Technology in workplaces has become indispensable, citing today’s ever-changing market conditions and end-user demands. In fact, digital transformation is the antidote to multiple issues associated with conventional workplaces, including low engagement, inadequate collaboration, and inept operations. Part of the credit goes to the new working patterns in light of COVID-19 that have accelerated the pace of digital workplace transformation.
As technology drastically remodels industry after industry, enterprises are engaging in at-length change efforts to grab the value at stake or maintain market competitiveness. However, in a hyperconnected economy where business growth identically relies on both workers and customers, several companies are yet to focus on employee productivity in digital workplace environments.
While spending in digital workspaces has only witnessed an uptrend, there is limited proof to substantiate technology’s role in boosting workplace efficiency. As such, organizations must reinvent their workplaces to function in sync and connect with their employees irrespective of their locations, time zones, and devices. Put simply, connecting workforce experience to business outcomes.
This article elaborates on key strategies that will help organizations uncover the power of workplace transformation and ensure optimal employee productivity.
Foster Open-ended Discussions throughout the Corporate Hierarchy
Communication is the cornerstone of any workplace transformation framework. Employees resist change when business leaders force it upon them. As such, organizations must bring all the employees together and welcome their queries and opinions.
Various high-ranking officials must exhibit technology prowess to encourage enterprise-wide adaptation. After all, change is a team effort. The boardroom-level discussion should begin from the top and involve employees throughout the corporate ladder.
The Chief Information Officer (CIO), in particular, should take charge of building digital-driven synergies across their companies. Moreover, they must effectively bridge the gap between the actual technology deployment and employees’ concerns and demands.
Even though the digital workplace transformation is in motion, the C-suite must keep the floor open, continuously asking for employees’ input. During the early stages of tech-based changes, company-wide communication is thus considerably vital.
Build a More Collaborative Landscape
Robust collaboration and communication are paramount in enhancing employee productivity through digital change as they linearly affect workforce culture and how workers perform their duties.
Remote and hybrid working models have become crucial for workplace transformation initiatives. With COVID-19 keeping everybody tethered to their respective homes, companies often suffer disordered communication between employees, leading to conflicts and misconceptions.
Employees now seek liberty to access enterprise tech solutions to work from anywhere and on devices of their choice. In order to develop a collaborative work environment, businesses must connect their employees with the appropriate tools and processes. In doing so, they can make necessary tweaks and create a positive atmosphere for remote work communication while warding off unwanted stressors.
That way, they can smoothly fill the gap between offline and online collaboration. Besides, workplace transformation tools offer a straightforward way for remote employees to communicate and collaborate in real-time. This truly creates “anytime, anywhere” access to corporate data, tools, and resources.
Furthermore, digital tools help eliminate generational gaps and bring together employees of all age cohorts. They help keep every employee accountable and ensure better inter-departmental collaboration.
Monitor Employee Productivity in Real-time
Several service-based firms have enacted remote working policies over the past few months. However, forging a capable remote workforce is miles from being easy. From managing global resource clusters to delayed decision-making to lack of accountability, remote managers have to negotiate multiple obstacles.
During digital workplace transformation, organizations must keep a constant on employees to determine:
- How digitization is helping employees
- Whether businesses fulfilled the initial objective of digitization
- Areas of improvement throughout enterprise-wide digitization
Companies must capture these insights during and after post-digital workplace strategy. Then, they should determine the key performance indicators (KPI) necessary for evaluation before deploying the technology. These KPIs help determine whether the results gathered from real-time monitoring align with the organizations’ workplace transformation goals.
Moreover, they help underline the elements that require improvement and maintenance. In the case of the former, organizations should conduct a meeting with all employees and stakeholders to discuss the same.
Invest in Training Programs
New technologies surface frequently, and organizations need to keep pace with them. As businesses bid goodbye to legacy systems, they must arm their workforces with the relevant skill set to operate the new digital solution. That said, not all employees are tech-savvy. At times, even those fluent in technology take a while to become familiar with the recently utilized platform.
Companies must organize and schedule holistic training programs for employees to educate them about the direct and indirect changes digital workplace transformation will deliver. Such coaching sessions help employees build relevant capabilities to survive the dynamic business environment.
Some effective ways of training employees in new digital solutions include:
- Approaching in-house subject matter experts for training
- Product/application training by a third-party service provider
- Online learning resources such as videos, e-courses, and quizzes
- Using sandboxes to enable experimentation with technologies without affecting the primary IT system
Business leaders should motivate every employee, regardless of their corporate rank or department, to undergo immersive training to fuel tech adoption. Particularly if the technology used is still in its early days. Furthermore, organizations will not be ready for change if their workforces are not.
Focus on Improving Employee Experience
Employees are the heart of any corporate workplace. Including them in the planning phase of any workplace transformation framework is critical. In addition, employee experience and customer experience are innately linked.
Understanding how to step up employee productivity and engagement should form the basis of an effective digital transition. That said, productivity slumps happening early in the transformation journey are natural as employees need time to adjust to the new tool or application.
For this, businesses can perform comprehensive research through the following techniques:
- Individual feedback forms
- Polls and surveys
- Meetings with team/department representatives
When CIOs learn how the current employee experience squares with the desired experience, they can take actions to better align both within their workplace transformation strategy.
For instance, if employees experience communication inefficiency, senior officials should form an online forum that makes internal communications more accessible and appropriate.
Or, suppose the remote workforce cannot be in full swing due to constant toggling between browser tabs, wrestling with recurring sign-ins, and searching for resources. In that case, a digital workplace platform will be sufficient.
Elevating workforce experience has a domino effect on customer experience as employees can work in their preferred methods and thus offer higher grades of service.
Deploy Suitable Workplace Transformation Technologies
Similar to how companies assign employees specific tasks, they must also appropriate business operations to particular digital technologies. An effective way is to consider a specific department and single out a certain workflow to determine what processes hold well with particular tools or solutions.
Case in point, a company’s IT division needs to focus on a strategic project. However, they lack enough labor pool as they are occupied attending inbound calls and maintaining print servers. The on-site print equipment is disturbing the IT team’s ability to concentrate on core enterprise initiatives.
In this case, the company must look for digital solutions that help remove the existing burden by shifting the print infrastructure offsite.
While deciding on which departments and which workflows to consider, starting with the trickiest areas is an impressive move. Perhaps, processes pose challenges because existing technologies are not aligned with the employees who utilize them.
Moreover, suppose the solution used in a particular workflow is well-aligned with its users, yet inefficiencies persist. In that case, businesses must determine if the technology is assigned to suitable tasks.
Once enterprises optimize how they assign tasks to workplace transformation solutions, they can further capitalize on how employees are leveraging these technologies.
Make Ample Room for Experimentation
For several employees, digital workplace transformation involves stepping out of their comfort zone. A culture where experimentation is advocated is helpful for those new to the digital game. Employees can then effortlessly experiment with new technologies without worrying about the repercussions of mistakes.
Secondly, regular trial-and-error helps unlock innovative and faster ways of performing everyday duties, improving employee productivity and, thus, operational efficiency. Indeed, the odds of employees sticking with the same company for over three years surge by 85% if the workplace transformation solutions support them in their work.
Democratizing Technology to Drive Intelligent Workforce
Understanding the purpose, functionalities, and tools of digital workplaces is critical to devising a robust workplace transformation strategy. Even more, mission-critical is offering mobility and flexibility to employees scattered across continents as they work more and more from home, in the office, or even on the go.
While organizations’ rigorous efforts to digitize their workplaces are commendable, most focus on only business metrics, and a handful of them emphasize employee productivity.
Workforce efficacy and engagement are essential to success. Placing employees at the center of your workplace transformation strategy helps change how they collaborate, complete their tasks, and eventually deliver tangible business outcomes.