7 ways to engage people in a digital workplace

In my last three posts on the digital workplace I have covered ‘Must have digital workplace principles’ then focused on the first principle ‘5 steps to a great digital workplace strategy’ and lastly ‘Create a brilliant digital workplace with me’.

To have a successful digital workplace (my definition is ‘work is what you do, not where you go to’) organisations must have the right strategy, culture, environment and infrastructure to exploit the benefits fully. It needs to become the natural way of working so everyone is more productive and your organisation more efficient with:

  • people working from any location (or mobile) rather than their office workstation
  • IT infrastructure for the same or similar experience wherever someone uses the digital workplace
  • everyone able to collaborate, search, complete tasks as well as read the latest news
  • individuals choosing tools – RSS, mobile, etc. – that help them
  • organisations measure the benefits and encourage you to use the digital workplace

Follow these ‘must have’ principles including strategy, engagement, governance, HR policies and IT infrastructure and you will have a great digital workplace.

I’m going to cover how people need to be engaged for a digital workplace to be successful.


It is absolutely critical to your organisation to have people working who are fully engaged.  They are satisfied with their roles, happy with their work and their colleagues and look forward to working each day.  If not then the costs of lost productivity and extra time spent managing for the same or less output can be horrendous.

There are two audiences you need to engage:

  • For the success of your strategy: your stakeholders
  • For the ongoing success of the digital workplace: everyone


You have to engage the people who will have biggest influence on your strategy and who will be affected the most.  These are your stakeholders.  They will represent the key functions of the organisation that are either the first priority and/or the biggest factor in whether it succeeds or fail.

Your stakeholders need to buy-in to your digital workplace strategy at the decision making level of your organisation.  You need to communicate clearly and timely what their involvement will be.  They won’t want any nasty surprises – just nice ones!

This is a similar approach to how stakeholders are engaged for successful SharePoint 2010 implementations.


How do you get everyone to be comfortable with a digital workplace?  You need to make sure the ideal culture for a digital workplace is in place or planned for before you start.  There are seven factors you need in place for this to work:

  1. Everyone who will benefit is able to adopt this new way of working.  Some may already be working like this, some partly and others planning to.
  2. There is enthusiasm for working in a digital workplace.  It is seen as something positive, that people will want to do and be envious of those who already can.
  3. The culture in your organisation is strong on ‘doing things online’ so individuals can carry out their normal work tasks in a digital
  4. You are encouraged to share knowledge to help anyone in your organisation no matter where their location is or time zones they normally work in.  You may also be incentivised to do this.
  5. You can easily use the tools with no or minimal training to collaborate and share knowledge.
  6. Policies and processes that encourage everyone to use the digital workplace and don’t restrict innovation.
  7. Individuals can easily move from a physical location where they regularly meet their work colleagues to remote locations without feeling isolated because the digital workplace tools help to avoid this.

Applying this approach helps to create a buzz around the organisation for digital working.  People feel envious of those who have started.  There is impatience for everyone to benefit.

Organisations start to see improved productivity and levels of service, processes streamlined and absentee rates dropping.

In my next post I will cover how governance is another ‘must have’ principle for a successful digital workplace.

5 responses to “7 ways to engage people in a digital workplace

  1. Interesting and well written.

    I noticed you have a similar approach like Jane McConnell , NetStrategy/JMC

  2. Pingback: Monday is… Intranet Knowledge Sharing Day! | Intranet Connections Blog

  3. Pingback: 4 factors critical to good governance in a digital workplace « Mark Morrell

  4. Pingback: HR policies to encourage a digital workplace « Mark Morrell

  5. Pingback: Monday Is… Intranet Knowledge Sharing Day | Intranet Connections Blog

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