In the current climate of customer experience, we all know that pleasant experiences with products and services is mandatory, but increasingly so is a transformational one. Companies that afford significant, transformational activities for workers are the companies that will frequently be able to maintain high-value employees who are consistently delighted about coming to work. The onus is currently on managers and ultimately the company to understand their employee's aspiration. How do they aim to develop? What if digital workplace solutions helped to bridge that gap for employees.
Beyond just improving workflows, digital workplace solutions could be a fundamental part of a new change towards supporting employee transformation and growth. There is currently a shift from an experience economy to a transformational one. As Jasmine Bina puts it, "Your user today is constantly growing into someone new, in every moment of every day." What might this mean in the context of a digital workplace? What if digital workplace solutions could bring business value and increase employee engagement because they have the power to be transformative? If we take into consideration the workforce is made up of individuals who are in the process of becoming newer versions of themselves, these individuals desire products and services that help them discover, change, expand and unfold.
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How Digital Transformation Tools Can Enable Change
One way of understanding how digital transformation products might enable change is to look at other ways this is currently being achieved in the workplace. Two examples are leadership training and executive coaching. These help one to understand themselves more deeply by providing another perspective on how one sees and understands the world and how others may perceive or interpret their actions.
How might we envision and design for digital workplace solutions to support this changing economy? For starters, we might shift design goals from creating artificial intelligence (AI)-assistants to building AI-coaches. The possibilities expand from automated workflow tasks to broadening our perspectives and understandings in the same way any personal development activity might do.
I've taken an intersection of the things that personal development teachers and coaches do to help people learn more about themselves. I've intersected these tenants with design ideals for digital transformation products. In some cases, I've provided examples. Here are some options and ideas towards this goal:
- Design a secure environment for users to learn and gain perspective: Any foundation for personal development work must be done in a safe, confidential and supportive environment. AI is a presumably safe space in which to learn and grow and obtain information and feedback in a private and comforting way. Given that one needs a safe space to learn and grow, the privacy of working with an intelligent assistant is a natural and neutral one to obtain feedback and perspective.
- Empower employees to do extraordinary work by leveraging strengths: Personal growth and transformation asks one to understand their current strengths and weaknesses. At work, weakness areas can include old limitations and hold one back. Digital transformation tools might help us to harness the natural strengths of our colleagues easily and effortlessly to allow us to focus on our strengths.
- Bring other perspectives and viewpoints: A coach or leadership training might promote expanded thinking by providing alternative ideas and perspectives. Sentiment analysis may be an excellent way to do this by allowing individuals to understand alternative viewpoints and avoid cognitive biases. In addition, in a similar way that companies are using sentiment analysis to contextualize subjective information for businesses, employees might use similar products to understand social sentiment towards their own brand?
- Provide a deeper level of learning, increase engagement and improve communication: Coaching allows workers to realize that their communication skills aren't necessarily as excellent as they think. Coaches might emphasize areas of communication that need improvement and train workers on how to communicate with individuals of other backgrounds. Examples currently of AI that could be helpful in our sense of learning about how we communicate are identifying when we might be speaking emotionally or how we are engaging with our clients. I predict that as AI gets better, its ability to help us with conversational and interactional nuances that help us to understand the way we communicate will improve drastically.
- Provide additional awareness about ourselves or things we care about that otherwise, we may be unaware of or not have the strong capacity to do: The other area that digital workplace assistants might help is with anything we might need coaching around. From helping us choose the best work clothes, to further visibility into the state of our health, the possibilities are limitless to help employees stay on their edge.