The Innovation Gap: When Workplace Technology Can't Keep Up

The Innovation Gap: When Workplace Technology Can’t Keep Up

A recent college grad with a wealth of potential and entrepreneurial spirit waits in the lobby of your business. She’s ambitious, she’s skilled, and she’s a team player. She checks all the boxes for the job she’s interviewing for. You want her to work for your company.

She’s idly scrolling on her phone while she waits. She wears a smart watch. Her wireless earbuds peek out of her bag. You watch as she unlocks her phone simply by looking at it, and quickly makes a purchase in under a minute. She receives a notification that a package waits for her at home.

She lives inside of a digital workplace that offers millions of apps for her individual needs, personalized interface, and integrations at every turn.

When you turn back to your office floor, what do you see?

The candidate in the lobby completed at least 3 tasks in the span of 30 seconds with her phone. Can your employees do that with the digital tools you’ve given them? Can you offer that girl the same experience at work as she gets daily from her personal technological experiences?

That’s the million-dollar question. For many companies, the answer is a resounding NO.

“You can start your car in the airport parking lot from the tarmac and talk to a mail carrier delivering a package through a home security device. But when you start a new job, you get a 3-year-old laptop and a desk, and are expected to be productive. It doesn’t make sense.”

David Maffei, President and Co-Founder of Akumina

Some might argue that the digital workplace isn’t all that important. They focus on the physical workplace, and perks. They point to research around workplace culture, office perks, flexible work hours, benefits, and others. They say that these are the drivers of employee satisfaction. The invest time and capital in these areas. But the gains are minimal. Why?

“There’s plenty of research that proves that happy employees are more productive… The most powerful source of happiness at work isn’t money, free food or recognition, but rather getting things done; making progress every day toward work that we know is important.”

Forrester Principal Analyst David K. Johnson

Ultimately, productivity is the key. It’s the be all and end all to employee satisfaction, retention, and employment advocacy. (Never underestimate the power of the Glassdoor review).

So how do you make the transition from a traditional, less than helpful digital workplace to the ones that delight and enhance productivity? Think big, start small, act fast.

Think Big

Planning is critical. Get your stakeholders together to learn what they need, decide on a budget (and budget owner), and do your user research. Once you’ve got a larger overall strategy, then you can plan your iterations.

Start Small

Iterative development is not just for software. It’s a useful approach to any large project. When you’re planning to implement a digital workplace, start by creating an intranet, but build it on an employee experience platform that will allow you to grow and evolve.

Act Fast

Make small changes quickly, test, and innovate. Continue that cycle until you’ve got an MVP 1. The do it again for your MVP 2. Before you know it, you’re in a routine and making bigger and bigger strides.

Go for it! Build your company a digital workplace that will win over that candidate in the lobby, and all of her fellow candidates. Make good digital workplace choices now, and enjoy the benefits for years to come.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Give us a shout. We’ve helped companies like ING, Principal Financial, Banner Health, and the Boston Red Sox build their digital workplaces. We’d love to build yours too.

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