May 1, 2015
The adoption of digital technology enables new, more effective ways of working which can help improve employee engagement and agility, research by Gartner claims. However, the report also warns that it’s important employers establish a ‘business manifesto’ that communicates the intentions and motives of the emerging digital workplace if they want to communicate and implement the policy changes that are required. According to the analysts, the manifesto should guide and clarify corporate culture as well as help employees embrace new ways of working. Employers must bear in mind that while corporate culture can be strong at the core, it may be less so for remote employees. That is why it’s important to foster a healthy digital workplace that brings the corporate culture alive to all employees.
Matthew Cain, vice president and analyst at Gartner said: “The core principles and desired outcomes of a digital workplace need to be explained in plain language that reflects the culture and values of the organisation, while offering prescriptive guidance. The ‘digital manifesto’ is essentially a marketing vehicle to make the digital workplace actionable and real to all stakeholders.”
The manifesto should be aspirational in nature and should inspire employees to take action. It is complementary to other, more formal documents, such as the digital workplace vision, the strategic plan, the execution strategy or various detailed project management-related planning documents. The manifesto provides a way of communicating the broad goals of IT within the organisation, of which many employees maybe largely unaware.
Sample manifesto statements could include:
- Endeavour to ‘work in public’ — where projects, research and activities are available to anyone in the community or the organisation to spur awareness, collaboration and, ultimately, innovation, while respecting personal privacy.
- Continuously expand literacies — new media, information, technical, for example, to spur personal growth and help the company thrive in the digital economy.
- Create a sense of belonging and ownership through novel thinking and the use of employee-chosen devices, applications and other services to facilitate personal and organisational agility and effectiveness.
The manifesto needs to be in concert with existing workplace policies. Organisational change efforts for the digital workplace are extensive and Gartner recommends that organisations:
- Develop a common vision of the digital workplace, and make sure it is widely understood and has a consistent message.
- Convey the digital workplace message using a variety of communication approaches such as town halls, videoconferences and social media.
- Use peer advocates to translate the top-level vision into the specifics that enable stakeholder groups to engage and take action.
- Encourage leadership to embrace and demonstrate digital workplace values (lead by example).
More detailed analysis is available in the Gartner report ‘Create a Business Manifesto for Digital Workplace Success.’ This report is part of the Gartner Special Report ‘Boosting Workforce Effectiveness with a Digital Workplace.’