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The Rise of Digital: Welcome to The Revolution!

Angela Chammas, VP, HR Strategy and Technology Planning, Sprint

Angela Chammas, VP, HR Strategy and Technology Planning, Sprint

We’re in the midst of a workplace revolu­tion! A movement that fuels innova­tion, increases employee engagement and productivity, and delivers a competitive advantage at lower costs. Interested in joining?

Digital technologies are changing the workplace and how companies operate. We’ve already seen a tremen­dous shift to digital enablement when it comes to serving customers, but now that shift has turned toward engaging and enabling employees.

Creating a digital workplace is all about designing and enabling the latest digital tools and technologies, but first you have to use your imagination. For instance, imagine if your managers and employees never had to say “I wish I knew who else knows this” or even better, “I wonder who has the right skills and experience in the company to get this done.” The reality is being connected and enabled through digital technologies that has the power to change how employees engage and immediately respond instead of just anticipating (i.e. wishing, waiting and wanting) their next move to actual performing (i.e. knowing, doing and having)it.

Despite good intentions, many organizations still fall short when delivering, and living, an always-on digital workplace. One reason is they still believe a digital workplace conflicts with maintaining an optimum physical workplace. Nothing could be further from the truth. A digital workplace does not conflict with the physical workplace; it actually compliments it by simplifying how employees engage while getting work done.

“The reality is being connected and enabled through digital technologies”

Key Benefits of the Digital Workplace

To take part in the revolution, one must embrace its desired outcome. That’s why understanding and communicating digital benefits can go a long way toward getting a ground swell of support.

When you declare a digital revolution, what you are really saying is:

Employees can Stay Connected When and Where it Matters–Anytime/ anywhere facilitation coupled with real-time collaboration gives employees control over how and with whom they choose to get their work done.

Our Organization has Increased Intelligence–Organizations become “smarter” because collaboration with SMEs, and the speed at which it’s done, increases. This also inspires a culture of knowledge and best-practice sharing.

Our Employees Build Trusting Relationships–Digital provides a seamless way for employees to meet and engage online and offline, to share ideas and information. This builds trust and enables better relationships across every organizational boundary.

We Want Increased Productivity and Optimized Performance–We all want the right business outcome, but even that result can be tainted if the time and costs it took to get there are too high. Digital applications simplify processes and workflows while enabling employees to be more efficient.

Building Blocks for Creating a Digi­tal Workplace

So you want to join the revolution; now what? Delivering a digital workplace involves using the right combination of technologies including mobility, web and intranet, social, cloud, data analytics, document management and collaboration. These elements deliver speed, higher productivity, and reduced cost to the organization. But looking at a blank digital blueprint can be daunting unless you follow some digital design tips:

Start at the Top or Stop–When it comes to enabling a digital workplace, if you don’t have buy-in from the top–stop, and pause! Migrat­ing to a digital workplace means gaining the right understanding and leadership support. Strategic understanding at the highest levels is critical for digital success.

Exchange Old Knowl­edge with New Emerging Digital Thinking–What good is a revolution if you don’t do away with the old to embrace the new? Companies must be willing to exchange old knowledge and informa­tion about existing workplace tools for a new understanding of the latest digital capabili­ties and technologies. Organizations must welcome new ideas and information if they want to create a differentiating digital workplace experience.

It’s All About the “End-user”–A revolution by the people must be for the people, and a digital revolution is no different. Focus should be on delivering user-centric digital applications, tools and technologies that are designed to enable the end-user to get work done faster, simpler and more effectively.

Understand the Readiness of Your Current Culture–Like any successful revolution, timing is everything. Don’t try to force something that your culture isn’t ready for. Remember, just because you build it doesn’t mean they will use it. Trust me, been there, seen that! Find ways to first instill the need to find a better way to get work done in simple yet cost effective ways.

Change Data and Analytics into Insights and Decisions–Ena­bling the digital workplace revolution is a strategic move for driving maximum value from the “big data and analytics” that resides within the walls of your organization. Digital technolo­gies provide ease of access to data and analytics that deliver new insights and drive better decision making for business success.

Benefits of the Digital Workplace for HR

Any revolution worth its salt has strong, courageous leaders. Of all the organiza­tions in a company, the one that needs to take the lead on becoming a digital workplace is HR. Em­ployee engagement is a critical measurement for HR and the right digital outcome has the potential to take engagement to new levels.

HR must be an early-adopter to designing and implementing a digital workplace because it’s also an opportunity to engage and support workplace talent by:

Ensuring Your Workplace is Attractive to the Talent You Seek–An innovative, creative and collaborative work environment is the new “normal” for employees. A digital workplace proves “relevancy” to talent who are looking for it.

Enabling the Development and Use of “Rich Talent Profiles”– The ability to create and continually enhance the profiles of your talent enables organizations to better recognize and reward key people, and not just based on what they’ve done but who they are becoming in the process. Having access to the current, new and emerging skills and expertise of the talent within an organization enables the movement of talent at the right time to the right opportunity.

Identification of Employee Personalized Growth and Development Opportunities–The ability to track and continually identify opportunities for development and growth based on an employee’s digital footprint (i.e. employee searches, recent training, work results, goals) creates an environment and culture of continuous learning. That demonstrates to employees that the company their values growth and development while supporting their ability to contribute to the company’s success.

The revolution to a digital transformation in the workplace is real. Companies are challenging themselves to rethink and re-imagine and employees are expecting to have the same digital capabilities and technologies in the workplace as they do at home. Ignoring these desires, businesses risk that employees, and potential employees, will make a move to seek out new digitally-enabled opportunities and leave the old way of doing business behind. Sounds like a revolution.