Creating a Digital Workplace: How to Enhance Employees’ Workplace Experience
Work environments are more important than ever, with technology becoming a more significant part of the workplace, regardless of the industry.
10:58 24 June 2020
Businesses often boast about how their people are what makes their company, proclaiming to new employees going through initial training that it’s their “core values” are what makes them superior to other places new hires could work.
Yet so often these same companies have trouble finding and keeping the talent they need to flourish. In order to retain talent, companies need to create work environments that engage their employees.
When employees thrive, the business will thrive. That’s what creating a digital workplace is about.
The Gallup Organization found in 2018 that only 34% of workers were actively engaged at work – a high since they started measuring this aspect of employment in 2000 – while the same study found 13% were actively disengaged. The rest – 53% – fell into the “not engaged” category, where they may have been generally satisfied but not connected to their work. These are the people who do what’s required but would leave if offered a better opportunity.
Technology has also significantly changed our work environments, with engagement and occupational performance tied to an employee’s already existing knowledge and skills, things for which most employers cannot train. Business leaders who recognize the importance of technology and its involvement in employee engagement can reinvent their companies’ places of work to make them more productive.
What is the Digital Workplace?
But what exactly is this digital workplace? At its heart, a company that embraces it understands:
- Management vs. design: Essentially, it’s balancing organization against creativity; digital workplaces coordinate how your business operates and uses technology juxtaposed against employees’ need for a sense of purpose in their positions.
- People come first: Companies that recognize employees’ impact on their operations know that keeping workers engaged is important.
- Technology: While people are important, the way employees participate in a digital workplace depends on changes driven by technology.
Think about establishing a digital workplace as similar to town planning. There’s already a structure, which you can change, but rarely will it involve starting over completely from scratch. You’ve got to work with what you’ve got, and evolve as the environment changes.
Digital workplaces involve their employees to provide organizations with the capabilities to:
- Communicate and engage
- Find and share knowledge and information
- Apply available technologies creatively
- Establish agility at work, whatever the time or space
The model for the digital workplace doesn’t prescribe. It asks and innovates, morphing to deal with challenges, with an engaged workforce leading the way as management guides this process. The specific technology used is less important than the way your employees use it to advance the company’s goals.
How Happy Workers Affect the Bottom Line
While employees previously adapted to the company’s standardized technology, the ideas behind the digital workplace flip this on its head. Instead, this workplace model focuses on how culture and other non-work conditions create an environment that supports employees, and in turn, helps businesses attract and retain the best talent.
Happiness at work means loving what you do, not just where you work. And happy employees don’t merely increase productivity, they also help your company attract other top talents. When employees aren’t happy, in the best case they put in minimal effort to keep their jobs, while active disengagement can sabotage the whole company.
Happy workers are productive, which leads to increased engagement. They pay better attention to customers’ needs as well as internal and external compliance, which additionally increases profitability.
Engaging Your Workforce
Great employees don't necessarily stay in one place long. It’s no secret that over 80% of workers at most businesses leave within six months. Here are some top reasons why:
- Disliked management
- Insufficient training
- Lack of enjoyment
- Work wasn’t what they expected
Companies scramble to hire and keep top talent. Ensuring they’re happy with their jobs will help keep them, cutting down on hiring and training costs. When you don’t engage with your workforce, they’re more likely to leave. Gallup found that organizations with actively engaged employees outperform those who don’t by more than triple.
Employees want to feel enthusiastic about what they do for work. They want to feel empowered and involved. They want to matter. Companies can improve employees’ experience by involving them in conversations on how to engage with and keep the best talent while enhancing collaboration, productivity, and new styles of working through the use of technology.
Many businesses aren’t aware of why they’ve got problems with retention. They’ve got the data, but don’t put it to use. Improving employee experience involves looking at the information from throughout your organization to identify shifting trends.
When a top salesperson leaves, you want to know why. And as a company, you want to do your best to prevent that person from leaving in the first place. Engaging with employees is valuable, and applying insight gleaned from it will lower employee flight, and can impact outcomes. Looking at the correlation between pay, facilities, job satisfaction, and other areas can all affect how a person feels about their place of employment.
Much of what matters about employees’ experiences at work involves their compensation, management, and workplace culture. Looking at it from HR’s perspective, effective digital workplaces are not so much about the physical location. It’s not so much about where employees work, but how their workplace allows them to contribute. It’s about making employees feel that they’re valued members of the team.
Successful businesses of the future will be those who help integrate people, technology, and workplaces, empowering employees to become creative and productive members of the team. Companies gain a competitive advantage by developing a business culture that puts people first, which is what the digital workplace is all about.