Yesterday, the Smarter Change Network met in Malmö. The event was hosted by Malin Grundström at Elfa International while Stina Berggren, Regional Business Director at Atea, provided inspirational insights. The network is made up of leaders with a focus on HR and competence development.
The event was all about the impact of the digital workplace. New technology has brought a wave of change in how we work both on our own and with co-workers. Microsoft’s new Office 365 suite is about to usher in even more new opportunities. But it’s unfortunate that the digital workplace is usually driven more by technological breakthroughs than employee needs and behaviour. It’s time for the HR department to step up. We have to get our heads around how technology is driving new behaviour that competes with current company culture and work habits.
The network agreed that the impact of the digital workplace is business critical and that successfully implementing new technology comes down to one thing: leadership.
Your leaders will determine how smoothly people transition to new work habits. Cultural barriers and ingrained behaviour must be identified and taken seriously. Many in the network shared stories of implementing new software that never reached its potential. Learning from these missteps is critical – we’re in the midst of a workplace upheaval on a scale we haven’t seen since the computer revolution of the early 90’s.
The network came up with a few key ways to ensure success in the digital workplace:
Make time to understand your leaders.
Find out what drives them, what they fear about new ways of working, how they feel about increased transparency and knowledge sharing, their attitude towards digital tools, etc.
Get your leaders to loosen the reins.
The need for control is often a barrier to development. Help your leaders see the value of putting more decisions in the hands of employees. A leader no longer has to be the one with all the answers in a more openly collaborative workplace. Let them be the first to try out new tools. Describe good examples in business terms. The ones who dive right in are the leaders you want to put at the forefront.
Leaders must spearhead a shift in how we hire.
The most important qualities when looking for new employees today are talent and a willingness to change. The only thing we know for sure is that things are changing fast and show no signs of slowing down. An impressive CV doesn’t reveal how adaptable and driven to learn a person is. And those are qualities you’re going to need to unlock the potential of the digital workplace.