When it comes to designing the future of work, one size fits none. Discovering success is not about a hybrid model or offering remote work options. Individuals and organizations are looking for more freedom. The freedom to choose the work model that makes the most sense. The freedom to choose their own values. And the freedom to pursue what matters most.
Karen Mangia, WSJ bestselling author and Salesforce executive, sat down with Stephanie Trautman, chief growth officer at Wipro, to glean her insights and predictions about how to create a future that works for employers as well as for employees. Wipro is a leading global information technology, consulting and business process services company. A company recognized globally for its comprehensive portfolio of services, strong commitment to sustainability and good corporate citizenship, Wipro has over 220,000 dedicated employees serving clients across six continents. Stephanie is a dynamic leader who builds, expands, and elevates the teams she leads and the clients with whom she engages. She is an effective change agent who understands how critical it is to harness technology, talent, and transformation to create lasting business results.
Karen Mangia (KM): The topic of our time is the future of work. What are you discovering right now about how people will work together in this new normal?
Stephanie Trautman (ST): I’ve never seen a market like this. Whether you are a leader or a laggard, you have to do something. Our clients are struggling. Our business is changing. The competition for talent is extremely intense. Finding a way forward begins with asking yourself, your clients, and your organization: What do we have to work with, and how can we make the best of it? We can’t afford to wait for the perfect design.
KM: ‘What do we have to work with, and how can we make the best of it?’ is a powerful question. Where do you go to look for answers?
ST: The short answer is our employees. And then our customers. Deep listening is critical to discover what matters. Understanding what matters most to those we serve is foundational. Throughout my listening tour, one theme surfaced consistently inside and outside of our organization: friction. That theme is our rallying cry and what unifies our employee experience and our customer experience: the search for seamless processes, technology, and engagement…this is what we all want. So what can we do to eliminate friction inside and outside of our organization?
KM: That question invites your stakeholders to go on a journey of discovery with you. A journey to discover how you could make doing business together easier. Your operating model has the added complexity of value-added partners. How do you factor them into your experience equation?
ST: We’re taking on a new mindset with regard to our partners. We’re moving from an alliance mindset to an ecosystem mindset. In a traditional alliance model, we tend to map our employees to one of our partners and then treat that partnership like its own business. The ecosystem mindset is a shift because we think of all of our partners as part of the same business – our business. Our collective business that serves our collective customers in service of the greatest good. We’re creating a partnership of partners, which is a more strategic approach that enables us to address our clients’ entire suite of challenges rather than engaging on a case by case or a market by market basis.
KM: Is the ecosystem mindset a part of your strategy to shift how your customers see you?
ST: Yes, because our customers want more. They still want and need us to be a trusted partner. That hasn’t changed. What has changed is that they are expecting more from us – an agile approach to solving their biggest business challenges. And that means going beyond trusted partner status to show up as innovators and orchestrators.
KM: How are you reskilling your workforce to make this shift?
ST: The nature of work itself is changing, which means it’s critical for us to regularly revisit how to help our workforce access success in this changing landscape. Beyond shifting customer expectations, AI and machine learning will continue to disrupt what work is and how it happens inside of organizations. We take an outcome-oriented approach to reskilling – what outcomes will this employee experience as a result of completing this learning plan? That approach allows employees to see a clear link between the investment of their time and their trajectory in the future. We’re discovering the most critical skills to develop right now: deep technical and process skills, in addition to design thinking, facilitation, and co-creation. Those are the skills of innovators and orchestrators.
KM: As Chief Growth Officer, how do you believe the levers of growth are changing?
ST: The pandemic highlighted the inefficiencies and breaking points in all companies and the opportunities for disruptors. Broken business processes and systems deficiencies create friction. But the biggest challenge is data. Data is critical to shape strategies, prioritize portfolios and make smart business decisions. Stranded data is stranded value. We must create new tools and workflows – using data – to eliminate points of friction so we can focus on value creation.
KM: A future of work interview would be incomplete without a few predictions about the future. What are your predictions for the future of work?
ST: The hybrid work environment is here to stay. The way we define work will continue to change, and new categories of work will emerge. Technology will continue to disrupt the work that’s done. Workforce roles and responsibilities will change. And technology innovation will make it exciting to work collaboratively no matter where you physically do your work. But at the heart of it all is people, ambitious people who want great experiences, exciting work, the opportunity to re-skill and adapt, and most importantly, have an impact; on their families, their colleagues, their clients, and on the planet where we all can thrive. We have an exciting future of work ahead of us.
This article was c-authored by Karen Mangia, vice president, Customer, and Market Insights at Salesforce. Mangia is a WSJ Best Selling author, thought leader, and strategist. A prolific blogger and sought-after media interview, she has been featured in Forbes and regularly contributes to Thrive Global, Authority Magazine and ZDNet. Thinkers 360 named her as #9 on their List of Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Health & Wellness, #12 for Mental Health and one of the top 150 Women B2B Thought Leaders to Follow. Connect with her on Twitter @karenmangia.