HR policies to encourage a digital workplace

In my previous posts on the digital workplace I have covered ‘Must have digital workplace principles’, ‘5 steps to a great digital workplace strategy’, 7 ways to engage people in a digital workplace and 4 factors critical to good governance in a digital workplace.

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 becomes the natural way of working so everyone is more productive and your organisation more efficient with:

  • people work from any location as well as their office workstation
  • IT infrastructure for the same or similar experience
  • everyone can read news, collaborate, search and complete tasks
  • individuals choosing tools – RSS, mobile, etc. – that help them
  • organisations measure benefits and encourages digital workplace

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

HR policies

It is vital that Human Resources policies encourage digital working.  It needs to create the culture where the behaviours typically found with digital working are in place.  This can be achieved in a variety of ways.


Your business needs engaged people working to achieve their own, team and overall business goals.  HR policies must help engage everyone more to the business.  This can be achieved by:

  • allowing access to social network tools like Facebook and Twitter.  Policies balance risk with rewards of engaging and sharing knowledge.
  • having a new ideas scheme to encourage suggestions for improvements to the business and rewarding successful ideas.
  • building a more informal, less hierarchical structure and management style so any individual feels they can approach any person to ask for help or offer helpful advice.
  • encouraging feedback.  Individuals should feel confident they can raise contentious but relevant issues and get a helpful response that takes their views seriously.  People should not need anonymity, neither should the ‘career limiting question’ apply.
  • treating everyone as responsible adults and trusting they will behave online accordingly


What’s in it for me?  That’s a typical response to any policy decision made especially when it is an HR policy affecting many people.  Employees need to see digital working as beneficial to them.  This can be achieved by:

  • recognising positively their move to a digital workplace
  • rewarding them for moving to a digital workplace
  • incentivising (by recognition and/or reward) knowledge sharing using digital workplace tools
  • performance framework rewards outputs not time spent in an office
  • having a simple set of guidelines saying what can be said (nothing slanderous, etc) and encouraging this behaviour by applying a common sense approach

Working styles

People need to be encouraged to work in a digital workplace.  This can be done in a variety of ways:

  • paying for their furniture and phone/internet connection at home
  • making sure they have a laptop/ipad/smartphone so they can be in connected to their digital workplace and when travelling on business
  • training managers to manage employees remotely.  Just because they are out of sight doesn’t mean they are not working effectively!  A facilitating rather than directing management style will help.
  • flexible working hours to fit a sustainable work/life balance
  • having confidence their personal information is secure while being accessible from any locations with correct permissions

My next post will cover the IT infrastructure needed for a digital working.

One response to “HR policies to encourage a digital workplace

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

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