As Morten Dal likes to observe, unless organizations fully address the human element in their digital workplace projects, simply changing technologies, infrastructure and processes alone won’t result in long-term and lasting change. “It is all about people,” he said. “And how to best enable managers and employees to work effectively when they communicate, collaborate and share best practice.”
Dal is currently internal communications manager for international Danish jewelry manufacturer and retailer PANDORA, which he joined in May 2015.
At PANDORA, he has led the creation, management and development of INFORA, the company’s first global digital workplace for its 25,000 employees. Dal previously managed corporate communications and global change management at companies including Danske Bank and Danisco (DuPont).
Drive User Adoption Across Cultures and Boundaries
“Creating digital platforms and driving user adoption across cultures and boundaries are key to many global organizations struggling to keep the interconnectedness of employees at their workplace,” he said.
However, sometimes companies fail to see the importance of, first, offering their employees the right set of collaboration and communication tools and then, training staff on how to use those tools effectively.
“If you also invest in marketing and training upfront, then your return on investment (ROI) on digital workspace introduction is likely to increase significantly,” Dal said.
Dal will be speaking at CMSWire and Digital Workplace Group’s Digital Workplace Experience taking place June 18 to 20 at the Radisson Blu Aqua hotel in Chicago. He will give a session titled “Pandora’s Global Award-Winning Digital Workspace Transformation” today.
We chatted to Dal about his thoughts on the importance of training, marketing and gamification in the delivery of a successful digital workplace and for his advice and best practices on how to approach and implement such a project.
Give Your Digital Workplace a Personality
CMSWire: How have you seen collaboration and communication technologies evolve? How do these developments impact what a digital workspace can do?
Dal: I think the platforms and technologies tend to be merging and integrating. For instance, if you take Office 365 as an example and how well it integrates with SharePoint, OneDrive, Skype, Yammer and Teams, then things are made really smooth and easy for office workers — if they get properly introduced to how to make effective use of the software.
So, the technologies are there — it has never been easier to collaborate with people just one click away. But I guess many people get stuck because they find it overwhelming with so many different platforms and systems to use and how and when to use which one.
In terms of what a digital workspace can do, I would say that inside and outside are becoming increasingly more networked across external partners, supply chains, customers and markets and a digital workspace can enable people to collaborate internally as well externally.
CMSWire: What was the initial impetus to create INFORA, Pandora’s first global digital workspace? What are the underlying technologies INFORA is built on?
Dal: Before INFORA was created, PANDORA was a very siloed global organization. There was no common global intranet but a wealth of shadow platforms which were in no way globally connected.
There was an urgent need for a global digital workspace to support the wild growth of the company with thousands of new employees joining the company every year all over the world. Even top management did not have a single communication platform to reach all employees — they would be using email!
So, PANDORA was immature at that point in terms of internal communications channels and collaboration tools.
PANDORA chose to adopt Office 365 to combine with SharePoint, Yammer, OneDrive and Skype because they are so integrated and easy to use.
To date, we have trained 90 people as editors of local, regional and global news and to produce content in team and project sites. So, people are reporting exciting stories from all over the world to share via INFORA.
CMSWire: What lessons learned would you share with other organizations about the key role staff training plays in the success of a digital workspace?
Dal: The importance of properly training people in how to use the digital workspace platforms is essential. We offered extensive training worldwide through a mix of onsite training, classroom training, VIP training and Skype training tailored to regional needs.
We could see ROI as the number of tickets coming to our global helpdesk are very few. So, our learning is that investment upfront in marketing and training pays off well, as you will be able to save time and money for support after rollout.
Or to put it another way — we chose to move ‘hypercare’ out in the field to train people where they were located.
CMSWire: What kind of marketing techniques did Pandora use to attract employee interest in INFORA and why were they effective?
Dal: As part of the internal marketing and engagement drive to onboard our colleagues worldwide to INFORA, we created a special universe with offline and online printed cartoon characters so all employees would immediately recognize INFORA-related info. They also helped to give INFORA a personality.
The three cartoon characters and our guides to welcome people to INFORA were Communicating Charlie, Collaborating Caroline and Sharing Shannon.
Life-size cutouts of these characters and posters were set up in every global office to reinforce the importance of these three key concepts — communication, collaboration and sharing — which underpin the goal of creating a unified digital workplace.
CMSWire: How does Pandora use gamification in its digital workplace? How do gamification and other techniques help to boost employee engagement?
Dal: During rollout, we used gamification in the form of mobile quizzes to help people recap the key learnings about INFORA and we offered gifts to the quiz winners. All employees attending town hall meetings and training also each received a gift bag with INFORA info and merchandise.
We also created INFORA playlists and played that music during town hall meetings and classroom training which absolutely helped create an ambient atmosphere and also helped signal to people that this was something special and different.
Playing the music during go-live along with the gamification and cake-cutting ceremonies were all effective tools we used to create hype and traction around INFORA. It was very powerful across the organization. Several of these endeavors are captured on film so colleagues can share the excitement around the world.
CMSWire: What overall advice and best practices do you have for how to define and then implement a successful digital workspace?
Dal: Well, my experience could be boiled down to the following bullet points:
- Make sure you listen to needs of the business. Conduct many interviews across your organization to really understand employees’ needs in their daily work.
- Make your case — your business case! Be sure to present your case in management lingo and to present an ROI to gain the funds needed.
- Involve key stakeholders early. Make them your partners and show what’s in it for them.
- Apply governance and organization. Provide structure and rules to govern your workplace.
- Encourage local ownership. The more you can share ownership with local employees and management, the better chance they will go all-in to adopt a workspace.
- Training, training, training. If you include the planning of training from the outset, your chances to succeed with global adoption is far higher.
- Use marketing and gamification. If you are competing with other large projects in your organization, then some marketing and gamification can help people distinguish this from other implementation drives. And, why not have a bit of fun during implementation?
- Take metrics regularly. Measure employees’ digital habits before, during and after implementation to determine the impact of your digital workspace.
Learn more about the Digital Workplace Experience here.