Thanks to the advent of digital transformation tools, employees are more connected than ever. However, while individual employees may be able to take advantage of new digital technology tools, the overall effectiveness of the workplace may still need to be improved. Organizations must implement a digital workplace transformation initiative to harness digital technology’s power.
But what is a digital workplace transformation? Why is a digital workplace transformation necessary for an enterprise? And what examples can we look at of digital workplace transformation initiatives in action? We will explore all of these topics, beginning with a definition.
What Is Digital Workplace Transformation?
Digital transformation integrates digital technology into all areas of business and cultural change. This cultural change develops in an environment where organizations are open to new ideas, experimentation, and willingness to engage in uncomfortable situations.
Companies engage in digital workplace transformation to optimize business outcomes by increasing efficiency and ensuring business process improvement.
Companies must constantly seek new ways of completing tasks and experimenting with creating lasting change. This action may require abandoning processes for a long time in favor of newer ones still in development.
Why Is Digital Workplace Transformation Important For Enterprises?
The goals of digital transformation are to use technology to create value and rapidly adapt innovative practices for the benefit of stakeholders. But technology is quickly changing the workplace, and enterprises must utilize collaboration software to offer modern customer engagement methods to gain valuable insights to ensure sustainability.
Digital workplace transformation is critical for businesses because it allows functions to move away from traditional, manual processes. With technological advancements, employees can automate different tasks, such as data entry in recruitment or payroll. This way, leaders and other team members can focus on other opportunities. One of the first benefits of digital workplace transformation is improved flexibility.
By utilizing a digital workplace, your employees will have more control over their work schedule and location. With mobile intranet software, they can connect to work from anywhere at any time. This way, they can better achieve a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives.
With current technology, it is easier than ever to collaborate in real-time on projects. This action saves time and allows employees to be more productive.
In a recent cloud provider CoSo Cloud survey, 77 % of remote workers reported higher productivity levels. The reason is likely due to digital advances that streamline processes and allow employees to complete more work in less time.
If you choose user-friendly tools, your teams can use and troubleshoot independently. It frees up IT experts and internal support teams to focus on more critical tasks.
By reducing costs and simultaneously increasing productivity, organizations see a significant increase in revenue. In fact, according to Avanade’s research on digital workplaces, those who have implemented digital workplace transformations saw a 43% uptick in earnings.
Better Customer Experience
Employees with an excellent work-life balance feel like their voices are being heard. They have the tools they need to do their jobs efficiently and with less stress and will become more vigorous brand advocates. Achieving optimal employee experience will lead to employees who care more and better customer satisfaction.
Lower Operational Costs
You can reduce or eliminate in-person collaboration by opting for virtual meetings and interactive chat boards. This action saves on travel and overhead costs like office space and furniture. And if you choose a SaaS platform, you won’t need a large IT team to manage on-premise servers or custom software that needs time-consuming upkeep.
Collaboration tools, like employee directories, social profiles, and activity feeds, enable employees to communicate with each other quickly and effectively. This environment creates a strong sense of employee professionalism and teamwork, promoting a healthy work environment.
Digital workplace transformation leaders must consider why transformation is vital for their company. But it is also essential to view successful digital workplace transformation examples to support leaders in making the right decisions to achieve goals and optimize transformation spending.
Examples Of Digital Workplace Initiatives In Action
These three examples show how digital workplace initiatives work. Reading these examples can help companies discover the best approach for their digital workplace initiative.
Zipcar is a leading ride-sharing service provider that decided to move away from its desktop workspace and replace it with mobile technology. Despite being successful in the sharing economy industry, they found that their desktop experience was not up-to-date with modern users or their company culture. To change this, Zipcar engaged in a significant change: Their staff smashed physical computers to represent their new digital workspace.
The number of UK employees working flexi-time increased to 3.25 million in 2016.
This statistic is on the rise due to its many benefits, some of which include the following:
- Better employee retention
- A boost in employee engagement
- An optimized employee experience-led approach
By transitioning to a digital workspace, Zipcar allowed their employees to be more agile. They can now work from home, complete tasks on the go, and break away from traditional working environments to allow easier completion of personal commitments with family and friends.
2. UK Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
The DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) launched a gamification platform to encourage internal innovation. This platform award points to users who submit ideas that could improve working practices to stimulate creativity and new thinking.
The DWP gave further points if they invested their time in developing these ideas. The project was highly successful, generating 1400 ideas, many of which the organization implemented.
The DWP’s gamification project is eight years old. But, their efforts toward workplace transformation are still ahead of their time.
Today, gamification is just becoming a popular digital workplace transformation tool in many aspects of the industry to encourage employee and customer engagement.
Global brand Unilever implemented a new AI program. The program consists of a series of neuroscience-based games to measure inherent traits to help them fine-tune their hiring process. Instead of CVs and cover letters, successful candidates from the trait assessment move on to record interviews that machine learning algorithms analyze.
Unilever’s most recent project has achieved its goal of attaining its “most diverse class to date.” Furthermore, the hiring process was cut down from an average of four months to a mere four weeks, resulting in 50,000 hours saved for candidates and employees.
Unilever has transformed its hiring process in a time-efficient, economical way by turning to a workplace transformation solution.
When a digital workplace transformation leader has examined these examples and learned how to apply what other companies have learned to their own company’s practices, the following action is to look at the four steps to improve the strategy.
4 Steps To Improve The Digital Transformation Workplace
Individuals must unlearn unhelpful habits to improve the digital transformation workplace, as these prevent them from being as productive as possible. The first of four steps managers can use to support staff to achieve this is peer mentorship.
- Peer Mentorship
Peer mentorship allows existing staff to learn new skills to help them achieve better performance and new hires to integrate with the team more meaningfully via a more practical employee onboarding. Other advantages include a more positive company culture and improved engagement and retention.
- Social Events
Not all events at work must be related to professional topics. It is essential to offer staff opportunities to mix and interact at work but outside their workplace to discuss non-work related issues. These activities strengthen bonds, cross-departmental relationships, and collaboration.
- Collaborative Software Integrations
It is essential for staff to have the right tools to collaborate within and across departments at all times. Managers should also check the integration of communication software before procuring new technologies to optimize the potential for collaboration. Collaborative software integrations such as Slack, MS Teams, and other communication software often integrate with software specific to roles.
- Dynamic Employee Directories
An employee directory is an essential tool that allows you to store and manage information about all employees in your organization. Employee directories also serve many other vital functions, including:
- Contacting and collaborating with other employees.
- Understanding the organizational chart.
- Onboarding new hires.
These steps will support your decisions as you improve your digital transformation workplace. But what are the critical components of digital workplace transformation?
The Key Components Of Digital Workplace Transformation
With the internet’s growth, every company has had to evolve or re-evaluate its methods. Many have invested hefty sums into digital transformation. HBR reports that analysts expect these investments to reach $6.8 trillion globally by 2023. However, such ventures don’t promise success or profits and often need clear benefits or ROI. These failures can be blamed on many factors but generally happen because those in charge underestimate the steps necessary for a successful transformation agenda.
Utilizing the key components to optimize digital workplace transformation strategies is essential. The first component is DX (digital transformation) tools.
Digital Transformation (DX) Tools
The digital tools you use to implement your DX are essential to ensuring success. Digital technologies such as collaboration software help people connect on projects, metrics tools help collect data and make sense of it by creating insights, and all digital tools help drive action that leads to success.
Digital workplace technology adoption is a large part of the DX business transformation process and boosts business value while using tools to help your business remain competitive.
Although some see data as the new oil, its value is only practical when we properly refine it and use it for something impactful. Data without a thoughtful model or system is essentially useless, but IT teams can transform this data into insights with the help of experts and the right tools.
Analytics is the science that allows staff to extract meaning from data. The more accurate our insights are, the better our chances of being able to test a model’s prediction for accuracy. It’s not about always being right but finding ways to improve upon past errors. All models contain some inaccuracies, but some are still useful despite this fact.
Most commonly, businesses transform digitally to give their customers better access to data–which is valuable because human staff collects it. Consequently, with humans as the foundation of why this change occurs, digital transformation always starts with them.
Maintaining customer relationships was difficult in the past because everything was so spread out and disorganized.
To give you an idea, think about analog small businesses without any formal structure—for example, a stand in a Turkish bazaar run by salespeople with excellent customer knowledge but no system for organizing or keeping track of it all.
When a company becomes so large that personal relationships with employees or customers are no longer possible, technology and data become increasingly important. This point is valid for big businesses like Amazon or Facebook but also for small businesses that may not have the same resources.
To have a comprehensive understanding of your customers and employees, as well as be able to replicate this information for future use, data needs to be available and easily retrieved. This data includes customer interactions, employee records, and client files.
The real value that technology provides us is not in its functionality or efficiency but in its ability to capture data. Companies use this data to understand human behavior patterns and preferences. This digitization process converts analog information into digital form (0s and 1s).
Although generating accurate insights is essential, it is not enough. The most compelling and valuable insights will go to waste without a roadmap for turning them into actionable steps. As Ajay Agrawal and his colleagues have argued, while data science and analytics are vital tools, it ultimately falls to us humans to determine what to do with a prediction.
If your research tells you that a specific type of leader is more inclined to fail, how will that change your internal hiring and development process? What if it also reveals that customers don’t like a particular product–how will this shift your product development and marketing strategy? Predicting which clients are susceptible to going to competitors–what’s the plan then?
Without the proper steps and management, even data and predictions from AI cannot help unlock digital transformation. This situation is where talent becomes a vital piece of the puzzle- it can make or break your plans for change.
In the last stage, you evaluate results and outcomes. But this is not the final part — you return to the data after assessing the effects. The results now become a richer dataset that staff can improve with process findings.
This feedback loop is iterative, which means that your data becomes more predictive and valuable as you gain insights. This action also develops the people skills needed to produce a great synergy between humans and technology.
In other words, the crucial element of digital transformation is not “digital” but “transformation.” over the past twenty years, our world has changed rapidly, and adapting your organization to these changes cannot be accomplished in a single night. You can’t simply buy new technologies or collect more data either. Instead, a shift in mindset, culture, and talent is required. This action should include developing your workforce to prepare for the future.
Throughout history, leaders have always prepared their teams and organizations for the future. And if they don’t work to create a better team, they are not truly leading.
Leaders are constantly working to connect the past with the future, and digital transformation is no different. Digital transformation is the bridge between the past and the future.
The 11-Step Digital Workplace Strategy
A digital workplace strategy doesn’t just integrate digital technology into existing business areas but changes how you operate to provide value to customers. It’s also a cultural shift that calls for businesses to take risks, try new things and get used to occasional failure.
The first step toward a successful digital workplace transformation for companies is having leaders who can inspire their staff to work together toward a shared vision.
- Inspire A Creative Vision
Keep your business and digital transformation goals in mind while drafting your plan for a new digital workplace — this will help you communicate why you want to update your work environment. You should also have clear objectives, like increasing employee engagement or productivity.
Remember to consider how potential alterations might affect different demographics within the workplace. And finally, involve key stakeholders such as HR and facilities managers early on so that everyone invests in the changes.
You execute decisions regarding the technology platform once you agree on the digital workplace’s purpose and objectives. How will these efforts change business processes? Also, consider that this will require a large budget; therefore, be sure to get buy-in from key members of management, including the C-suite and board of directors.
- Define A Purposeful Strategy
To successfully manage digital workplace initiatives within a purposeful strategy, you’ll need a plan that involves input from all company departments. This includes R&D, marketing, sales customer support, manufacturing HR, and IT. Each team should answer the following questions: How can we use various technologies to increase employee engagement and support our company’s digital transformation goals?
Ad hoc and formal collaboration opportunities will be more readily available to employees if companies design the workspaces with creativity in mind. You must first understand how people work and what improvements would be beneficial to achieve this goal.
- Define Employee Personas
Employee personas are crucial to any digital workplace initiative, helping businesses set standards for staff workflows. For example: What tech tools does an HR manager need compared to a sales lead?
A few years ago, as part of a large digital workplace undertaking, financial consultants BNY Mellon set up a persona model which defined users under three categories:
- Knowledge seekers.
- Inside experts.
These points are according to Gartner’s research. The personas included attributes such as technology adoption and mobile usage, content creation/consumption/sharing habits, and organizational knowledge. Tracking the technology consumption for each persona is key to helping measure corporate value.
- Utilize Analytics & Metrics
Use analytics to figure out IT, HR, and business metrics, then create a digital scorecard. For example, you can measure user engagement by tracking daily active users and time spent in collaboration software like Slack. Later, try to gauge positive impacts on workforce effectiveness that you can use to change your approach and refine management.
- Boost The Employee Experience
The eventual goal of a digital workplace is to improve customer service, but you must first improve the employee experience. Get your IT team together and talk with those who manage the office space about ways to change things so that people can work together more effectively and have places where they can concentrate without being disturbed. Make it possible for managers to give employees credit for doing good work online and keep track of employee engagement using metrics involving both IT and HR departments.
The Boston Red Sox implemented an intranet called Home Plate to improve communication among its 350 full-time and more than 1,000 seasonal employees who play security and other roles during baseball season. The BoSox CIO, Brian Shield, oversaw the project using Akumina Digital Workplace, which runs on Microsoft Azure and integrates with Active Directory.
Keeping your employees in the loop by having a modern, up-to-date intranet is essential for engagement. Shield states that the content on BoSox’s intranet site is refreshed regularly with gameday photos, videos, and how-to articles. They also have a chatbot to help employees learn about benefits and answer other questions.
- Invest In Organizational Change
Businesses must change several factors, like how they operate internally, to establish a digital workplace. The way departments operate, what incentives employees receive, and more. Assessing which new skills and abilities staff need for this type of work environment is critical.
Before obstacles become full-blown problems, you’ll want to select change management leaders who can predict and resolve them. Get top executives on board by getting them to listen to staff members and take an interest in their work lives. Ensure to include digital workplace technologies in flowcharts and set parameters, such as technology standards, usage guidelines, and best information governance practices.
- Develop New Training Opportunities
You can ease your employees into new technologies by reskilling them with proper training. When medical technology company Cerner switched from C++ and C# programming languages to HTML5 and another web-friendly language, they hired digital consultancy PluralSight. PluralSight provides clients with corporate learning content and agile and DevOps methodologies, says Eric Geis, the vice president of intellectual property for Cerner.
Efforts to improve the skills of 26,000-plus employees based in 10 US locations and 30 international offices failed because they took too long. Geis says, “We couldn’t train people fast enough, and the content got old and stale quickly.” PluralSight’s continuous learning approach has helped with employee retention by “motivating employees and giving people options to prove themselves in tech space.”
- Use A Customer Journey Map
A customer journey map can help businesses understand customers’ interactions with the brand from the customer’s perspective. This exercise allows you to see where your customers are having difficulty and how you can improve those areas.
The benefits of mapping the customer journey include:
- Allowing you to optimize the customer onboarding process.
- Benchmarking the customer experience desired by your customers against what they receive.
- Understanding differences in buyer personas as they move from prospect to conversion through buying funnel.
- Creating logical order for your buyer journey.
- Clarify Processes
To improve your business processes, observe how employees work and what tasks take up most of their time. You can use a customer journey-mapping playbook to model employee journey maps by gathering data on employee activities and experiences.
As you plan for the future, don’t forget to consider new technologies such as the internet of things and artificial intelligence. AI can automate routine tasks so that employees are more productive. For example, buildings equipped with sensors can track patterns of workspace usage and adjust lighting and HVAC settings accordingly.
- Utilize A Data-Driven Approach
Today’s workers demand that the software they use for business purposes, such as searching and sharing information, be as user-friendly and effective as the ones they use in their personal lives. They also want the information to be presented contextually and delivered when needed. To meet these expectations, you’ll need to implement a file-sharing system that offers easy mobile access and real-time synchronization.
The technology found in science fiction movies might not be as far-fetched as you think when it comes to empowering your workforce digitally. Consider virtual assistants that can provide contextualized content recommendations, decision support, and advice. Also, weigh the value of roving robotic video conferencing systems and immersive, 360-degree video conferencing systems.
- Support A Cloud-Mobile-First Strategy
Finally, it’s essential not to forget to reward technology innovation practices. Many organizations lack a well-defined architecture due mainly to their digital workplace vendors. Remedy this issue by tying together all digital platforms in a way that allows for contextual awareness, mobility, and real-time information delivery–ultimately enabling employees to serve customers better. Cloud and mobile-first strategies can facilitate this and create a ‘bring your own work style’ culture promoted by intelligent, modular, and easily movable workspaces.
Transform Your Workplace Into A Digital Haven Today
How we work is changing, and ‘deskless’ employees are on the frontlines of this revolution. With remote working, digital workplaces, and the continued integration of internet-based workplace software, more and more people are doing their jobs without being tied to a physical office space. This shift is especially apparent in frontline and field workers who can increasingly do their jobs from anywhere.
Many companies have long allowed employees to work remotely or from home, and digital workplace solutions have recently seen a rapid rise in popularity due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related stay-at-home mandates. The future of the brick-and-mortar office remains uncertain around the world.
A digital workplace transformation is a shift from working in an office to using technology, the internet, and teleworking software. With this type of change, you can keep your current office or get rid of it completely.
Is Your Company Prepared For A Digital Transformation?
Technology has never been more equipped to handle the demands of a digital workplace than it is today. With a global internet penetration rate of 60% and solutions like Starlink providing high-speed and reliable internet connection in even the most remote areas, people feel increasingly empowered to have all digital resources available to them no matter where they are.
Today’s workplaces are attracting more digitally-savvy candidates, as millennials and Gen Z make up most of the workforce. These workers are “digital natives” since they grew up during the popularity of internet-based tech, touchscreen devices, smartphones, and tablets. The combination of improved connectivity and innovative technology has made the shift to digital more accessible than ever before.
To keep up with the desires of young adults, employers need to make changes so that their Business model suits the wants and needs of those in the technologically-minded movement. According to research completed by Citrix, 90% of Gen Z and millennials want to work in a hybrid model after COVID-19 has ended. Such work would bring together digital workspaces with traditional office settings. Even more interesting is that over half said they would like to shift towards needing a fully digital workplace most or all of the time.
When a company adopts an employee-centered approach, its workers are suddenly empowered to improve their skill sets, bridge gaps in knowledge, and access support whenever they need it from any location. The advantages of transitioning to a digital workplace don’t just stop at the employees – external partners and all other people invested in the company will see benefits too.
The Advantages of Workplace Transformation For Employees and External Collaborators
The tech industry is constantly evolving, and with it, the way we work. Workplace transformation is key to keeping up with the latest trends and ensuring that your team is functioning at its best. But what are the advantages of workplace transformation for employees and external collaborators?
1. Efficient Training, Comprehensive Employee Support, And Continued Skill Development
A Learning Experience Platform (a revamped and improved LMS) provides employees with round-the-clock access to operational materials, courses, and reference documents. Your staff will be more inclined to participate in their learning since it is convenient, autonomous, and user-friendly. Also, they can receive real-time support as well as asynchronous and just-in-time learning synchronously, all from one central location.
2. The Best People For The Job Exist In Digital Workplaces
A digital workplace offers endless possibilities to organizations- they no longer have to worry about onboarding new employees restricted by geographical locations. With a digital transformation, global organizations can now handpick the best talent from anywhere in the world without being limited by proximity. This way of working also presents countless opportunities for small companies based in remote areas or non-traditional markets.
3. Digital Workplaces Can be Cost-Effective
With property values rising, more businesses are jettisoning their brick-and-mortar locations for digital workplaces where employees can toil from any internet connection. Another popular option is coworking spaces, complete with furnished meeting areas but without long-term lease obligations.
4. Develop Relationships And Collaborate With External Partners
A functional digital workplace enables companies to communicate directly with external partners like clients and suppliers. It also makes collaboration more convenient for partner companies and employees while saving money on travel expenses. Plus, everyone enjoys a better work-life balance from the increased accessibility of a digital workplace.
Although a digital workplace might make you think you won’t have in-person meetings, that’s not necessarily true. We all know how important face-to-face meetings are, but they’re even more effective in addition to digitally enriching conversations and intelligent use of tools. Employees and external partners can often develop stronger relationships online.
The Impact of Technology on Acceptance, Perceptions, and Attitudes
TAM (the technology acceptance model) states that an individual’s likelihood of accepting new technology is predicted by how they think it will help them with their work and how much of a challenge or enjoyment they feel it will deliver. Digital workplace leaders must be aware of the TAM model to understand staff reactions to change and support them with any significant changes.
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According to Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), there are three stages for users to adapt to new technology.
- The change triggers a user’s reaction, which forms an attitude that influences the final decision on whether or not to adopt the new technology.
- The user or employee has an emotional response to this trigger.
- Finally, the user accepts or rejects the change based on the above experiences.
The TAM model is essential for leaders as it helps them understand the emotional responses to change. C-suite staff can then use this training to ensure they put in place information systems and support for the team. This support should promote acceptance of critical challenges before implementation, increasing the digital adoption rate of new technologies within a digital transformation strategy.
How Digitization Has Changed the Way We Work
Considering today’s level of digitization, it is hard to believe that just a few decades ago, the only way to communicate with colleagues was to pick up the phone. Thanks to email, instant messaging, and video conferencing, we can now connect with coworkers from all over the globe in seconds. This change has not only made work more efficient, but it has also allowed for new ways of collaborating and sharing ideas. So how has digitization changed the way we work?
Digitization promotes greater flexibility
Historically, as long as employees could book a conference room, companies never needed to consider making meetings virtual. However, social distancing has forced businesses to adopt video meeting technologies, making it more about the session’s content than where everyone physically is. These new ways of work have also given rise and acceleration to individual choice. Now more than ever, people want flexibility in their job roles, and a hybrid remote/office setting seems to be the sweet spot for most workers.
A result of the pandemic is that many companies are now accelerating their digitization and automation processes. Of those companies, 38% have sped up, while 17% have put their plans on hold. Automation will increase workforce headcount and create jobs specifically for those who know how to operate such technology, with those companies digitizing at the highest rates and making even more positions. 86% of employers that automate plan to either maintain or increase their staff numbers; this contrasts with just 11% of employers who don’t intend to automate or reduce employees because of it.
Digital enterprise giants
The coronavirus may have caused many businesses to shutter their doors, but the most digitally-focused companies are faring much better. Companies like Amazon that were already making fast progress on digitization before the pandemic hit are emerging more financially robust than ever.
Those investing more in digitization, workforce skills, and innovation are capturing a more significant market share, pulling away from their less prepared peers. As the way we work, consume, learn and socialize has shifted almost overnight to being primarily remote, those companies with a focus on digital successfully navigated these uncharted waters.
Digitization comes in peaks and troughs
There has been a recent push for automation in various sectors lagging before the pandemic hit. Businesses- small and large alike- are digitizing now more than ever. The administration, IT, and front office functions will be automated first by larger organizations, whereas smaller businesses focus on automating support functions that directly affect customers, such as finance.
According to the Manpower Group’s report, companies will learn how Digital transformation is continuing rapidly, and organizations need to know how to retain the best talent to engage them. This report provides a practical road map on strategies that will help do just that.
The Success Of Digital Transformation Rests On Strong Group Dynamics And Healthy Organizations
Technology Acceptance And Adoption
Technology’s value to an organization depends on the users accepting and adopting it effectively. There are many ways to support your staff to accept and adopt technology, but the first involves education.
- Education – Management must train and explain why and how to use new technology. The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) is key to education.
- Simplification – Use simple language appropriate to the employee department or group to make information meaningful.
- Visualization – Infographics, photos, and videos help staff show information in a new way. This action can help embed the data in employees’ minds, motivating them to implement the change.
- Influencing – Diffusion Of Innovations (DOI) works alongside TAM to ensure that once some adopt change, the effect transfers to others who see positive changes.
- Demonstrating – Use kinesthetic learning to cater to every learning style by engaging in the experience-led approach. Demonstrate how new technologies work using hands-on, verbal, and visual methods.
- Encouraging – Experiencing change is emotionally draining for staff, so positive reinforcement is the most effective way of ensuring they know their organization appreciates them for maintaining their motivation throughout the transformation.
When management uses this technology adoption and acceptance approach, the chance of success increases as staff feels supported and able to understand new technologies. This approach highlights the importance of empowering peoples’ views and listening to how they feel about new technological change.
Value Staff Views and Feelings About Technological Change
Employee experience is at the heart of every successful digital workplace transformation, meaning that how people view and feel about technological change is the key to buy-in. There are four steps to acknowledging people’s views and feelings about change and ensuring that they see you are listening and have actions, feelings, and concerns. The first step is to assess the work environment.
- Assess the work environment – Assess the work environment to establish what works and what doesn’t within the physical space and the culture.
- Optimize communication channels – Communication is the heart of every workplace transformation. Defining and constantly improving how staff communicates, what barriers exist to effective communication, how to overcome these barriers, and the tools needed are essential for success. Doing so boosts collaboration, employee productivity, and well-being.
- Collaborate with a helpful partner – Change is complex. Suppose you know a partner that has already undergone a similar change. Their expertise can help staff adjust to change through tailored workshops and departmental meetings.
- Look to the future – Ensure the transformation works far into the future, not just for the present or the next few years. Maintain innovation via transformation to ensure sustainability. Companies like Nokia and Kodak failed to maintain market dominance due to a lack of future foresight.
Ensuring that you collect, incorporate, and action all employee feelings and views about changes is the best way to gain and maintain buy-in early. But the impact of skills and training is also a huge part of transformation success.
The Structure Of Skills & Training
McKinsey suggests a nine-point plan to ensure that skills and training are impactful. The first of these points concerns the need for future skills. Without skills and training, leaders are not equipping their staff to utilize new technologies to carry out workplace transformation successfully.
- Define the need for future skills by predicting future needs.
- Establish the current level of each skill for individual staff.
- Analyze skills gaps, incorporating the business case progression closest to them.
- Develop a set of initiatives to close the skills gap.
- Build customized learning journey plans and goals for staff based on role type or group.
- Define learning enablers and infrastructure to ensure learning is delivered effectively.
- Launch an organizational structure appropriate to your culture that allows staff to seek learning support, such as a ‘skills hub.’
- Scale your organization-wide skills transformation delivery utilizing detailed programs that build capabilities and support essential learning needs.
- Utilize metrics to track staff learning progress dynamically.
Structuring skills and training helps to ensure that staff has the tools they need to engage in workplace transformation effectively. But workplace stability and adaptability are also essential for success.
Maintaining Workplace Stability and Adaptability
Maintaining workplace transformation stability and adaptability is key to a successful tech company. Instability can cause disruptions in operations which in turn affects the bottom line. On the other hand, being too rigid can impede creativity and innovation. Leaders must continually manage a delicate balance between company goals and employee experience to achieve the best results.
There are nine steps to creating a stable environment where staff remains adaptable despite vast disruption. The first involves adequate resources.
Equip your employees with everything they need to succeed. Keep in close contact with employees and team managers to pinpoint their needs and work tirelessly to ensure they meet them.
Communication is the key to a successful workplace transformation. Follow these three actions to ensure stability.
- Be transparent and proactive – Try to address issues before they happen rather than wait for staff to ask about problems after they have happened. The strong leadership this will show creates confidence in projects and help staff maintain momentum.
- Maintain updates – Don’t give explanations of what the transformation is for and then stop updates following the initial meeting. Keep employees up to date throughout the changes, so they feel valued and able to respond to unexpected challenges with agility.
- Be upfront about context – Staff may feel frustrated if they don’t understand why changes occur. Ensure all employees understand the reasons for the transformation.
3. Share plan details
By sharing your plan, you are showing staff that there are no secrets, and they are welcome to use their skills and experience to scrutinize details they predict will be challenging. Sharing the transformation plan also creates trust between leaders and team members. Trust is fundamental to success.
4. Initiate feedback
Initiating feedback regularly with your team to collect their views on progress, instead of waiting for staff to offer it has many benefits. Firstly, it allows you to see the team’s progress at every stage to see what training and resources are needed. And finally, it reinforces trust and respect as employees feel that leaders value their input.
Collect feedback using various means, such as monthly one-to-one meetings, weekly group feedback sessions, and pulse surveys, and have a ‘feedback champion’ as a point of information and contact.
5. Engage in positive leadership
Optimism and hope are the key resources to keep staff motivated via your positive leadership. There are three fundamental approaches to follow to achieve positive leadership.
- Remember the constants in your organization, operations, or business. When things are changing, remind staff of what is staying the same.
- Recognize progress and achievements–even if you feel like you’re still in the thick of things. Focus on what is going well amid times of challenge.
- Share why you feel optimistic about the future when outlining a plan of action or new goal. Leaders must show their teams that their hard work will lead to success.
6. Consider the worst outcome
If you can come to peace with the idea of the worst happening, you will be able to handle your fears and take action. Most of the time, the worst-case scenario is highly unlikely.
For example, Apple fired Steve Jobs after a long power struggle. Instead of giving up on the company, he founded a computer platform development company called NeXT. He later became Apple’s CEO and revived the company, which had been close to bankruptcy.
7. See change as a positive
Change is something we accept in all aspects of our lives. Only by understanding that change naturally happens at home and work can we adapt more quickly when it does occur. Instead of focusing on the negative, look for the positives that bring new opportunities. Be open-minded about company procedures, co-workers, or your boss instead of being fixated on how staff used to complete tasks.
8. Outwardly enjoy the process
The biggest challenge for transformation is that people view change as a negative. If leaders see change as a positive, stimulating, and enjoyable process from which all team members benefit, permanent buy-in will occur.
9. Adjust goals as needed
Achieving small goals to your end goal will help you stay focused and motivated. Constantly focusing on what’s ahead of you instead of behind can be very anxiety-reducing and highly fulfilling. You should always think about your goals using the SMART method (goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and time-bound.) With these targeted intentions, you’re more likely to succeed in any change initiative.
How Can Workplace Relationships Foster Transformation?
The relationships within a workplace form the fabric of transformational success. The first area to focus on is the value of cross-departmental relationships in promoting collaboration.
Relationships across teams promote collaboration
Creating bonds with employees outside their usual teams is as key to a company’s success as open communication among coworkers. Transparency and trust are essential team values, but so is networking beyond an employee’s everyday groups. This opportunity allows for better collaboration and helps employees understand how the company runs.
Reaching out to new hires motivates them to engage in transformation
Building a relationship with a new hire can begin weeks before they start, so use this time wisely to establish connections that will benefit your whole team. Schooling explains how she’s had success in the past: “Team members can shoot over welcome emails, connect on LinkedIn, or even give them a call. I’ve found it helpful to invite employees who have yet to start for lunch with the team. Once, I even invited them to our department potluck so they could meet everyone in a relaxed setting.”
When employees connect, they support each other in transformations
Instilling a healthy respect for other people’s boundaries is just as important. Sharing something about yourself first is an unspoken invitation to reciprocate. If they don’t respond likewise, show deference to their right to keep information to themselves. Making sure that no one feels pressured to share more than what they are comfortable revealing builds a sense of psychological safety that can incentivize people to feel better about opening up over time.
Celebrating staff life events makes staff feel valued and included
When employees are kept up-to-date about their colleagues’ life events and can join in meaningful celebrations, it strengthens bonds between co-workers and creates a greater sense of inclusion. According to an SHRM/Workhuman survey, an employee is 64% more likely to rate their company as an excellent place to work if they are satisfied with how their employer celebrates life events.
Building a positive community experience around employees’ lives inside and outside work empowers them to express their diverse selves, creating a positive and uplifting environment.
Optimize each opportunity to check in with your team for feedback
According to HR consultant and speaker Sabrina Baker, leaders establish relationships and trust in key moments. “These include leaders showing support for their team, respecting various ideas and perspectives, and getting involved rather than just delegating tasks.” Managers must engage with colleagues often to show they are available to ask questions or give feedback about the progress of the transformation.
How to Create a Digital Workplace That is Productive, Efficient, and Enjoyable
Creating a digital workplace that is productive, efficient, and enjoyable for staff to work within is essential to the success of your transformation. The first point to consider is flexibility.
1. Support increased employee productivity and satisfaction by providing radical flexibility
Technology plays a significant role in enabling radical flexibility. Gartner’s research suggests that organizations that offer employees more flexibility around when, where, and how much they work have 55% high performers in their workforce. Use the same — and additional — toolsets you adopted during COVID-19 to support collaboration, calendaring and meeting capabilities. It would help if you offered this to staff in a balanced way — all employees should be able to access critical services similarly.
2. Remove obstacles that hamper productivity caused by digital dysfunction to help employees work more quickly
The new tools and technologies that IT and digital workplace leaders implemented between 2020 and 2021 led to an influx of notifications, updates, emails, and messages. Often, digital workers overlook important information because it comes their way too quickly for them to process it all.
Gartner defines “digital friction” as the extra effort an employee exerts to use data or technology at work. Leaders can address this by letting employees know the best practices for using workplace applications, setting parameters that will accurately measure productive hours, and providing services and products that give employees only the information they need.
For example, you can develop best practices for notifying an individual team member using an @ tag versus notifying the whole team regarding collaboration software, such as Microsoft Teams or Slack. Furthermore, staff should assess user experience features when choosing new vendors, like subscriptions and notification thresholds.
H3: 3. Follow the philosophy of working smarter, not harder
Although it may be scary, organizations must stay updated with how workplace technology changes and help support employees using the new devices. However, many of these changes are due to improved technological infrastructure.
The best way to improve your workplace is by using tools that change the entire system. These tools include development, automation, analytics, and AI, allowing employees to control and develop creative solutions.
By improving the digital dexterity of all users, businesses will be able to:
- Improve efficiency and performance by utilizing data more effectively
- Automate processes with low-code or no-code technology to help streamline workflows.
- Encourage those skilled in AI technologies to help their colleagues better use these tools.
Follow these steps to create the most productive workforce environment for your staff, boosting retention, engagement, and transformation buy-in.
Start Your Transformation Today
Now is the time to implement a digital workplace transformation strategy if you haven’t done so. The competitive advantages of digitization are too significant to ignore, and the window of opportunity is closing as competitors narrow the gap.
Those who delay will be at a disadvantage when competing against those who have embraced an established and successful digital workplace transformation. It’s essential not to delay and begin your digital workplace transformation to ensure you build a sustainable business strategy for the future.