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How to Build a Compelling Digital Workplace

Charting the correct path for your digital workplace strategy is no easy task. Get it right, and you’ll have a more engaged and productive workforce. Get it wrong, and you’ll end up with frustrated employees and few—if any—efficiency gains.

To build a purposeful digital workplace that your employees will love to use, you need to tailor it to the specific business challenges they confront every day. One size does not fit all. Employees will only align around a digital workplace if you can show them that it will substantially improve their daily work life.

These five steps will guide you through this critical process.

Find out what your employees want

The pressure on companies to have productive, positive digital cultures is at an all-time high. In a recent study by Deloitte, 87 per cent of organizations named culture and engagement as one of their top challenges.

Getting employees on board for digital transformation is vital. Another survey of 1,000 leaders across 10 industries and 20 countries found 72 per cent cited overcoming internal resistance as the top barrier to achieving this transformation.

To create an inspiring digital workplace that your employees will embrace, you must understand their needs. Start by asking these 5 key questions, and be sure to consider the perspective of all levels of your organization:

  • What do employees feel is missing, or dysfunctional, in your digital workplace?
  • What are employees’ biggest frustrations in their daily work experience?
  • What are the central obstacles to peak productivity?
  • What are the stumbling blocks to open and efficient communication?
  • What does your corporate culture need to increase employee satisfaction?

With these answers in hand, you can start your digital transformation by deploying purpose-built solutions that address your biggest challenges. Focus on functionality, and you’ll choose practical digital workplace solutions—customized to your organization’s unique needs—that will unify, engage, and educate your employees.

Select the right digital workplace platform

Like all organizations today, you know that you need to get on the path of digital transformation. If you feel unprepared, you’re in good company. Only 5 per cent of large companies report having technologies in place to be considered a digital business, according to a new study. The market has responded to this demand, with more and more vendors offering solutions to address these challenges.

Sadly, few vendors offer a robust platform and full suite of solutions to properly build out a digital workplace that will truly help modernize these organizations. Additionally, companies need to identify a platform that unites both IT sanctioned solutions as well as those solutions emerging from the BYOA movement. You need to make an informed choice.

The best digital workplaces sell themselves to employees. People need little convincing if a platform makes it easy to find the information they need when they need it, and if it connects them to the right people at the right time.

Shopify has their company values emblazoned on the walls of their office.

Shopify has their company values emblazoned on the walls of their office.

Here are a few examples of how a great digital workplace can solve common business challenges.

Onboarding center

You can accelerate time to productivity and promote early buy-in among new hires with a digital onboarding center. From a welcome space to on-the-job training and FAQs, it gets people up to speed in a fraction of the time of traditional onboarding processes—a major cost savings, especially in industries where turnover is high.

Governance center

Having a dedicated space in your digital workplace where everyone can find business-critical information helps to mitigate risk and ensure employee accountability. It’s a great way to manage issues that affect the bottom line—imagine a shoplifting policy index in retail, for example.

Newsroom

A one-stop destination for critical company and industry news makes it easy to keep employees informed and aligned. Bringing together weekly updates, blog channels, market news, and social feeds also promotes a culture of transparency.

Brand portal

When it comes to your brand, consistency is everything. By creating a digital hub for final creative material, identity guidelines, and brand experts, you can empower your employees to get on brand – and stay there.

Social zone

A digital focal point for company events, clubs, and activities can help employees feel a personal and professional sense of belonging. Community classifieds, polls, photo walls, and microblogs help unite employees across geographic and departmental divides.

Ubisoft Toronto proudly displays current and past employees in the office foyer.

Ubisoft Toronto proudly displays current and past employees in the office foyer.

 

Trust the pros

You’re the expert on your organization’s business challenges, but building a cohesive digital workplace requires a whole other skill set. Find a digital workplace expert that’s worked with thousands of organizations to configure solutions that deliver efficiency and employee satisfaction. With a partner and a platform you can trust, you’ll build the best possible digital workplace for your organization.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

Trying to design and build solutions for your digital workplace from scratch is complex, expensive, and time-consuming. Look for a platform that offers ready-built solutions combining key product features into customizable channels, and you’ll be up and running in no time.

Get your feet wet before you jump in

Don’t try to deploy too many solutions at once. It will slow down the building and employee-alignment process, and your digital transformation project will soon lose meaning and interest. Start with three to five key solutions that address your most urgent business needs, and build up from there.

A 2017 survey of more than 10,000 business and HR leaders from 140 countries found 90 per cent of organizations anticipate their business will be disrupted by technology, while only 11 per cent feel like they’re ready to adapt to the digital age. A compelling digital workplace destination can help you not only adapt, but thrive.

If you take this focused, measured approach to choosing the right platform for your digital workplace, you’ll soon see a company-wide surge in engagement, collaboration, productivity, and innovation. With support from employees and leaders alike, you’ll gain the momentum you need to keep moving forward on your digital transformation journey.

Dan Latendre is the CEO of Igloo Software.