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INSPIRATION

06

77 percent of employees believe

implementing new technology will

improve their work experience. But being

technologically savvy begs the questions:

how can today's leaders create the buzz

and the zing for employees who need

that extra connection? Here, we explore

how traditional leadership needs to adapt

across the automation industry to enable

us all to meet the needs of our customers

while truly engaging all colleagues,

wherever they are working.

Aleksandra Laskowska (AL): The

coronavirus pandemic has challenged

people's attention. What have recent

global upheavals revealed to those that

are responsible for company direction,

people engagement, and performance?

Alex Martin (AM): The pandemic has

not only changed the way people and

leaders work, but it has also highlighted

some serious questions about the kind

of leaders we need to thrive in the postpandemic work landscape. Questions

about our leaders such as: 'Who are they

and what do they really stand for? Do

they really care about me or are they

just interested in the numbers?' Changes

in technology and the way people work

have visibly shifted, though this shift has

been accelerating for at least 10-12 years.

The current pandemic and technological

advances are pushing leaders to the limits

of their current capability when it comes to

truly communicating with people.

AL: The use of smartphones and other

video calling tools have really opened our

work and communication space. How have

leaders reacted to this 24/7, instant, almost

impossible-to-manage and increasingly

disconnected communication explosion?

AM: The real questions you want to ask

here are 'How are leaders working to

ensure colleagues both hear and gain a true

sense of what leaders stand for?' and 'Do

colleagues really feel the care, energy, and

charisma a leader needs to demonstrate to

really make those connections and inspire

us to trust them?' There is a sense that

some leaders are stuck behind their screens

focusing on using the technology to tell us

what they want us to know. They inform us

with 'the numbers', endless PowerPoints,

and uninspiring data showing we must

work harder, irrespective of our current

work limitations, family circumstances,

health concerns or travel restrictions.

Current and prospective employees are

demanding more from companies, both in

terms of the level of support, and the style of

leadership driving the business. Attracting,

retaining, and developing the best people is

a true business challenge we are all facing

today more than ever.

AL: How does Swisslog put words into action?

AM: As a progressive employer, Swisslog

has recognized the changes COVID-19

has accelerated and has introduced Smart

Working; a flexible approach to where and

when Swisslog colleagues work. This new

policy is firmly based on our customer's

needs, the overall business requirements,

and the changing needs of our colleague's

individual circumstances. It aims to provide

flexibility aligned with the continuing aim

to consistently deliver on our business

commitments, while offering colleagues some

level of flexibility in where and when they

work. Though it is a positive step forward

it is not intended as a solution for all the

challenges of flexible working. Not everyone

will be able to take part, as we have some key

customer projects which currently would not

benefit from this approach.

Smart Working brings with it both

opportunities for the business and

VIRTUAL LEADERSHIP

SAME PEOPLE,

NEW PARADIGM

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