one person supporting another on a rocky bank
Driving digital change requires fostering a culture of collaboration, and holds all leaders accountable for the digital vision. PHOTO: Daniel Santalla

Organizations that offer a great employee experience and support high employee engagement reap the rewards of increased productivity and innovation.

Those benefits flow from a well-implemented digital workplace ecosystem, which provides digital tools, services and applications that enable new, more effective ways of working.

The digital workplace is directly tied to competitive advantage — and is no longer an "if" but a "when" for savvy organizations.

Planning Your Digital Workplace

To create an effective and productive digital workplace, start by developing a clear strategy and a plan to seamless integrate your new technologies.

Your digital transformation should align with your organization’s culture and values, serving as an inspiration to meet desired employee outcomes.

Most people now understand the value of enterprise collaboration. However, it is also important to show how digital transformation advances collaboration.

The “what’s in it for me” adage applies here: Employees must understand how digital workplace efforts will affect business processes and bring about improved business outcomes — not to mention make their jobs faster, easier or more engaging.

Driving digital change requires fostering a culture of experimentation and collaboration, and holds all leaders accountable for the digital vision.

Above all, leaders must show the attributes they wish to encourage among their employees: curiosity, creativity, collaborative thinking and digital advocacy.

Leaders must relinquish some control and embrace the power of social media, mobile applications, cognitive computing, big data and analytics. Only then will a workplace truly transform.

Changing the Workplace Culture

But technology is only part of the digital workplace. The other is a fundamental shift in culture, which is at least as important as the digital applications that help transformation.

A good strategy positively affects a digital transformation, and a cultural shift allows this to happen.

If the company culture opposes the strategic shift, the results can be disastrous. The digital cultural shift is cyclical because the organization’s collective workforce is connected via effective digital solutions and a collaborative process of learning and experimenting.

This shift begins at the top with executives who can set the vision that will enable change, create a highly adaptive organization, and motivate and develop their workforces.

Put People First

Company culture should embody these four requirements to have a successful digital transformation. All stress putting your people first.

1. Inspire with a purpose

Employees need a common sense of purpose. Everyone should understand the company’s direction and plan to get there. Employees are motived by a clear vision that spells out expected changes and creates a deeper understanding of the desired outcome.

2. Implement an inclusive roadmap

Engage staff by laying out goals for your digital transformation. Allow voices from bottom to top to give input as a bottom-up approach unleashes the power of many.

Develop a roadmap for your vision with milestones to hold leaders and their teams accountable for goals and encourage positive results. The greatest champions within an organization are its staff.

Employees are the foot soldiers who adapt to, endorse and support the shifting culture on a day-to-day basis. Showing appreciation for and understanding of what employees do to help the company can increase their satisfaction.

3. Promote a culture of continuous learning and growth

Leadership’s role is to listen, learn and bring out the best in people. Promoting learning and growth shows you are willing to make an investment in your staff. Staff will be energized and empowered if they are valued.

4. Enable people for transformation

Provide the resources needed to succeed both today and into the future. Digital transformation must contain resources that enable employees to connect, collaborate, transfer knowledge, store information and acknowledge success. Invest in skill development and reinforce the collaborative behaviors required to deliver innovative products, services and experiences.

A staff’s ability to share resources and work together in separated environments creates informed and satisfied workers.

Expanding into the next generation of digital workplace requires a strategy that prepares companies for the future. A culture shift must go with a digital transformation to carry out that strategy.

Adhering to the four outlined requirements will better ensure success with initiatives and a better workplace ecosystem.