Reshaping the World of Work
How future-forward organizations are transforming the employee experience
The Change Agent
The future of work blurs the lines between physical and digital environments. Employees expect employers to provide a seamless user experience where they can work from anywhere, on any device. But the journey to transforming the employee experience is beset with complexity.
Employee Experience Reimagined
Unprecedented, unpredictable and rapid change and disruption are here to stay. Organizations must be able to quickly sense and respond to stay relevant, compete and grow market share. In our reinventing world, organizations must embrace digital transformation to create new business models, new revenue streams and exceptional experiences for their customers. Organizations are using technology at scale to ignite innovation, automate processes and deliver insights that fuel growth. But the digital transformation journey is less about technology and more about people—in particular, the employees that power your business.
Advancements in technology have always influenced the way we work. From the steam engine to artificial intelligence, innovation has compelled organizations to adapt and change how work gets done. Now organizations must determine how to focus forward into a future-state workplace where a mix of office, remote and hybrid employees blurs the lines between physical and digital environments. How we work will never be the same; it’s just a question of how different it will be. Fueled by technology platforms like cloud, mobile and AI, organizations can adapt and reimagine how works gets done and, most importantly, how that shift impacts employees.
Organizations are forecast to spend nearly $656 billion on future of work technologies in 2021.1
Two-thirds of organizations expect to have some type of hybrid work model by 2022.2
For years, consumer brands have vied for our attention with promises of effortless customer experiences, a single click to buy, two clicks to return, alerts and ads personalized to our preferences, and the list goes on. Consumer experiences like these are raising employee expectations for the platforms and technologies they use at work. Fueled by the increase in remote work, employees view work as something they do rather than a place they go. Employees expect employers to provide a seamless user experience where they can work from anywhere, on any device.
To get there, organizations must overcome several hurdles:
- Complex ecosystems: The continuous convergence of IT processes, platforms and partnerships is difficult to navigate, and organizations often underestimate the complexity.
- Rigid work environments: Silos and monolithic applications based on legacy platforms create barriers to transform into a flexible, digital employee experience.
- Security, privacy and trust: Frictionless environments, where employees work from anywhere, on any device, greatly expand attack surfaces.
- Resistance to change: Most companies have organizational change management (OCM) programs focused on the technical aspects of change and transformation, but the people aspects and driving user adoption can be overlooked.
- Parity of experience: Balancing the technical needs of a remote, hybrid and in-person workforce requires thoughtful investments in technology that will enable inclusive collaboration, regardless of work location.
- Shifting market landscape: Technology’s increasingly vital role in delivering value to the business is transforming long-held buying behaviors, with decision-makers reevaluating vendor relationships and the procurement of IT and business services.
Future-forward organizations are seizing the opportunity to transform the employee experience. Successful transformations create digital workplaces that increase worker productivity, business agility and employee satisfaction.
What is a digital workplace?
The digital workplace is a cloud-based work platform that allows a business to fully operate in a virtual environment. The platform contains the applications, data and tools employees need to do their jobs both today and—most importantly—in the future. Applications and tools in the digital workplace range from email, instant messaging and collaboration tools, to core enterprise applications spanning HR and other business functions.
ServiceNow SVP of Employee Workflow Products Blake McConnell shares his insights on how organizations are adapting to the future of work.
What’s your opinion on the future of hybrid/remote work?
Blake McConnell (ServiceNow): According to ServiceNow’s 2021 Employee Experience Imperative study, which surveyed more than 3,000 employees at large enterprise companies in North America and Europe, 65% of respondents said they prefer a hybrid approach to work that includes digital and in-person interactions. With this move toward hybrid work, employees need choice and flexibility more than ever, accelerating the need for digital transformation. Organizations must evolve their business models and scale innovation across the enterprise to safely define the future of the workplace. And they must embrace digital platforms that enable seamless employee and customer experiences, no matter how or where work happens.
What do employers often overlook when it comes to deploying digital workplace technologies?
BM (ServiceNow): In a hybrid workforce, organizations need to be thoughtful about how people and places come together. The physical workplace can be used to create a better employee experience. As a result, the experience employees have with the workplace needs to be seamless and human-centric. For example, with many companies prioritizing desk hoteling over permanent seats in the new hybrid working environment, employees need to be able to easily make reservations for workspaces and rooms so that their time in the office can be focused on collaborating with colleagues and completing the work that matters most.
Blake McConnellSVP of Employee Workflow Products, ServiceNow
Organizations must evolve their business models and scale innovation across the enterprise to safely define the future of the workplace.
What are some ways organizations are adapting to the future of work?
BM (ServiceNow): Hybrid work has presented enormous opportunities and challenges for companies to do more with technology to drive productivity and engagement. Organizations are prioritizing solutions that simplify the way employees get work done, from anywhere. Collaboration apps, productivity tools and workflows are taking center stage.
Organizations are thinking about how an employee engages across departments for services, updates and information. This experience has often had too much friction, with siloed, manual processes and systems frustrating workers. Employees need a single place to navigate moments that matter from anywhere, at any time—whether they are interacting with HR, IT, facilities, legal or other teams. As a result, organizations are embracing unified service portals that allow employees to find personalized information, access applications, complete tasks, get help and make requests across departments—from anywhere and at any time.
Organizations are also prioritizing listening and learning in the flow of work. By capturing feedback at the time an employee is receiving help, completing a task or making a request, leaders can ask questions about specific moments in time or experiences. They can use this feedback to make updates to services and processes in real time, acting on employees’ needs more quickly and effectively. Forward-thinking organizations are also delivering learning opportunities directly to employees at the moment they need them, not months later.
TEKsystems leaders Dave Jackson and Brian Van Wyhe share their points of view on how reimagining the digital workplace presents a unique opportunity for organizations to create more effective operating models and more engaging employee experiences.
Carving Out the Future of Work
The COVID-19 pandemic challenged organizations in ways they never imagined. Lockdowns and restrictions forced organizations to deploy largely remote workforces to maintain productivity levels and business operations. What was driven by necessity now becomes an opportunity to become truly cutting-edge and shape the organization for the future of work. Transforming the digital workplace and reimagining how work gets done is the next step to sustaining and scaling digital transformation initiatives across the enterprise.
A unified digital workspace integrates technologies, tools, policies and platforms to create a collaborative ecosystem where the end user enables their workspace at any time, in any place, on any device. Digital workplaces must be built with the intention of simplifying the user experience with seamless experiences that keep your workforce engaged and productive. Reimagining the digital workplace is a lengthy and complex journey, but it presents a unique opportunity for organizations to create more effective operating models and more engaging employee experiences.
Transformation Requires Buy-In
Digital workplace platforms are costly and can impact all layers of the organization. They span everything from collaborative digital workspaces to the company’s health benefits dashboard. Implementations require a multiyear roadmap that accounts for multiyear investment commitments and clearly defined ROI and outcome expectations. It’s critical to build the right business case for change and secure buy-in from senior leaders and stakeholders early in the process. Close collaboration between IT and business stakeholders is essential to building a sustainable roadmap. Forming a small, inclusive steering committee of key leaders from the business, IT, human resources, communications and marketing ensures different voices are taken into consideration so the company can rally around a unified platform strategy.
Business transformation requires an ecosystem of partnerships. You need partners who can grow with you along the journey.Brian Van WyheExecutive Director of Digital Workplace Services, TEKsystems
Finding the Right Balance
The ubiquity of remote work demands that organizations improve and secure work-from-home connectivity. Expanding the perimeter and pushing devices to the edge requires a new way of considering security for an anywhere, on-any-device workforce. There must be a balance between enabling seamless access for the end user and keeping enterprise assets secure. Organizations must evaluate security strategies and policies, mind the gaps created by remote work, and follow through on addressing and fixing the disruptions. Organizations must continuously balance access with user security and privacy tolerances.
Accelerate Transformation with Streamlined Solutions
When organizations transform the enterprise through cloud migrations, new technology deployments or even strategic acquisitions, the technology frequently receives most of the thought and scrutiny. Take, for example, an acquisition; transferring legacy customer information may require millions of data lines to be migrated to your systems. The technical aspects alone are a massive undertaking. But what about your customers? The individuals behind the lines of data: who is helping them navigate the process? And your employees—are they getting the onboarding, training and support they need to be productive?
Organizations need active partners with the capability to manage these complex processes, create holistic solutions and deliver service excellence along every step of the journey. Ideally, your partner can build the network operations center (NOC) support necessary to sustain and address service desk needs while also coordinating off-hour security operations center (SOC) support to identify intrusions, anomalies and other events for troubleshooting and escalation.
Ultimately, it’s not the technology that defines success, it’s the people. Getting your employees up to speed on how to perform their daily tasks securely and efficiently is critical. These complex events require thoughtful partners who are flexible and agile enough to grow with you along the journey.
In fact, if your partners are not delivering business synergy and pushing you to create an environment that enables innovation and productivity, it might be time to rethink the relationship.
Managing employee expectations and changing behavior is just as important (if not more important) as how you manage the technology. Implementations frequently focus on the technology alone and overlook people and processes. Therefore, organizational change management is vital. If your entire workforce isn’t on board, your transformation slows to a crawl. It’s critical to understand how employees will be impacted, and to clearly and consistently communicate with them at every stage. If the technologies don’t work for them or communication isn’t clear, your tech-savvy employees will find their own tools that boost their productivity and make their lives easier. That introduces complexity, risk and division—exactly what you were trying to avoid. Delivering a digital workplace platform is part of the equation, but driving adoption before, during and after implementation is the key to realizing value from your platform.
Dave JacksonExecutive Director of Digital Workplace Services, TEKsystems
As IT and business continue to converge, it’s critical to take an ongoing enterprise view and build a unified, business-centric IT roadmap.
- Define your roadmap: Define your business case for change and then build a well-defined roadmap that will help break down the silos and connect the dots so you can transform the organization.
- Data-driven automation: Continuously feed knowledge and training into your AI platforms for future automated resolution of repeat issues. Automating processes and workflows enables bots, virtual assistants and effective user self-help tools to guide the end user through a seamless experience.
- Change management: Organizational change management is vital. It’s critical to understand how employees will be impacted and clearly and consistently communicate these effects to help drive user adoption.
- Hybrid by design: A hybrid workforce is a powerful model that’s here to stay. Be intentional about remote and in-person collaboration, leveraging technology that creates flexibility, agility and balance for your workforce.
- Be mindful of employee expectations: Employees expect their work environment to mirror their consumer experiences, with seamless access and personalized experiences. Optimizing the employee experience with personas based on role and preferences can help minimize disruption and improve the overall experience.
- Evaluate your partner ecosystem: Your technology partners must be capable to deliver solutions today and flexible enough to grow with you tomorrow. Ask yourself, “Do I have the right provider to truly transform my business?”
Mount Sinai Health System
Five billion people on the planet lack access to safe and affordable surgical care. That lack of care is responsible for upwards of 17 million deaths per year, meaning nearly 30% of the world’s population will die from diseases that are surgically correctible. Sustainable surgical care in underserved areas is frequently viewed as too expensive and complicated to undertake. The global surgery team at Mount Sinai Health System is looking to change that, with technology.
In 2019, the Kyabirwa Surgical Centre was built in a rural village near the equator in eastern Uganda. Linked to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, the facility is designed as a prototype of an independent, self-contained ambulatory surgical facility that can be replicated in other resource-poor and underserved areas. Using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist on Microsoft HoloLens 2, a mixed-reality headset and Microsoft Teams, surgeons at the Kyabirwa Surgical Centre consult with colleagues in New York on cases and even share real-time views from the operating room. The combination of Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, HoloLens 2 and Teams allows surgical teams that are separated by thousands of miles to collaborate hands-free in real time with mixed reality annotations as if they were in the same room.3 The teams are using technology to enable more efficient ways to share surgical knowledge. This method of virtual collaboration has helped Mount Sinai surgeons collaborate with their Ugandan colleagues and successfully treat more than 500 patients with critical surgical problems. And, in conjunction with the Mount Sinai Health System, doctors at the Kyabirwa Surgical Centre have diagnosed and managed upwards of 3,000 patients. The partnership demonstrates how people can use technology to impact change across the globe.All information shared herein was accessed from public sources as indicated.