 could never meet in one place at one time–let alone the army of human resources, finance, and marketing staff that support them. Dell, like many other companies, used to hold leadership events and training in person for all sales managers. They believed that the strategies and sense of purpose shared at these meetings would be passed on to the ranks.
The pandemic changed everything. The pandemic meant that managers could no longer meet face-to-face, but all of them could connect via video-conferencing platforms like Zoom. It was an excellent opportunity for communication and connection, but it was difficult to find a way to engage so many people in a virtual setting. You don’t try to duplicate what you did in a classroom or in-person experience .”
Resources to develop skills or absorb new material were often offered in groups or classes in the past. They are now available online at the Dell Learning Studio where individuals can visit whenever they wish. The events’ group component is now virtual and focuses on collaboration as well as networking. Saavedra says that instead of a leadership program or training programme, it is now a training experience. “That change in language is actually reflective of the change in design.”
Dell has reimagined its entire training function: for example, individualized learning plans have expanded, augmenting group training for each of its 15,000 engineers, across more job functions, to address specific knowledge gaps and requirements.
Embracing technology, culture, and
Redefining the workplace so it is not tied to a specific physical location required fundamental changes in technology culture and organizational culture. It hasn’t meant changing the definition of work, as it still focuses on the results, such as innovation, productivity, customer experiences and communication. These rapid and necessary changes have shown that employees can work in a flexible, collaborative, and geographically-agnostic environment and still accomplish their job, perhaps even better than ever before. Their output, which is the achievement of goals, has largely replaced facetime as a primary performance indicator.
Global consulting company Deloitte describes the new paradigm as “distributed through design.” This means that 77% employees can work from home and be just as productive (or more) than they are at 58%. “Employers should focus on improving the workforce experience by reducing manda