Unleash the Power of Your People
Today’s workplace is at an inflection point. Workers have more choice, power and capabilities than ever before. Companies that realize and act on this will be positioned for growth — those that don’t are in for a rude awakening.
Three components make up this inflection point: people, spaces and technology. In the people part of the equation, the business world comprises multigenerational, diverse groups of workers that include everyone from millennials to baby boomers. Businesses that understand the work-style personas and needs of these workers, as well as the depth and breadth of their knowledge, can empower them.
In the spaces segment of the equation, we need to ensure that offices and other workspaces provide the best possible experience — one that facilitates collaboration and productive outcomes. Mobility should be leveraged to drive not only productivity, but also a seamless experience across a variety of spaces.
The technology component needs to blend into the environment so that it becomes ubiquitous and easy to consume. The consumerization movement continues to make new technologies and applications available at your fingertips, blurring the lines between personal and business interactions. Mobile devices now let employees connect with customers, partners and coworkers at any time and from any location. Social media empowers them to engage with multiple communities anywhere, at any time — and in very public forums. And the cloud enables them to use enterprise applications and data from wherever they choose to work.
Today’s workers don’t want to commute. It’s less about the time wasted in travel, and more about ensuring that face-to-face interactions are truly valuable interactions in a productive space. Companies that don’t understand this create workplaces with layouts, even furniture, that reflect an older “command and control” way of working. These facilities also lack the collaboration tools that today’s empowered workers need and demand. The results, all too often, are “shiny empty spaces” that do no one any good.
A New Level of Agility
Our global business worlds are complex, and the level of complexity is growing. It’s more than a need for speed — it’s a need for agility and simplification.
Employees should get vital business information even before they know they need it. “Win-fast/fail-fast” experimentation should be part of their everyday work experience. And an outside-in culture should empower employees to react quickly and efficiently to marketplace changes by adopting the innovations of others.
This is the future of the workplace — and it’s here now. We’re driven by a speed of business, and a way of working, unlike anything we’ve seen before. The daily pace is accelerating at organizations in every sector. Managers realize that the faster their organization can bring goods and services to market, the faster it can enjoy the benefits of new revenue, lower costs and more prosperous shareholders.
You could argue that the real drivers behind the acceleration, the ones with their foot firmly on the gas pedal, are the customers. And you’d be right. Today’s customers expect their questions to be answered quickly — and their issues resolved even faster. Smart companies will not only use the tools of social media to respond to customers at this new speed, but also leverage social media to gain immediate insights on new products and services, relying on customer feedback and smart analytics as part of their product development.
But every employee in the organization is also a customer somewhere, and each one expects the same speed of business within his or her own workplace. Employees expect a speedier mindset throughout the organization, one that enables them to collaborate effortlessly. One of the biggest challenges of the next few years will be removing the “collaboration gaps” that now separate workers by physical location, business unit or generational approaches.
“I Just Want All of This to Work”
In theory, technology should be a prime enabler of the employee-centric workplace. In practice, however, it’s often a barrier. The consumer technology that employees introduce drives business technology; this, in turn, places new demands — and strains — on enterprise cybersecurity, connectivity, databases and applications.
CEOs and other top executives can easily say, “I just want all of this to work seamlessly, securely and with our current IT environment.” But major issues remain, including security, access and identity management, cost allocations and reimbursements, even the reluctance of end users to invest in keeping their own devices current.
Mobile technology is crucial to enabling a more agile organization, and to allowing workers to have the right devices, apps, data and security. But organizations need to take this a step further by thinking in terms of “contextual computing.” That is, different tasks at different times have different technological needs. For example, while today’s smartphone displays of 4 or 5 diagonal inches are adequate for basic data input, they’re too small for complex input.
Similarly, social media can be seen as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, social networks including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter let organizations communicate with customers in new ways, and more quickly than ever. But on the other hand, they also extend employees’ reach beyond the enterprise, often in ways that managers find difficult to monitor and control.
Consider a workplace solution that provides you the flexibility and choices you need to access a variety of best-in-breed solution components. All are securely provided in a services wrapper based on your user-profile needs.
Yes, power is shifting to individual employees. But if you accept the shift and give employees the tools they need to collaborate and make decisions quickly, you’ll find that they will individually and collectively use their power to help your company grow.
MARIA PARDEE is vice president and general manager, Workplace and Service Management, CSC.