We find ourselves at the convergence of two transformational trends in business: the rise of “digital” and the emergence of the employee user experience as an important factor in success. Companies are finally recognizing that employee satisfaction is just as important as customer satisfaction for organizational success.

In order to prepare for the future, both of those trends should factor in as your organization develops its digital workplace strategy. Here are tips for successfully navigating the digital journey into the workplace of the future.

Know Your Environment

Maintain corporate culture as a cornerstone in your planning. What is the vision or mission driving the organization? What are the values at the core of the culture? How does the company enshrine those values in its practices? Do all employees, from the top to the bottom, not only talk the talk but also walk the walk? Ensure the digital journey aligns with the vision and values of the organization.

Measure User Preference and Satisfaction

Before undertaking any journey, you need to understand not only where you are going but why you are going there.

If you were planning an expensive vacation as a surprise for your significant other, wouldn’t there be some value in knowing whether he was actually interested in going to the location you selected? Imagine your frustration if, after months of planning, you arrived at the destination just to hear, “I don’t like the beach. I wanted to go the mountains.”

The same thing holds true with the digital workplace. It is crucial to understand what is important to the users and how satisfied they are with the current environment.

Identify the supporting organizations to be included in the overall workplace transformation program. These may include IT, human resources, finance and accounting, and real estate. Establish a structured diagnostic program that considers the entire user experience of each support organization. Typically, this will include all aspects of support, the service or services provided, productivity and collaboration tools, and business applications. Ensure the diagnostic includes both quantitative and qualitative measures and is granular enough to inform the road map.

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Ensure Alignment With the Organization’s Strategy

Do you have a sense of any pending changes in your organization's strategic plan? Accounting for these changes in advance helps you gird your workplace design with the flexibility to adapt to future possibilities. Changes may come in the form of potential acquisitions or contemplated plans for geographic expansion.

Make Organizational Change a Pillar of the Digital Journey

Ensure that organizational change management is interwoven throughout any transformation program. Some changes will be more significant than others and will require more effort across the broader organization. Always be mindful that adoption is key to the overall success of the digital journey.

To lay a foundation for successful adoption and limit challenges along the journey, take the following steps to help ensure that employees understand the need for change and support the program:

Learning Opportunities

  • Develop awareness by engaging stakeholders and individuals impacted by the digital transformation to make them aware of the need for the change and their roles in the initiative. They need to be a part of the conversation, not an afterthought.
  • Establish understanding among the stakeholders and others to ensure that there is clarity on how the proposed change will affect their functional areas and their teams.
  • Gain acceptance for the transformation by engaging stakeholders and other employees. They will be more likely to support the digital road map goals if you invite them to get involved in upgrading methods and processes. People who are part of the solution are far more open to change than those who feel as though they are innocent bystanders.
  • Ensure commitment by offering training and otherwise helping people develop the skills they will need in the new digital workplace. Offering that type of support will help secure their willingness to take required actions.
  • Build ownership by establishing a team of people who will champion the revised business processes and hold themselves and others accountable for the success of the transformation program.

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Create a Road Map

For each of the supporting organizations considered, identify the short-, mid- and long-term goals for each of these categories: support, services, tools and applications.

It may be beneficial to categorize each as either “maintenance” or “transformative” and plan the speed of implementation accordingly. Identify key interactions and dependencies between the supporting organizations and the overall digital workplace road map to maintain alignment. Wherever possible, focus on smaller incremental changes. This enables the users to see the improvements within their functional areas so the change isn’t as overwhelming for them. This will further improve adoption along the journey.

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Implement and Measure

As you implement each of the components of the digital road map, ensure that the change has yielded the expected outcome.

Just as it was important to use an initial diagnostic to inform the overall road map, it is vital to periodically measure user preferences and their satisfaction with the changes being made. This will allow the organization to quickly course-correct if it turns out that the changes did not deliver the anticipated results. Furthermore, it will provide you with valuable information so that you can communicate the impact and value of the organizational change program to the broader user community.

Be mindful that this is a journey and that you will encounter many curves, valleys and hills along the way. To ensure that you have solid footing for the trip that lies ahead, first make sure you understand the culture of the organization, then gauge users’ preferences and satisfaction, align your efforts with the overall organizational strategy, establish a structured change management program and continually measure the impacts of the change.

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