In this series we’re taking some time to explore How Data Will Strengthen Your Digital Workspace Strategy. My last post asked you to consider your current situation and how the data available in your organisation can help you make initial improvements; this post will move onto your next steps - building on these foundations to make the most of the opportunities in your digital workspace strategy.
This article will help you use the insights you have available - now you’ve done some groundwork - and provide guidance on using them to determine good practice both in your systems and processes. We’ll consider what you can learn from these insights both in how you’re using your technology and how you’re supporting your people.
We’ll be considering:
Is your digital workspace strategy on track?
How are your teams working? Are the solutions provided effective and efficient?
Are your people engaged and supported? By both HR teams and managers?
The Discovery Phase
To ensure you are making the most of your digital assets, the first steps will be to pull together data from existing systems and from consultation with your teams.
There is huge value in the information provided by members of your own team - the potential difficulty is knowing what to ask and ensuring the answers you get are honest; make sure you use appropriate feedback methods.
Enquire on the use of tools and systems - both old and new; how productive are employees when using these systems? Do the tools in use serve the function they were meant for? And are they achieving those tasks or missing elements which make the process frustrating? Is the technology your teams are using making lives easier?
While this needs to be considered in terms of individual roles and tasks, it is also important to consider how technology is supporting your team’s wellbeing. Reliance on digital tools and services can be a real benefit, but a lack of human interaction and perceived distance created within teams can equally cause problems.
How do your managers ensure they are keeping people involved and providing them support? And what of other relationships within their teams?
Reviewing the data available from the technology in place, your team will be able to see how systems are performing - and how they are being used.
Have new solutions been successfully adopted? And are they fulfilling the role they were brought in for? What blocks might be in the way of individual uptake or how the system is functioning? How are you balancing security and productivity - and are you getting the balance you hoped for?
The Define Phase
Within this phase you’re looking to determine the structure of your environment to provide benefits to the whole of your business - providing efficient, effective systems for productivity as well as people management and support.
Understanding how your employees are working, you can now ensure the tools and software you have are doing what you need them to do. Where systems are failing to perform, there is the opportunity here to find new solutions.
Are problems arising because of the technology in place or through miscommunication? Lack of understanding of employees' needs can result in the wrong solutions being provided, while - similarly - lack of understanding of the solution may cause frustration for those trying to use it.
As usual, the key here is communication - ensuring the right conversations are happening and opportunities are made for everyone to be heard. As the digital-first strategy is developing, some employees will need reassurance and everyone will need to understand the path ahead - having champions to liaise and promote the developments, as well as helping teams feel supported and understood.
The monitoring of those insights available throughout your technology systems, will allow you to ensure you are achieving what you intended.
Having discovered how tools and systems are being used, you’ll be able to define any changes necessary for best practice - where apps or services necessitate human intervention, this is the time to present better opportunities if possible.
The data you have collected, should provide you with enough understanding to build solutions which improve your users experience - increasing adoption and employee engagement.
Providing solutions which work for your people will improve your employee satisfaction figures, and they should also improve your performance in other areas - the ROI of your technology investment and savings realisations are two other areas which should also see improvement.
The Recommend Phase
At this stage you are looking for developments which will strengthen your business and promote growth. Having chosen a digital first strategy, recommendations will improve on your initial move away from physical workspaces providing more flexibility and better tools within your hybrid environment.
Solutions are available which will allow you to provide better support to your people through a better understanding of how they are working. IT can monitor system use to identify friction in processes, HR can review working practices flagging those who are online too much or not communicating with colleagues, and line-of-business managers can see where processes are impeded by technology using KPI’s to identify digital behaviours.
Empowering managers to recognise employee frustration and deal with it, will benefit not only individual employees but teams and the business as a whole. Providing your people with positive work experiences is essential in strengthening your organisation - I spent some time looking at employee engagement and retention in this article - What do your employees value?
Are you looking to ensure you drive value in the business and are seen as a strategic enabler? You should be.
At this time of change, there are opportunities to review systems and processes to support strategic transformation. At a simple level you can ensure the provision of more suitable or reliable apps, or commit to cloud-based solutions to replace those which are fixed; but you should also be thinking bigger.
How are you supporting the bridging of organisational silos and creating new value to the organisation? Collaboration is key here, and you should be exploring opportunities across business areas - one place to start is with your HR teams.
As Your Digital Strategy Strengthens - Keep Your Purpose Clear
We have seen businesses change incredibly quickly in the last two years, but those whose developments were focused on existing company goals will be building much stronger foundations. While these articles are suggesting a focus on data throughout business transformation, it’s essential that your strategy is directed with your business purpose at its heart.
Your business growth strategy will be informed by a variety of considerations - the purpose of these articles is to help you recognise those areas of insight available to support that strategy. If you want to discuss your own workspace development, I’m happy to help.
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.