Ask your team, “Does our workplace technology allow you to be as productive as you could be?” Start that conversation, because most organizations aren’t there yet and it is a huge missed opportunity.
I’ve personally experienced both of the following scenarios…
A) Walked into an office and just by looking around for 5 seconds, I can tell that the organization is way behind the times. Before I’ve even made it into the conference room, I have a negative impression of them. The alarm bells went off when I saw:
- Employees working on “old-fashioned” CRT-monitors with what appeared to be Windows XP.
- Outdated versions of Microsoft Office products.
- One salesperson was typing a message on a Blackberry.
B) Walked into a new office space that an organization recently moved into. Just as before, I scanned the space as I walked to my meeting and was very impressed to see:
- Each employee working in front of 2 flat-screens on arm-mounts.
- Modern versions of software and operating systems.
- Several people on current-generation smartphones and tablets.
In both of these cases, I was an outside consultant just coming in for a meeting. However those observations certainly had an impact on my read of how that organization was doing and perhaps on what the priorities of the leadership were. If I were someone coming in for a job interview, I would certainly be doing the same scan of the space to ask myself, “Is this somewhere that I could see myself working?”
So with those issues in mind, let’s look at 3 ways that organizations can meet the expectations and needs of employees and prospects when it comes to their workplace technology concerns.
1. Keep Pace with the Consumer Marketplace
Keeping with the times is harder than ever, however it is vital to the way that your brand is perceived and the way that your employees are able to engage with their day-to-day activities. Consumer-oriented tech giants such as Google, Apple, Amazon, etc. are advancing their products, apps, and devices at a rapid rate. Even those traditionally corporate-facing tech companies such as Microsoft are increasingly making changes at a pace suited more to the consumer market.
What this means for organizations is that you need to be observant and flexible to the changes that the rest of the world are adjusting to and find ways to incorporate them into your workflows if they suit your employees’ needs. The risk of being too slow to adapt is appearing out-of-touch and alienating or frustrating employees seeking a more modern approach.
2. Design Employee-centered Experiences
Too often organizations develop workflows, apps, software, and internal processes from a corporate point of view instead of an employee-oriented one. The best tactic to take is to involve the people who have to do the work in the development of the work that they’ll be doing. 9/10 times that I talk with someone who is really frustrated by the work that they have to do, it was developed by someone who doesn’t do it.
I come back to the question that I asked at the top of the post… “Does our workplace technology allow you to be as productive as you could be?” This should be central to all of your technology in the workplace conversations with the goal always being to maximize productivity by limiting frustrations and roadblocks along the way.
3. Create a Culture of Constant Feedback
No system is ever going to be perfect. The best organizations embrace that and are constantly fine-tuning in response to input from their team members. When all of the stake-holders feel valued and know that they are listened to, you get great outcomes.