Director Social Enterprise Development Centre (SEDC), Dr. Faiza Ali, was invited as Panellist for a Panel Discussion at CONNEX 2019 – Future of Work 4.0, held on May 2, 2019, in Lahore at the Pearl Continental Hotel. The topic of the panel discussion was Connect, Engage and Lead – Millennials Coming of Age, and explored how the workplace dynamics are being transformed due to the forces of digitisation, automation and demographic changes. The conference focused on adapting and harnessing the power of technology while infusing the integral ‘human element’ in the future of work.
Dr. Faiza Ali, who teaches Organisational Behavior at LUMS, spoke specifically about how organisational culture at Pakistani universities and workplaces should change, in the wake of digitisation and demographic changes. She highlighted the importance of sensitising students towards the relationship between theory and practice. “I would definitely suggest a 3+1 year degree programme, where students study for 3 years and implement what they have learnt for one year”, she said. She underscored how LUMS is driving the change by putting experiential knowledge at the forefront at the Postgraduate level.
When asked about future of diversity and inclusion (which is her core area of research) in organisations, Dr. Faiza suggested that usually ‘gender’ is viewed as the primary indicator of diversity at the workplace in the Pakistani context, however, class, ethnicity, religion and disability should also be considered as important dimensions of diversity at the workplace and how the culture can be more inclusive towards such vulnerable groups of society. She said, “We need to talk more about diversity of all kinds and be sensitive towards it. For this, we must learn empathy to foster inclusiveness at the workplace”. Finally, she suggested that organisational change must be spearheaded by top-management and should not be viewed as the sole responsibility of the Human Resource Department.
CONNEX 2019 had 500 to 600 delegates from across Pakistan, which included leading HR management and learning professionals, business leaders, and innovators from the corporate sector. The conference was organised through a collaboration between Pakistan Society for Human Resource Management (PSHRM) and Pakistan Society for Training and Development (PSTD).