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Creating a thriving culture with technology

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(Image credit: Shutterstock / aorpixza)

There are numerous motivations for organizations to invest in technology during troubled times, but I think one of the most significant, and one that is often overlooked, is the need for cultural change within organizations if they are to achieve resilience. Culture, more so than talent, technology, or data, is seen by executives as the single biggest challenge to digital transformation. Indeed, research by McKinsey shows that 70 percent of transformations fail, and 70 percent of those failures are due to culture-related issues. 

Technology can drive cultural change. One such example is the recently launched Microsoft Viva Insights. Crucially, this allows businesses to measure the status quo, and the impact of changes as improvement plans are implemented. These insights can nudge managers and employees alike to change known limiting behaviors. By helping to identify where there are problems and providing the data-led insight needed to tackle them, Viva Insights could be revolutionary for businesses.

Minimizing stress levels

In these times of hybrid working, there are numerous collaboration challenges that are being faced by businesses. It could be the excessive number of meetings we are all being asked to attend or the fact that teams are forced to work from disconnected data siloes. Both lead to staff feeling stressed and disengaged. It is important that managers are aware of the biggest potential burnout risks and can identify departments that are working excessive hours and/or at risk of burnout. That way, they can make informed decisions about where they invest in people, money, or both to deliver services and protect the wellbeing of workers. The right use of technology can enable organizations to use data to inform strategic workforce decision-making. This is a gamechanger for organizations already having to battle with increasing demand and diminishing resources. 

In industries such as policing, staff attrition can be as much as 104 percent: this means forces are losing people faster than they can hire them. A big part of that is down to wellbeing. As is the case with most public sector organizations, police forces are having to navigate the perfect storm of increasing (and changing) service demand and rising complexity. This is leading to unmanageable workloads for people tasked with delivering these under pressure services. Increased sick pay is an inevitable consequence, as is staff churn. Hiring new people can be costly, plus there is the time it takes to get them up to speed and the wider impact on team morale. 

Prevention is better than cure  

Technology today can identify capacity challenges, the potential for team and departmental burnout, improve business agility, enable multi-channel employee engagement, and enhance decision-making. Technology like Viva Insights provides a scientific approach to adjusting the behaviors that are usually directly associated with poor culture. You can start slowly by first looking at the most serious problems and then slowly expand this and roll out your improvement plans. Once you have identified that an improvement plan is succeeding within a specific group or a small department, you can then extend it and drill down into further, potentially deeper issues within the organization.

There is currently an acute need to manage staff wellbeing. Staff across all sectors have unquestionably been negatively impacted due to Covid-19. Whilst there were plenty of issues before the pandemic, as we have worked through the crisis, these have been intensified. There is a definite need to identify and measure where the biggest problems are and address them urgently. 

If decisions and plans are based on data, there is a better chance that you are being objective and responding to the issues that have been identified as causing problems for the general productivity and wellbeing of your people. It takes emotion out of the equation.

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts 

It is interesting that culture is viewed as the single biggest challenge to digital transformation, even over and above technology and data. The great strength of technology such as Microsoft Viva is that, as an employee experience platform, it links all these parts of a successful business together. For example, it can bring the collaboration and organizational data together, analyzing it against best practice, and providing improvement plans with nudges towards good behavior, based on years of scientific studies and research. It is an example of technology and data working intrinsically together for the good of the culture within organizations. 

One of the key goals of technology is to simplify processes for managers, to allow them to gain the right insights into the problems that they are facing. At the same time, it is also about improving the working day for individual employees, by providing everything they need in one place. Whether this is in Teams or elsewhere, it is imperative to have one go-to single version of the truth. Then make sure that that knowledge can be easily shared with others, allowing you to bridge organizational silos effectively. There is also the need for skills development. Luckily, technologies are now on hand to help organizations deliver continuous learning, monitor that learning and provide learning pathways that are appropriate for individuals. 

Effective technology gives managers something to leverage and rely on. It can even prompt individuals to change some of their behaviors, while at the same time, allowing managers to identify types of behaviors that are problematic, so that they can be changed. This is followed up by recommendations to managers to apply improvement plans to these groups of individuals, which trickle back into personal insights. This can be in the form of reminders to book some focus time rather than being stuck in unproductive meetings all day. 

Technology today is powerful. It can not only enable organizations to move forward and improve both wellbeing and productivity but facilitate a more effective sharing of knowledge. Technology can link with data, culture and talent to drive organizations forward.

Ruben Hugo, Content Services Lead, Agilisys

Ruben Hugo, Content Services Lead, Agilisys.