walking through the snow in Chinatown
No one-size-fits-all method for digital adoption is out there — and that's for the best PHOTO: Matt Popovich

Like a snowflake, every organization’s digital workplace is a complex, subtle and individual phenomenon. It’s how you communicate and work across digital platforms and devices.

And, whether you want it or not, your organization's culture plays a very big part in shaping what that organization looks like and how it works.

Culture, the Starting Point for Digital Workplace Strategy 

Before developing a digital workplace strategy, you'll want to understand the unique culture of your organization. By conducting a cultural appraisal you'll gain much-needed insights into the unique cultural facilitators or blockers that exist within any organization.

  • Cultural facilitators are those attributes that make implementing digital strategies easier. Think: an organization whose culture values teamwork is already primed to share information and work more openly   
  • Cultural blockers are attributes that can make it harder or more challenging to implement digital strategies. For example, organizations with very high levels of control — such as financial or healthcare organizations — have for very good reasons built up cultural norms to support regulation and risk management. Too high levels of control can make implementing some elements of digital workplace strategy more difficult

Understand that facilitators and blockers are neither inherently good nor bad — you have to love your unique culture. Instead, understand these unique attributes in order to harness them as part of implementing the right digital adoption strategies. 

Create a Playbook for Change

No one-size-fits-all method for digital adoption is out there. And that's for the best. 

So to take the next step in digital workplace adoption, create a playbook, rather like an instruction manual, which does several things:

  1. It takes the recommendations from your cultural Appraisal and turns them into actions to either counter or support known weaknesses or strengths within the organization’s culture.   
  2. A playbook can help you visualize the change and communication efforts needed, creating clarity for the work ahead. It can present a shared vision of the complex change processes required, which can show stakeholders from IT, HR, corporate communications, operations and more how their efforts are connected.  
  3. Finally, the playbook recognizes that in all work there are limited resources. Playbooks steer you toward the actions that are most likely to drive success based on your situation and best practices.

Make Culture Count

A digital workplace is a reflection of more than just an organization’s technical choices, it’s deeply reflective of the culture of that organization. In order to drive change, it is necessary to leverage culture, take strategic choices and plan. 

Every organization is different in its own unique and wonderful way. The best digital workplaces maximize what is special about their organizations. 

What do you think? How do the values and practices that make up your organization’s culture help or hinder your digital workplace initiatives?