Sunday, May 14, 2017

Decipher the Ideal Digital Workplace & Workforce

Building an ideal digital workplace won’t happen overnight, and organizational structure optimization takes planning, experimenting and scaling up.

Compared to traditional industrial organizations running as a mechanical system, digital organizations are more like the living things which need to grow more organically and become more fluid to adapt to changes with self-renewal capabilities. In an ideal digital workplace, the organizational structure is solid enough to keep people or things in order; but fluid enough to keep information and idea flow. What are further perspectives to decipher the ideal digital workplace and nurture the creative and productive digital workforce?

Strengthen the PEOPLE link: One of the key determinants of whether an organization can move to new digital structures is the development level of the people. People are always the weakest link in organizations. So, part of the digital transformation journey is to prepare people for the new structures, and to recognize this is a crucial step. And this shift will also be supported by a new set of organization processes (talent management, IT, sales & marketing, performance development, etc). People have to be ready for moving to a more fluid structure. The digital ready people are those who can work independently, have excellent problem-solving skills, well-disciplined, have a "customer focus," and bring positivity and creativity to the workplace. In many digital laggards with a traditional business setting, businesses still treat their people as cost, headcount, or resource only. Thus, the overall employee engagement is very low in these organizations, and people fear to step out of the comfort zone and adapt to changes. They are not motivated to be innovators or change agents due to the culture of mediocrity. “Change inertia,” silo thinking, or other business frictions are the roadblocks to changes. These organizations are too heavy to flow and too inflexible to speed up. In an ideal digital working environment, self-motivated leaders, teams, and employees have the passion for making things happen, catalyze changes, streamline business transformation scenarios, build on organizational knowledge and respond to rapidly changing conditions effortlessly. These digital-ready leaders or employees are great in attitude, aptitude, and altitude - a winning mixture composed of character, intelligence, and competence, and bring the true innovation spirit and digital fluency to the workplace.

Empowerment - let capability shine: In an ideal digital workforce, empowerment is the mantra for developing a digital-ready workforce.' Empowerment' is very much a two-way street. To gain empowerment, teams or individuals need to earn the level of trust. Surely empowerment doesn’t mean to make people cozy or just softening their words. Empowerment is like respect and works both ways. Filter out the negative vibe and let the capability shine, and maximize the collective human potential. The organizations with the culture of empowerment will reap the benefits of knowledge workers who have self-actualized, the abundance of creativity via out-of-box thinking, and the amplified human capabilities. Digital management is responsible for enabling a collaborative, innovative, and productive working environment. Nurturing dissent and consideration rather than a relentless drive to achieve a single metric is the only way to move forward.

Engagement -A digital workplace inspires discovery, autonomy, and mastery. Due to the hyperconnectivity nature of the digital organization, the digital workplace will be shaped by changes that take place in the way people relate to themselves and to their experience of their environment and others around them, their voice can be amplified via social platforms, and their contribution can be recognized via holistic digital styles of talent/performance management. Performance and engagement go hand in hand. Performance is a result of how well a manager engages in developing an employee. Of course, the employee has to do his or her part of having the right attitude, skills, and willingness to participate in the development process. It is all about creating a strong relationship, understanding, reflecting, and driving performance. Or to put simply, performance is a byproduct of engagement. When one is so correlated to the other that with engagement, comes improved performance, and good performance. If measured effectively, it will demonstrate higher levels of employee engagement. The "work is what you accomplish, not where you go" shift is unstoppable, it will lead to greater autonomy and "self-generated" engagement.  

Building an ideal digital workplace won’t happen overnight, and organizational structure optimization takes planning, experimenting, and scaling up. The is no magic to cultivating a high-innovative and high-professional digital workforce as well, it takes open leadership, growth mindset, empathetic understanding, collective wisdom, and lining up on common business goals to achieve. Under such a working environment, quality is rewarded, and human potential is unleashed.


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