We live in an era of digital transformation. From marketing and sales to product development and beyond, technology is fundamentally changing how today’s globally distributed, mobile workforces get work done. This is enabling new operational efficiencies, faster product development cycles, greater customer intimacy, and a lot of other big benefits for businesses.
The challenge? People—long regarded as the true source of competitive advantage—have struggled to keep up with the rapid pace of digital transformation. Deloitte reports that many modern employees are overwhelmed by the demands of the digital workplace, which has undermined both business productivity and employee engagement. Indeed, a 2016 Gallup study warned that we’re in the midst of an employee engagement crisis, with just 13% of employees in today’s global workplaces reporting that they feel engaged.
It’s clear, therefore, that for digital transformation initiatives to be successful, we need to do a better job of ensuring that our workforces are following us. Below are several practical ways we’ve found to make workplaces more human and productive.
1) Empower Digital Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing
Gartner predicts that by 2020 the greatest source of competitive advantage for 30 percent of organizations will come from the workforce’s ability to creatively exploit digital technology. In a world where individuals increasingly work remotely and teams are frequently spread across multiple continents, a digital collaboration platform is imperative.
A system like Atlassian’s Confluence enables organizations to get ideas out of private hard drives and filing cabinets—and out into the open where everyone can work on them. Features like being able to edit, like and comment on content simplify collaboration, while creating a social experience that builds transparency and connection across the organization.
2) Make the Digital Workplace More Personal
Digital transformation—like any change—isn’t always easy for people to handle. Clinical psychologists have noted the “digital disconnect” that can result when human interactions are replaced by technological ones. Without the right tools in place, employees can struggle to effectively communicate with each other and become disengaged from the organization.
Fortunately, there are a couple of steps you can take to prevent your people from getting lost between the 1s and 0s. The first is to realize that—in a digital workplace—your employees frequently “meet” their colleagues for the first time online. This means that having good, complete user profiles is critical to enabling your employees to find and connect with their colleagues.
By using an app like User Profiles for Confluence, you’re able to synchronize profiles and pictures with active directories. This ensures that profiles are always up to date. Plus, you get the power to enhance profiles with custom fields like location, skills and expertise, and more—making it easier for users to find the experts they’re looking for.
Digital collaboration starts with people. It ends there too. That’s why it pays to invest in the tools you need to put people at the center of your Confluence.
3) Make Collaboration More Fun and Rewarding
Digital collaboration doesn’t have to be so much work. Today, gamification apps are available that let you integrate game mechanics into your Confluence to motivate employee participation, engagement, and collaboration.
Now you can award points and badges for a range of activities: posting or editing content, commenting on or “liking” pages, completing user profiles, etc. This can be a real “game changer.” Suddenly, instead of having to chase down people to use Confluence, you’ll be able to sit back and watch as they compete with each other to climb up leaderboards and win digital prestige among their peers.
Our customers have used gamification very effectively to drive user adoption at the launch of their Confluence. And, of course, it’s a great way to keep employees engaged in your digital workplace on an ongoing basis.
4) Customize Your User Interface for Your Organization
Most collaboration platforms have sleek, modern user interfaces. But none of these platforms were built for the way your people, in your organization, work. This can increase the friction that employees experience when transitioning to digital systems and workflows.
Collaboration experts understand the importance of creating great user experiences through simpler navigation, consistent site structures, and helpful features like custom menus, favorites and personalized dashboards. Communardo provides several apps that enable you to customize your user interface to create a great user experience—and empower your people to work together better.
5) Eliminate Digital Silos
Deloitte reports that 72% of employees say that they cannot find the information they need in their company’s information systems. Part of the problem, as we noted above, is that intranets and other systems aren’t built for the way your employees work. The other big challenge is that different teams may rely upon different collaboration systems.
It’s not unusual for our customers to have both Confluence and SharePoint installations in their organizations. On their own, each of these platforms can be powerful tools. But when they’re used together, they can result in a sprawling chasm between teams and lead to all kinds of headaches and inefficiencies.
Fortunately, integration apps are available to bridge the gap between SharePoint and Confluence, as well as other systems. An integration is much easier—and less risky—than a wholescale migration. Plus, it saves your teams from wasting valuable time searching for information or duplicating efforts, enabling you to improve overall business productivity.
6) Create a Barrier-Free Workplace
Is your digital workplace as accessible as your physical workplace? Many organizations aren’t aware of the rising tide of digital accessibility lawsuits. The number of civil lawsuits brought against companies whose websites are not accessible by the visually impaired increased sevenfold from 2015 to 2017. While most of these were brought by consumers against businesses with online storefronts, this trend highlights the importance of addressing accessibility in the digital workplace. Arguably, employees have just as much, if not greater, claim to equal access to the tools they need to do their jobs.
Companies who are committed to building an inclusive environment—and avoiding litigation—ensure that their digital systems comply with WCAG 2.0, Section 508 or BITV 2.0 accessibility requirements. Fortunately, this is easy with apps like Accessibility for Confluence, which includes support for screen readers, high-contrast mode and keyboard navigation. It gives you a simple way to build a barrier-free digital workplace.
7) Engage with Your Employees.
Last, but certainly not least: Routinely solicit feedback from your users and engage them in optimizing your digital systems and workflows to work the way they need to work. User surveys are a good start, but it’s also important to get out of your office and have good old-fashioned conversations with your users. This is a great way to show that you’re not just some evil genius sitting in a dark room planning how to make their lives more difficult. It also gives you a deeper understanding of their pain points, motivations and aspirations, so that you can create the kind of digital workplace in which everyone can excel as humans and as teams.
Share Your Ideas and Experience
Do you have any other tips for humanizing the digital workplace? Please let us know in the comments below. Happy collaborating!