Creating the right culture and environment for employees to thrive in a digital age

As our consumer-centric world embraces the digital age, the expectation for employers in the UK and further afield to deploy new digital technologies is becoming greater. Organisations that want to keep ahead of the curve, must prioritise finding and retaining talent with the necessary skills, but also foster a collaborative environment and the right culture for their employees to want to work in. For employers to stay competitive, talented technical people who possess a set varied skills and qualifications have to be not only sourced, but more importantly retained.   

The best digital and IT literate talent does not typically reside at large organisations, therefore enterprises must become more creative in their pursuit of attracting this audience. A successful recruitment strategy requires more than an online job advert and the promise of internal incentives. To attract and retain talent, it’s vital to create a culture and work environment where employees thrive. By enabling employees to work in the right environment where they have full autonomy and trust during their own working day, means they have the freedom to grow and develop in a way that suits them. This makes a workplace flourish.   

The right environment empowers a workforce 

Improving the sustainability and longevity of any business goes far beyond technology alone. If a company makes a strategic shift, be it a business model evolution or the implementation of a digital agenda, it must come from the people inside the organisation. For a company to successfully digitally transform, an environment needs to be created where everyone can work together and achieve the same goal. By having transparency and collaboration throughout an organisation, every department is fully aware of what the digital agenda is and what their individual role is within that. If people feel accountable, they will make sure they fulfil that expectation.   

People drive process. Therefore, organisations much invest in talent whether that be hiring new people or training and encouraging current employees. Employee engagement is vital for every business. Only when an employee feels truly comfortable and invested in, will they then take the time to enhance their technical knowledge beyond their natural remit. By enhancing current employee skill sets and giving people the autonomy in their role, it will leave them feeling valued and empowered.   

Collaboration is vital 

With the continual influx of new technologies and innovation, organisations must ensure that employees are given the right environment to work in, so that they buy-in to the digitalisation process. Giving talent essentially a ‘playground’ to do their work, sets them up to create their own individual working environment which suits their own working style. In addition, it means that employees are constantly learning by working with different departments in an open and collaborative way.   

By setting up spaces that teams can reconfigure and adapt as they grow, as well as react to changes in the way they work and expand, a truly collaborative environment can be created. From small structural layouts such as keeping the number of doors to a minimum, to larger more open working spaces, companies should look to encourage not only people, but ideas and information to flow. Employees should be encouraged to communicate, as this is how they can continue to learn, and in turn evolve their skills by learning from others. The right environment should foster collaboration between people working on the same project, but at the same time allow engineers and designers to be in the zone, and focus on the work that they are doing. For organisations that encourage pair programming, space and equipment should allow for easy pairing, such as special workstations or screen sharing tools.   

Autonomy within the workplace: introducing Buildit 

Ultimately, the people within any organisation are the ones that determine whether change is adopted or fails. Therefore, providing employees with the freedom to grow and develop in their own careers will empower them to want to help drive these changes. By having that mutual appreciation, people feel supported and want to keep learning as the market moves forward. Employees need a human approach where they feel they have the autonomy to figure out their own problems, but also support to find innovative ways to solve them.  

An example of the right environment in practice can be found at Buildit, an agile transformation studio and team operating as part of Wipro Digital. Buildit’s number one mission is to not only retain and attract new talent, but to make sure that those with digital and IT skills, such as engineers, tech leads and designers, are given the right environment to work in to allow them to be the masters of their own craft. Buildit has an open structure, which means that employees work within wide boundaries. The environment and culture which is shaped by Buildit’s people, is driven by several key factors including; transparency, curiosity, inclusivity, pragmatism and responsibility. Buildit employees work in an environment where everyone is encouraged to continually develop through a cohesive unit of learning, and perhaps more importantly, given the autonomy to do so.   

To hire and retain people as we shift into a completely digital era, a different, more human approach is required. It doesn’t matter who you are, what industry you are in or what skills you possess, employers need to give people the freedom to collaborate and focus on their craft in an environment that best suits them. A fluid channel of communication, collaboration between departments and the right set of skills within the wider organisation allows both business and employee to gain a full sense of awareness, and understanding that they individually have absolute accountability for the success of their own, and organisational growth.   

Daria Naumova, Director of Talent and Alexander Kalinovsky, Director of Engineering, Buildit at Wipro Digital 

Image Credit: Bbernard / Shutterstock