Whether we’re considering buildings or technology, the focus of your role is creating better environments for both workers and service users.
Allowing your people to provide their key services efficiently and effectively, produces better results for everyone.
With legacy buildings and systems, alongside tight budgets, you’re often unable to deliver the kind of facilities or services you’d like. When a pandemic then forces changes you hadn’t anticipated, how will you build up from here?
In this article, we’ll focus on how you support your essential workers. With roles that often take them across the extent of an organisation’s real estate, these are individuals who ensure everything works as it should and your visitors are happy - these are porters, greeters, caterers and cleaners, or refuse collectors.
Due to the disparate nature of these roles, meaning individuals are often on the move, they have frequently been neglected when it comes to the provision of technology and access to communication services. This is despite the need to foster their engagement and keep them motivated.
As I wrote in my previous article Improve Technology for Your Frontline and See the Benefits, your Essential Workers reflect the heart and the face of your organisation. The results of unhappy workers on your frontline are clear, so how can we support them better?
New cloud services and remote working opportunities may have delivered a boost in your technology infrastructure, but has it been implemented as you would have designed it? And, how can you make most of it going forward?
4 Questions to Focus Your Digital Strategy
Enabling your essential workers is key, by considering these four questions you’ll have an understanding of why that’s the case; then use these to direct your digital strategy.
1) Consider the proportion of your workforce who don’t have easy access to technology.
These are individuals who, while performing their role, don’t have an email address or simple access to your organisation’s communication channels. As I’ve already mentioned, these essential workers often have no fixed location but are playing a fundamental role in supporting your service delivery outcomes.
2) How important are these workers?
Yes, these are the heart and face of your organisation; they keep things running and provide support to those coming to you for services. These workers play a crucial role in contributing to improving outcomes for patients or public service users throughout your organisation.
3) How do you engage with these workers currently? How do you provide ongoing communication or training?
Do you have processes in place to make sure people are kept informed? How effective are these processes and can you be confident in feedback and two-way communication?
Keeping your workers informed and engaged is key to getting the best out of them; when they feel unconnected this is difficult to do.
4) How important is inclusion and retention in your digital strategy?
For any organisation, the benefits of retaining good people is undeniable, and in key essential roles this is even more important. While employee engagement and retention may not be something normally covered by the remit of Facilities Management or IT - providing facilities to support this should be ingrained.
Engaging and Supporting Essential Workers is Key
Finding innovative ways to do it - which build on existing infrastructure - may not be as complex or expensive as you think.
For one-way communication - using digital screens throughout your buildings to deliver key messages can keep your people (as well as your service users) informed simply and effectively.
While, for two-way comms, provision of shareable devices can mean teams have access, through their own profiles, to communication channels that are easily accessible.
These relatively simple solutions can promote real engagement and understanding throughout your teams. Keeping the needs and hopes of your essential workers front of mind, you’ll provide a more proactive and positive environment (which is also more effective and efficient) throughout your organisation.
About the Author
I'm Terry Chana. I am an innovation strategist that connects customer, employee and brand experiences. My passion lies in building ecosystems to solve business problems by combining creativity and technology.