7 Traits of a Successful Digital Workplace
There are several specific qualities of exceptional Digital Workplaces that stand out as contributing factors to success. The good news is that these attributes can be executed regardless of the technology selection.
Like any disruptive change event, Digital Workplace failures can be attributed to a programmatic disconnect. This can stem from an overall misaligned strategy to poor employee engagement. Nonetheless, there are common characteristics of “world-class” Digital Workplaces that truly reshape the manner in which the business operates.
1. A Clear Vision
The vision could be part of the company mission or even a statement related to a multi-year change program. Either way, this acts as the Northstar of any business transformation initiative.
All of the decisions within the transformation plan – from the goals and objectives of the program strategy, down to the applications, use cases, and user interface design – all relate back to the vision. Every consideration ultimately leads back to a stated purpose.
Interestingly, this is often an overlooked aspect of Digital Workplace planning, and yet, the most crucial.
2. Strong Governance Framework & Resources
Establishing a well defined governance framework will continue to serve you over the lifetime of your Digital Workplace.
Consider, as the governance program evolves from launch and into the first year, there is the potential to make positive business impacts well beyond technical outcomes.
Proper oversight weighs decisions across different layers of responsibilities, with appropriate stakeholders per layer. A best practice that has emerged over the years is a model that segments stakeholders by Strategic Ownership, Operational Imperatives, and the Tactical Implementation/Interaction – as appropriate to the organization’s culture.
3. Delivers Definitive Business Value
The most successful Digital Workplaces outline a clear set of goals and objectives aligned to the vision. The very best, determine a timeframe of delivery over the course of a year.
This results in a more defined governance scope, use case focus, design delivery, and minimizes customization decisions as there are clear, quantitative guardrails established at the beginning of the journey.
4. Executive Champions
The word ‘champion’ is used here for a specific purpose. Sponsorship as a formality is falsely reassuring to employees. Thus, for trust to develop around any change effort, leaders must be open and transparent about the activities, communicating frequently and celebrating the road ahead.
Executives must drive the initiative forward, ensuring the success of their application owners and program strategists.
When barriers arise, executive champions provide assistance. Otherwise, competing priorities within the organization will cannibalize time, attention, and resources.
5. Utility Rich Use Cases
For a digital workplace to thrive, it must positively answer the timeless question of, “Is this useful to me?”
Far too often, Digital Workplaces will focus on an abundance of consumption-driven use cases – an overwhelming pile of news and announcements which overload the users’ path to more useful information.
In other missteps, the focus becomes too much on design and creating an “on-brand” experience to satisfy specific business leaders. These implementations will always fail and miss the mark in creating tangible business value that changes the way employees work.
6. Supported Employee Base
One of the foundations of change is support. World-class application owners build internal communication and support programs as part of the digital strategy. This lessens change anxiety, as transformation efforts begin to take shape. Additionally, this allows employee populations the opportunity to help provide insight with rich feedback cycles.
Program owners should seed this location with pertinent information, training, and communications – cultivating a vital hub for employees to understand the ongoing digital plans. In fact, strategies like these can turn your most hardened digital detractors into change champions.
7. Program Strategy & Roadmap
The very best digital strategies focus on creating a vibrant living program within the organization, delivering a compelling employee experience that reshapes the customer experience.
Ultimately, great application owners refuse to treat the transformation effort as a project (with a definitive end date), but as an ongoing program.
Bringing it All Together
The Transformation Strategy Pyramid is a tool I have used over the last ten years to structure thoughts and guidance for my clients. For Transformation initiatives, it is used to show traceability of Vision + Decision + Action.
Director of Solutions Consulting
Employee Engagement, Digital Workplace, Tips & Tricks
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