Man working hard at his desk with a bar chart shooting out of his PC trending upward
PHOTO: Shutterstock

Across the globe, employee disengagement continues to be on the rise. Gallup has found that only 15% of employees are actively engaged in their work. Why is this a problem? Gallup has also previously estimated that actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. from $450 billion to $550 billion per year.

While there are many reasons for employee disengagement, feeling they lack the tools they need to do their jobs often comes up as a primary issue — and that’s the organizations’ fault. Too often, employees are asked to manage their workflows across a dozen separate, standalone tools and applications, including a slew of clunky legacy intranet sites. While the value of an intranet is clear, there is a better way. Innovative companies are now transforming their static intranet sites into interactive digital workplaces.

Related Story: How to Digitally Transform Into an Intelligent Workplace

Key Elements of an Engaging Digital Workplace

Your employees use technology in their personal lives to do everything from ordering groceries to finding someone to walk their dog. They’ve come to expect intuitive navigation and an ease of customization in the apps they use every day. These expectations hold true when it comes to workplace technology as well. That means for your digital workplace to gain adoption and truly become a digital iteration of your physical workspace, it needs to have the following components.

  • Intuitive, easy-to-use search, on par with Google.
  • An attractive user interface like those of today’s smartphones.
  • Integration between all the tools workers need to get the job done.
  • Always updated information at their fingertips.

Unfortunately, although the majority of workers surveyed by MIT Sloan feel technology is a key component in their workplace productivity, less than half of employees feel that IT decision makers have taken their opinions — and their need for intuitive UI into consideration.

Common Roadblocks to Digital Workplace Adoption

The leading enterprise digital workplace solutions — Office 365, SharePoint or Azure —provide a good starting point for your digital workplace solution. But unless you have a developer team dedicated to the implementation and deployment of your digital workplace, you will not be able to tailor and optimize the platform to your workforce and its preferences.

The platform complexity continues to be a challenge post-deployment as well. While these platforms and their UI may feel intuitive to developers or more technical staff members, the employees most often tasked with keeping the platform’s content up-to-date often struggle to perform basic platform administration tasks. This, in turn, can discourage teams from using the platform to move their recurring workflow tasks onto the platform, thus limiting the platform’s adoption and the enterprise’s ROI on their digital transformation initiative. It can also be resource-intensive for your IT department.

How Drag and Drop Tools Empower the Digital Workplace

Drag and drop tools that interact with these underlying digital workplace platforms can solve many of these adoption challenges. The benefits of this approach include:

  • No coding required. Not requiring knowledge of HTML coding or any prior application development experience, drag and drop tools can empower collaboration and participation across the enterprise. Intranet projects can become more of a creative exercise than an IT project, with business users discussing functionality and color schemes instead of widgets and wireframes. For example, with drag and drop tools the CMO’s chief of staff can easily add new messaging decks or campaign overviews and project managers can create and manage project hubs.
  • Increased employee adoption. By making it as easy to customize an employee profile or team dashboard as it is to create a photo card online, drag and drop tools can speed up platform adoption while increasing employee engagement. With the tools and the canvas to build or contribute to the development of their own digital workplace, staff are inherently more engaged based on the Ikea Effect (where consumers place a disproportionately high value on products they partially created).
  • Decreased expense. A custom intranet requires dedicated technology resources that have other ROI-generating priorities. Would you rather have your development team and project management resources working on your customer-facing tools and platforms, or have them walking frustrated project administrators through how to update their latest project homepage? The ongoing management of corporate intranets has been a longtime burden of IT departments, with forms and job numbers often required to update content or add images. Digital workplace technology is addressing this by empowering business users to make changes and manage their own pages with ease.
  • Minimized business risk. Intranet-in-a-box solutions typically won’t flex with your changing needs. Too often, businesses spend thousands on an intranet solution that they simply outgrow. Without the flexibility to add and subtract features in line your with your business requirements, software and solutions quickly become redundant. Thankfully, products like LiveTiles are both evergreen and flexible. With regular updates ensuring compatibility with the latest business applications, and a library of “drag and drop” tools, your digital workplace will always feature the tools, applications and resources staff use every day.

Your workforce is evolving and wants more control over how and where they do their work. Isn’t it time your organization gave them the digital workplace they need to do their best work?