Re-Wire Your Workplace – Start with People Connections
Organizations are digitizing every aspect of their existence. Workers toil remotely, collaborating in cyberspace. Digital communication channels are absorbing increasing shares in the marketing mix. Customers interact online, through websites, chat boxes and e-mail.
Yet productivity and profit-seeking remain very much a people-driven mission. Digital tools and collaboration softwares are not animate (yet!), and do nothing without your employees clicking buttons and sharing work.
Without people, the value of the technology remains “potential” rather than “kinetic.”
We thought about this while reading a short white paper from Igloo, an intranet software firm. They wrote about the people-driven dynamics of digital productivity initiative that “rewire the workplace.” They broke the focus down to five key areas. I have taken the liberty of reordering them to fit our Bovo-Tighe narrative, and injected our own perspective under each:
Put your “people teams” in charge.
Igloo had this fourth. We put it first. You must start with your people, because in the end only they can make your digital investments fruitful. Use “digital transformation challenges” as initiatives that truly break down siloes and forge bonds between functional teams. As much as employees bemoan “technology,” it calls no shots. It exists to “serve people inside your organization,” as Igloo points out. Engagement grows through such empowering collaborative initiatives, if led with a light, guiding hand.
Cater to people, while serving the entire organization.
With the prevalence of smart phones, everyone has access to lots of personal digital tools. They have, in effect, already rewired their own lives. How best to entice people to use the organization’s intranet tools rather than their own? Your “people teams” are the key; if they have a big hand in creating your intranet solution, they will more likely use it. Igloo’s guess is that the best solution will offer “both a compelling core feature suite and the ability to integrate with preferred apps that employees use to get work done.”
Create a comfortable place for people to be productive.
Seek simplicity with collaborative software tools. “The user experience should be simple and lightweight, and don’t underestimate the power of pleasing aesthetics and an intuitive architecture,” wrote Igloo. If you put the people in charge, though, having ownership of its creation takes them a long way down the road to encouraging trial and ensuring use.
Make the digital experience feel like walking into work.
Your intranet should become an attractive, engaging place that reflects your team and organizational cultures. Igloo calls this “replicate what it’s like to physically be at work.” Collaboration is more than just project tracking and file sharing. They can create a unified place to have professional conversations, ask questions, connect easily with the people and information they need to get their jobs done. You can also share appreciation and express gratitude through these tools, although we emphasis keeping most of that in-person, where it has the greatest impact.
Build for today, plan for the future.
Pick a solution that you can use as a tool for today, but that can evolve with your business. Your work groups need to anticipate future needs, and demand scalability. They, and you, must also demand an adaptable system. It must be malleable enough to respond reasonably fast to lessons learned as you roll it out and it gets a real-world stress test!
At Bovo-Tighe, we work with teams to foster this kind of intensive collaboration. Our focus is on the “people technology” rather than the software, permanently embedding the habits of highly functional teams to raise engagement, and so improve productivity.
How may we help you embed these productive habits in your team? Find out how we do that.