Why organisations need to create a digital workplace ‘A-team’

Digital workplace initiatives cannot be treated exclusively as an IT initiative Carol Rozwell, Gartner

By 2021, only a quarter of midsize and large organisations will successfully target new ways of working in 80 per cent of their initiatives, according to Gartner.

New ways of working, explains Gartner, include distributed decision-making, virtual and remote work, and redesigned physical workspaces.

“Digital workplace initiatives cannot be treated exclusively as an IT initiative,” says Carol Rozwell, distinguished research vice president at Gartner.

“When initiatives are executed as a series of technology rollouts, employee engagement and addressing the associated cultural change are left behind. Digital workplace success is impossible without such.”

Change leadership imperatives

She says a new approach for coping with the shifting demands of digital business is emerging for digital workplace leaders - change leadership.

“Digital workplace leaders must realise that their role as the orchestrator of change is fundamentally moving away from previously ingrained leadership practices that view employees as a group resistant to change rather than involving them in co-creating the path forward,” says Rozwell.

Create your digital workplace ‘A-team’

Rozwell says as digital workplace leaders shift their thoughts and actions toward people-oriented designs, they can inspire and engage a cross-disciplinary “A-team” to help strategise news way of working.

This team - coming IT, facilities management, human resources and business stakeholders - envisions how new technologies, processes and work styles will enhance the overall employee experience and enable them to perform mission-critical work more effectively.

In the end, organisations that take time to invest in the employee experience will net a 10-percentage-point improvement in employee engagement scores.

Focus on business unit leaders

Successful digital workplace programs are less about technology and more about understanding what affects the employee experience and making necessary changes to the work environment.

“The business unit leader is the champion of a new way of working in the digital workplace,” says Rozwell.

This is the person who identifies the desired business outcomes, develops the business case and establishes the measures by which success is determined.

“Without engaging business unit leaders, it will be impossible to successfully grapple with the scope of changes needed,” says Rozwell.

Related reading: Insights from NZ CIOs on leading digital workplace initiatives

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