Employee engagement is the cornerstone of business success, which makes the need to improve work experience and retain top talent critical. Many companies get wrapped up in the minutiae of maintaining internal communication channels – i.e. managing content for the corporate intranet, company newsletters, digital signage, and others — instead of focusing on aligning employees around strategic business goals.
To some extent, it’s the result of technology development, which gave enterprises a variety of tools to use for employee collaboration. But is this a good thing? Are there too many digital workplace apps? Without a ‘single-pane’ enterprise-wide work experience, it’s harder to collaborate with colleagues effectively, access the right versions of documents without having to check multiple sources, and to get work done.
Ultimately, the workforce wants to have a seamlessly connected experience - whether it is on a desktop or through connected devices. Many organisations try to solve this problem incorrectly by introducing a variety of disparate, unconnected apps, devices, and policies that actually hurt productivity rather than empower employees. Less is more when it comes to employee engagement, which is why businesses should consider implementing strategies that pull disparate systems into one destination, where they can be centrally accessed and managed, to streamline their digital workplace.
Digital centralisation improves workflows and engagement
People have become increasingly connected to the world of digital information while “on the go” -via smartphones and other devices. Usage of enterprise apps and productivity tools for the workplace has increased by 125 per cent (Source: Flurry Analytics) with a 2016 forecast predicting that the enterprise app market will reach $287.7 billion in the next eight years (Source: Global Market Insights). However, the downside of this growth is workers feeling overwhelmed with having to manage too many apps. The reality is that people just want to get their work done.
A company's effort to centralise the employee technology experience greatly simplifies a worker's life. A fully digital workplace experience should enable people to accomplish their work from any device, anywhere, and at any time. Employees should be able to open the device of their choice and log in to a digital system, where they can access internal announcements, the company calendar, daily tasks, messages from colleagues, email and other apps from a single source. The digital workplace needs to create a work environment that stays with employees throughout the day, no matter where they are. From 9 am to 5 pm and after 5 pm into the evening.
Companies with distributed or seasonal workforces benefit greatly from centralised digital employee experiences, in particular, to align workers around important initiatives. It can be difficult to communicate effectively with part-time employees and people whose jobs don’t require them to work from an office so an easily accessible hub for critical communication is an easy solution. Centralising the digital workspace makes it easy for workers to work on their own terms and accomplish their tasks.
Businesses that aren’t able to provide a frictionless work environment or easily keep their employees up to date on important initiatives run the risk of high employee turnover. For better or worse, people are blending their work and personal lives more so than at any other point in history. Flexible hours are among the top benefits offered by employers and that can only happen if organisations are able to provide their workers with secure access to critical resources and applications at any time.
How to centralise your digital workplace
While the digital workplace centralisation trend is on the rise, many organisations don’t know where to start. The simple answer is they should start at the beginning and answer this simple question: How do you define an employee journey from onboarding to offboarding?
Businesses should approach their employee engagement strategy as if they were planning their customer journey and think through every scenario. What happens when a person is hired? How does HR deliver relevant information about benefits, opportunities and to-do actions to this ‘non-employee’ before the actual start date? Similarly, what happens after an employee gives his or her notice? When is the appropriate time to cut off their access to sensitive corporate information?
One of the most important things enterprises should do when centralising their digital workplace is to perform an audit of all of the technology within their infrastructure, cloud, and on-premise. This is important because it allows IT teams to identify outdated technologies that need to be updated and also discover older technologies that may still have some utility for their workforce.
Once the list of existing technologies and tools is compiled, it’s a good practice to conduct an employee technology usage survey and rank the current tools. This data will provide insights into which tools employees find valuable and which can be eliminated. This survey also gives workers a chance to share their preferences in productivity tools that the IT team can use to make future investments. This helps create buy-in from workers, a significant challenge when implementing new technologies.
Changing your company’s culture
When an organisation decides to centralise the digital workspace, it automatically initiates a change to a company’s culture. Digital centralisation, like any company-wide initiative, should be implemented from the top down and should not be looked on as optional. Instead, each tool must be positioned as integral to the individual’s and company’s success.
The creation of a centralised digital workplace should be supported by a culture of collaboration, where every single department or division is empowered to cooperate and share valuable information. Some departments are historically not used to ‘sharing’ and have to understand that their input is valuable and will benefit the greater company.
Organisations that embrace digital centralisation benefit from having engaged workers that are focused on doing their jobs and have the tools to support them. The main lesson is this: Don’t make it hard for employees to do their job. Developing a seamless and consistent transition from personal to work life will support maintaining a satisfied and enthusiastic workforce, resulting in lower employee turnover and retaining the best talent.
David Maffei, president and CRO, Akumina
Image source: Shutterstock/gpointstudio