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Shaping Cultural Dynamics with Technology

Today’s employees favour work styles unconfined to routine. They want to collaborate with colleagues, customers and partners in engaging and productive conversation at any hour of the day, on any device, from any location. Discover the key to shaping cultural dynamics through the power of innovative technology.

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Introduction

In Gartner’s 2018 CIO Survey, 46% of respondents named culture as the biggest barrier to scaling digital transformation. Since workplace culture is made up of so many different aspects, it can be hard to change. In addition, the meaning and value of work is shifting. This is down to both long-term and large-scale changes in technology, as well as a constantly evolving market and socio-economic trends. In order to keep pace, businesses must adapt and mirror these changes, fusing culture with technology to enhance productivity.

For many of us, jobs are no longer just jobs. Work has become a thing we do, not a place we go. Thanks to the advancement of technology, there is a wealth of collaboration and communication tools that enable us to be more productive on our own terms – in our own work style. That often means teamwork on-the-go; as such solutions that allow for mobile working and innovative workforce management such as instant messaging (IM) and presence management have become more of an expectation than a perk.

When it comes to health and wellbeing, work-life balance has become top priority with technology a key enabler. This places more pressure on business leaders trying to cater for a diverse workforce, with varying needs. Modern work environments that offer flexible and collaborative working have become key areas of focus when it comes to cultural transformation. Those businesses with any hope of attracting and retaining.

"Culture is not something that is imposed or implemented. It’s a reflection of the actions, attitudes and approaches of the members of an organization. If you change those, you change the culture, not the other way around.”

Gartner

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The Challenges

The Challenges

Evolving digital workplace demands can prove to be a huge challenge to an organisation’s ageing infrastructure, which needs to support a growing mobile workforce influence.

Today’s employees quite often favour work styles unconfined to routine. They want to collaborate with colleagues, customers and partners inside and outside the business, in engaging and productive conversation. They also want the flexibility to be able to do this at any time, from any location.

For many businesses, this often requires the juggling of multiple solutions from various vendors, combined with point solutions that meet more specific requirements. The needs of individual, team, and regional users of all ages must be met with company-wide consistency. In addition, workplace culture directly links into customer experience. Employees want to feel proud of the company they work for, and empowered to do their jobs to the best of their ability. This means business leaders must have the right technology in place that drives motivation as well as productivity; which in turn results in providing the best customer experience possible.

Taking an inward approach when it comes to evaluation is a good way to start adapting to an ever-changing workforce dynamic. And who better to tell you what solutions are needed? Your employees - the very people you want to drive change with. Involving them from early stages, valuing their opinion, and gaining their buy-in when it comes to your technology investment will encourage maximum productivity in the long-run. Let’s take a look at some of the key areas for consideration.

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Encourage Innovation with Culture Hacking

“Don’t try to change manage your way to a better culture. Culture hacks are great alternatives that provide small adjustments to the culture for big results.”

Gartner
Mary Mesaglio, Vice President

Culture hacking is one way to deliver more effective change, by using simple hacks as opposed to big and often faceless transformational efforts. In a bid to undo the stiff, formal culture, businesses are looking for better ways to encourage innovation and the sharing of ideas. Since a culture hack isn’t hard to execute, it’s a great way to create quick and visible emotional responses. Responses that are essential when attempting to affect behavioural shifts, which in turn sets the wheels in motion for cultural change.

Many businesses start by identifying a single point where deep change can have great impact. It could be that you want to improve your customer communications. Offer team members the option of stepping forward to be part of the project team, instead of selecting them yourself. Send out a poll to find out what they need from an IM solution for example, or what they look for in a social listening tool; and see how this creates a shift in the dynamic of your workplace

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The Top Culture Hack Tips

  1. Keep culture hacks small 
  2. Elicit emotional responses from your teams
  3. Design hacks that create change visibly, quickly, and with minimal effort
  4. Avoid hacking big areas, e.g. revamping your entire communications infrastructure
  5. Have a plan B in place in case the hack backfires
  6. Be clear about your desired change
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The Five Worker Types

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Engineers

By engineers we mean employees who are the most technology-savvy – rather than the traditional technical engineer-type role. They have faith in their skills as well as their organisation’s technological capability. Likely to be IT workers or managers, these employees tend to be at the later part of their careers. One in four think of themselves as expert users of digital technology for work – higher than any other worker type. When it comes to seeking and instilling value, these are the digital champions you should target as being most qualified, credible, and confident.

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Mavericks

Usually just starting out in their careers, Mavericks don’t often feel they are given enough flexibility when it comes to technology. Generally, this means they go out and find their own solutions, which are neither authorised or tolerated by their business. As a result, workplace leaders should target this group to learn more insights into what makes them tick from a productivity perspective.

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Pilots 

This group are typically mid-way through their career. Feeling confident with technology, they spend more time in production than at desks. They are unlikely to work in industries known for being technically advanced, however they work with new applications and sometimes ignore business policy to use their own devices. In terms of career perks, they need more convincing when it comes to what they can achieve from developing digital skills.

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Caretakers 

Later in their careers, Caretakers don’t feel digital skills are any help. They show the least confidence when using technology for work, and are typically dissatisfied with their devices and applications which are generally outdated for both work and personal use. Decades of experience enables them to however understand the business and processes. Combining their knowledge with the digital skills of co-workers can therefore be a key strategy for transitioning your workplace culture.

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Navigators

Navigators are usually office-based professionals mid-way through their career. While they know their way around technology, they are by no means experts. Like engineers, they also believe developing digital skills will bring career benefits and thus place more value in this area than most other groups. They also prefer working on their own, in a routine, and to use tested solutions to solve problems vs thinking of new ideas.

 

Whichever combination of worker-type you identify within your business, the underlying factor is your ability to use technology that will result in maximum productivity.

Today’s contact centre solutions for example are becoming more intelligent. Using big data analytics and social listening tools, businesses

are able to get the most actionable insight from customer conversations. This then enhances the ability to understand how best to communicate, in order to deliver the highest customer experience possible. To discover a best-fit solution, it is imperative you address the attitudes and work styles of your employees to make the right technology investment.

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How Millennial Digital Workers Differ

Currently comprising of 35% of the UK workforce, Deloitte estimates millennials will comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025. Their wants and needs differ greatly to other generations, meaning companies should be aware of how to manage their demands in their favour. So what exactly is it that they need?

Flexibility with Stability

After 12 months of social and political upheaval, millennials have growing concerns over future uncertainties. This, along with increasing automation may be responsible for the need for job security. However, wanting the best of both worlds, flexible working options remain just as influential with 67% saying flexibility has a positive effect on productivity.

Technology That Makes a Difference

As the first generation to grow in a fully connected world, it’s no wonder they seek more casual working approaches and a more flexible environment where they can share new ideas and creative strategies as a team. This kind of setting provides an opportunity to work together and develop concepts and techniques that not only help the business, but also supports their own personal growth and development.

Mobile-First Approach

Millennials spend 24 hours a week on their smartphones – that’s one full day a week scrolling and swiping; more than any of their older generations. Sending emails and social networking are the top two online activities, with just over 80 hours a week spent on combined electronic devices.

Industries That Appeal

According to LinkedIn research, in 2016 millennials switched to careers in tech above any other industry. Healthcare was a close second, with finance being the 3rd biggest gainer. Retail, government /not-for-profit, and media were the top declining industries. While career progression prospects have great impact, benefits such as flexible working is another key consideration when it comes to job and industry appeal factor.

By understanding the relationship millennials have with technology, it is possible to create a strategy that will influence positive attitudes and behaviours. As the more tech-savvy generation, they need to be treated differently. However, bear in mind that the way we all use technology is constantly changing with external cultural and market trends. And that millennials are no exception. Nurturing talent is key, using the right technology to enable that process. Today’s entry level grads are tomorrow’s budding board level members.

Budgetary Constraints

One of the biggest blockers when it comes to transforming the workplace is budget. Organisations worldwide are facing similar constraints; end users are demanding a premium service, with budgets that don’t allow for it. It is therefore imperative to carefully consider which workplace technology makes the most sense for your business - and how to pay for it.

An ageing PBX on legacy infrastructure is a common scenario faced by companies cross-sector. In the short-term, utilising existing tech investments may seem like the most viable option; however, this in no way presents a future-thinking solution to a very real problem. By taking a phased approach, you can start by maximising what you have (where possible), work out your capability gaps, then move onto the innovation stage. This way you begin to digitally transform your business and realise the true value from your tech estate.

The right technology can enhance efficiency and streamline business process. It can also entice and help retain employees, minimise turnover, and increase job satisfaction. By balancing desired workplace technology with budget constraints, you can ensure you get the most bang for your tech buck.

88% of millennials prefer a collaborative vs competitive work culture, while 74% want flexible work schedules.

Forbes
What Millennials Want In The Workplace (And Why You Should Start Giving It To Them)

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Conclusion

The growth of cloud adoption in parallel to modern workplace culture demands indicates that the cloud market is still in early stages. Given its forecasted trajectory, the opportunity for digital transformation is huge - with the smarter organisations already getting a head start. By building out governance policies and streamlining cloud usage now, they’ll stay ahead of the pack and get maximum ROI from tech investment, while future-proofing the business with better security.

Whether planning to culture hack your way to improved customer experience, or identify your key worker types, deploying the right workplace technology will dramatically shape the dynamics of your culture. Look at your teams; who they are, the way they work, and their preferences. In doing so you have a greater chance of adapting to change, and boosting the impact of future technological innovation.

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