Accelerating Digital Workplace Transformation: New Normal

Digital Transformation
Fast-tracking Digital transformation at the workplace poses multi-facet challenges related to psychological safety, resistance to change, buy-in from the leaders, capability issue, lack of mindset, and learning agility.

Emerging technology, rising customer expectations, changing consumer behaviours, shifting business models, COVID 19 pandemic, and other forces are creating remarkable opportunities and challenges in the new era of digital disruption. This technology disruption has created ample opportunities for the world and changed the business operating model by brining everything digital.

As said by Sh. Mukesh Dhirubhai Ambani “The Fourth Industrial Revolution is now upon us. It is marked by a fusion of technologies straddling the physical, digital and biological worlds” the face of digital is so fast that going forward 40% of all businesses will die in the next 10 years if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies and new skills.  Various data point says that digital has permeated our lives and its transformation the way we live, the way we work.  

Various researches show that today, most companies are struggling to keep pace with the speed of technological disruption and are failing to achieve their business objectives. The need is to switch the gear from defence to offense in driving digital transformation by creating a culture of continuous innovation. Today, companies need to focus on the human element – leaders, teams, and culture– to thrive and build true digital advantage for the future.

Enable more effective ways of working, raise employee engagement and agility is the key to success.

Digital transformation and change in the ways of working became a new normal across the world and demanding faster employees’ adoption to be relevant and productive. This technology disruption is bringing lots of change in the socio-cultural and demography, demands hyper collaboration, mind-set change and agility at workplace.

Challenges and Imperatives of Fast-tracking Digital Transformation

Fast-tracking Digital transformation at the workplace poses multi-facet challenges related to psychological safety, resistance to change, buy-in from the leaders, capability issue, lack of mindset, and learning agility. These all can be accelerated by managing digital transformation in a structured way by keeping people change and adopting key focus and navigating by effective learning, education, and continuous communication with users and other impacted stakeholders. This approach enables business benefits, better employee’s adoption smooth transition to digital change journey of workforce and workplace. 

Accelerating Digital Transformation at Workplace

Gone are the days, when the workplace was merely a physical space, employee occupied during regular office hours. Today’s connected employees 24/7, instant access environment has blurred the lines between the physical office and the place where work actually happens. Today, leading organizations have begun to implement an entirely new working environment – the digital workplace. By integrating the technologies that employees use (from e-mail, instant messaging, MS team and enterprise app, social media tools, HR applications, and virtual meeting tools), the digital workplace, breaks down communication barriers, position employees by fostering efficiency, innovation, and growth.

The key to digital transformation success, however, lies in the effective implementation of a digital workplace strategy capable of driving true cultural change. The below defined digital workplace framework provides organizations guide with a tool to understand their current digital workplace, identify areas of opportunity and accelerate digital adoption.

Team Collaboration, Communication and Workplace Networking

The digital workplace is all about the employees’ ability to do their job by collaborating, communicating and real-time connection with others. The goal is to forge productive business relationships within and beyond natural workgroups and to enable knowledge sharing across the organization anytime, anywhere.

Technology the Enabler

Technology enables the digital workplace. Each organization already has a digital workplace tool like MS team, circuit, Zoom, what’s up, etc, depending on industry and business needs. These tools support digital working for better productivity and value enhancement. The organization needs to have better business cases and frameworks in place to adopt the right tools for jobs.

Effective Change Management and Governance

The effective use of technology in the digital workplace is underpinned by effective change management, appropriate controls, and user adoption. We have to show and define the WIIFM (what’s in it for me) to the employees to have faster adoption to new digital tools which can enable the work in better, convenient, and effective ways. The new digital ways of working in the “New Normal” and needs to be adopted with proper governance so that employees can avoid cyber mishappening, compliance issues, and corporate fraud. This means employees must support the digital workplace with appropriate governance structures and management processes. Information flow and use must also comply with the organization’s policies and industry compliances.

Business Drivers: Measurable Business Value and Outcome

As with any core initiative, it is essential for businesses to drive the digital workplace. To deliver the necessary benefits, the direction of organization should guide. Business case of workplace digital transformation and adoption lies with attracting talent, enhance employees’ experience, productivity, and efficiency of employees, and enhance motivation and employees’ retention.

Approach to Enable Digital Workplace Transformation

Experiencing the disruption happening due to fast change in the business operating model due to digital transformation at the workplace, coved19 pandemic or change in the supply chain management -from just in time to just in case. Everywhere work from home; learn from home, gig talent, etc are bringing change in the workplace design. Every organization is looking for how quickly they can define and accelerate the new workplace design and harvest the value. While there are no hard and fast rules governing and fast-tracking the design of a digital workplace?

The new recommended approach in the digital transformation journey is insurance to the smooth transition and adoption of the new normal. This approach has three phases called Plan, lead, and sustains (PLS) digital change to ensure the success of digital ways of working. PLS approach emphasis more on agile based on change context and urge. To ensure buy-in and commitment to the digital journey from all impacted stakeholders (leaders, managers, employees). This PLS approach emphasizes on continues education and communication on benefits of digital ways of working and to ensure the impact of this momentum AUPIC approach (Awareness, understating, participation, involvement, and commitment) is interwoven in the change adoption journey, to motivate and ensure the transition and success of digital transformation and outcome. The success of the digital transformation depends on:

  • Identification of employees risks & mitigate them through various change interventions (continuous education & stakeholders communication, early buy-in from leaders & managers, cascade change objectives & benefits through change catalyst/digital champions
  • Have effective learning & adoption strategy, on-time delivery of training, continuous motivation & performance support to users in digital journey
  • Continuous communication/education to all impacted stakeholder (Business leaders, managers, employees) about benefits, milestones achievements, what’s in it for me
  • Leverage informal networks (social, community platform, or application) and involve employees in the early stage of the digital change cycle.  This approach strongly recommends agile a framework to make workplace change interventions more contextual, real-time, and effective.

This approach is proven, time tested and been leveraged in fast-tracking digital transformation at the workplace.

HR is going to play a pivotal role as an enabler and drive adoption to the new normal by identifying challenges proactively, creating a road map for employees to accelerate digital transformation in their respective organizations, and impact the overall employees’ productivity and growth. 

End Note: All views of the author in this article are personal, nothing to do with the current or past organization.


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