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The digital workplace: 8 steps to greater agility, productivity

Clint Boulton | Oct. 2, 2017
Your digital transformation is doomed to fail unless you empower employees with a digital workplace. Here’s how to craft a workplace that boosts engagement and agility.


3. Metrics

Use analytics to calculate IT, HR and business metrics and create a digital scorecard. For example, you can gauge user engagement to tracking daily active users and time spent in collaboration software such as Slack. Try to quantify positive impacts on workforce effectiveness, employee agility and employee satisfaction and retention, information you can use later to assess change management and refine your approach. Digital business metrics are among the hardest to calculate but they are essential to gauging the value of your investments. “These metrics help process owners to articulate the potential return on investment to senior management, and prevent technology investments from being perceived as just an expense with no upside,” Rozwell says.


4. Employee experience

Improving customer service is the end goal of a digital workplace but you have to bolster the employee experience first. Rally your IT troops and work with real estate and facilities managers to create smart workspaces that enhance collaborative work activities, as well as providing spaces for individual concentration. Create an online portal where managers can recognize employee contributions and success and incorporate it into a shared IT/HR metric to monitor employee engagement. “Employees will be more willing to collaborate, take on challenging roles and provide coaching if they are excited by their work and see the opportunity for growth in the changes being requested of them,” Rozwell says, adding that an engaged workforce often outperforms the competition.


5. Organizational change

Digital workplace initiatives typically require considerable change to internal processes, departmental structures, incentives, skills, culture and behaviors. Assess the new skills and competencies required for the digital workplace and develop a plan to train or hire personnel who possess them. You’ll want to identify change management leaders who can anticipate and mitigate obstacles before they become problems. Integrate digital workplace technologies into workflows and set rules, such as technology standards, usage guidelines, information governance and best practices. Work with senior executives to get them to listen to and engage with employees.


6. Processes

More likely than not you’ll find yourself re-engineering business processes. First take a close look at how employees currently work and what activities they spend the most time on. Use a customer journey-mapping playbook to mirror employee journey maps by collecting and analyzing data linked to employee activities and experiences. Consider emerging technologies, such as internet of things and artificial intelligence. For example, a sensor-rich smart building can track workspace usage patterns and adjust lighting and HVAC settings according to employees' preset preferences. Use AI to automate toilsome, routine tasks to make employees more productive.


7. Information

Workers want software for searching, sharing and consuming information to be as "smart" and compelling as the ones they use in their personal lives. They want information and analytics to be contextualized and delivered in the moment of need. In that vein, you’ll want to implement a file-sharing system that enables easy mobile access and real-time synchronization. Consider virtual assistants that can provide contextualized content recommendations, decision support and advice. Weigh the value of roving robotic video conferencing systems and immersive, 360-degree video conferencing systems. A little sci-fi can go a long way with your digitally-empowered workforce.


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