We are inundated with information about life and work in the digital era. How should the modern workplace look and feel? Let’s break things down into practical elements you can consider in your company.
Think back to the last time your heard the term digital disruption. Or what about the question, “What are you doing about our engagement and productivity from a digital perspective?”. One of the goals of human resources is to help people connect with the company at an individual level. We are people, after all, and the more we are connected and have a clear sense of purpose in our role, the better we perform. So how do you build this modern workplace?
Historically – and to an extent currently – workforce structures have been a top-down approach. Just think of all the jokes you know about organisational structures; ones about job titles such as ‘VP of Saying No’ come to mind. I think this sums up how an organisation is run on directional leadership and, frankly, nine times out of 10 a cycle of fear: employees fear the boss, the boss fears a workers action, and on it goes.
Now we are confronted with a brave new world, with five generations in the workforce and digital disruption to the old blue-chip business models. Change is not coming – it’s here. The tasks of opening up the channels of innovation and engagement and building a modern workplace are put on the desk of human resources.
Technology that permits employee collaboration is already here, so you don’t need to worry regarding that capability. Rather, it comes down to trust between employee and employer. Here are two ways HR can make this happen:
1. Focus on leadership
The real focus on this transformation needs to come from a new style of leadership that moves to trust, not fear. Leadership needs to communicate to employees a clear and open purpose to the business that goes beyond profit. Purpose gets to the core of what we do this for – why we come to work everyday. Once you can define this, the people strategy falls in place.
2. Define workforce structures
You can explore workforce structures and technology to enable employees to challenge the status quo and innovate. Above all, this relies on you imbedding trust, and learning into the workplace. These are the ingredients that open up the channels to give you innovation, engagement and productivity. Trust and purpose – it’s that simple. Success is simply human.