Tips for CEOs to drive successful digital workplace strategy

Tips for CEOs to drive successful digital workplace strategy

Digital workplace strategy is “the collection of all the digital tools provided by an organisation to allow its employees to do their jobs, foster collaboration, innovation and flexible working”. Based on a survey of 500+ regional and country CEOs in Asia, the Economist Corporate Network (ECN) reported that 47 per cent of CEO’s claimed to be actively driving digital workplace strategy, suggesting scope for more CEOs to take an active role.

According to the survey, CEO’s regard a digital workplace strategy as, most importantly, a means to transform the business from within and to increase productivity. Interestingly boosting employee engagement and managing talent more efficiently appear to be less important factors. This could be a consequence of businesses prioritising the digitisation of customer-facing operations over the employee experience in the workplace.

The employee experience is also a fundamental consideration when planning a digital strategy. Technology today enables greater flexibility for when and where your employees work, in real-time and across geographical locations. Employers must consider how staff engagement can be optimised with technology, to facilitate increased productivity in the workplace.

In order to more effectively attract and retain top talent, employers should place emphasis on creating an attractive workplace; one which promotes innovation, information sharing and working collaboratively. Technology, or the lack of, that hinders productivity can have an adverse effect on a workforce and a company’s overall performance.

Meanwhile, finding the right balance between the traditional and digital is essential for employers to foster a cohesive working environment between a connected mobile generation and those that bring a traditional skill set. As the ECN report found that 50 per cent of CEO’s utilise social media to engage with employees, the CEO focus groups also believe that face-to-face conversations, as well as events like town halls and internal corporate get-togethers should not be banished as outdated.

Here are 5 tips for a successful digital workplace strategy:

1. Drive & communicate: Implementing a vision of a digital workplace strategy requires a CEO to be clear in their message. They should also delegate less and drive more. Care should be taken to craft and communicate the message that a digital workplace strategy is an enabling tool for employees working towards a shared corporate vision.

2. Digitise, but don’t lose the balance: Although much can be done via digital platforms, human interactions should not be removed completely. Encourage managers of remote teams to speak on the phone regularly and maintain a pattern of face-to-face contact at various points of the year – particularly during appraisals. In addition, equip them with management training and tailored frameworks for managing remote workers in terms of conflict management, recognition and motivation.

3. Harness workforce data: Incorporating workforce data into your digital strategy will give you the ability to view your organisation’s talent pool from an analytical perspective. The benefit of mining such data for MNCs, in particular, can bring the business much closer to managing global talent pools. Analysing workers, tasks and projects could become an essential component of developing local talent and boosting productivity in emerging markets.

4. Manage expectations of a digital culture: Technology has blurred the lines between work and personal life and a 24/7 attitude towards when and where work tasks are carried out. On the plus side, it enables greater flexibility for a work-life balance. But it can also be a risk. While a device is never far from reach, it can be difficult for someone to refrain from responding to a late night email or an IM from a colleague in another time-zone. To avoid added stress and employee burnouts, ensure your culture is fair and encourages downtime.

5. Don’t ignore social media: The ECN found 70% of CEOs think it’s important for them personally to be using social media. Social media is ubiquitous and increasingly the primary form of communication between people within and outside of the workplace. CEOs need to use social media to avoid becoming out of touch and detached from their workforce.


This article was originally published on Hays.


Further reading: 

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