How a digital workplace can engage people

In my last two posts on the digital workplace I talked about how you need a strategy with a governance framework to help you create a great digital workplace.  In this post I want to cover how a digital workplace can help the engagement of people working in your organisation.

Encourage

It is vital your Human Resources policies encourage and make it easier for you to work in a digital workplace.  You need a culture where the values include sharing of knowledge, openness, and trust.

You need policies that help encourage you achieve your own, your team and overall business goals.  You need to show how the digital workplace helps engage everyone more to the business.  This can include:

  • Allowing access to social network tools like Facebook and Twitter.  Common sense policies balance the risks with the rewards of engaging and sharing knowledge and help with people in your organisation and with other organisations with a similar interest or problem.
  • Having a new ideas scheme to encourage your suggestions to improve your business and recognising and rewarding you for successful ideas.
  • Building a more informal, less hierarchical structure, and management style so you feel you can approach any person (no matter what their seniority or role is) to ask for help or offer helpful information and advice.
  • Encouraging feedback.  You should feel confident you can raise contentious but relevant issues and get a helpful response that takes your views seriously.
  • Treating you as a responsible adult and trusting you will behave online accordingly,

Recognise and reward

What’s in it for me?  That’s a typical response to any policy decision made especially when it is an HR policy affects you.  You need to see how digital working benefits you.  This can be achieved by:

  • Recognising positively your move to a digital workplace e.g. making sure team meetings become team calls with you staying at home
  • Incentivising your knowledge sharing using digital workplace tools e.g gamification, measuring your activity with blogs, wikis, discussion group comments
  • Performance framework rewarding your output not your time spent working in a physical or digital workplace e.g quality of work not just quantity
  • Having simple guidelines saying what you can say (nothing slanderous, etc) and encourage the right behaviours through a common sense approach e.g. gentle reminders not formal disciplinary action.

Working styles

You should be encouraged to work in a digital workplace.  This can include:

  • Paying for your equipment (desk, chair, etc.) and your phone/broadband service from home.
  • Making sure you have a laptop and/or tablet and/or smartphone so you can connect to your digital workplace when you need to.
  • Training managers to manage employees remotely.  Just because you are out of sight doesn’t mean you are not working effectively!  A facilitating rather than directing management style helps.
  • Flexible working hours to fit a sustainable work/life balance e.g. not 09:00 – 17:00 but maybe split to fit yours and your organisation’s needs.
  • Having confidence your personal information is secure and always available whenever you need it with the right permissions.

Please contact me if you need my help or leave a comment on this post.  My next post will cover how your digital workplace can make you more productive in your organisation.

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