How tech will change the future workplace

Author and partner of Future Workplace Jeanne Meister highlights how enterprises can use technologies such as artificial intelligence and mobile apps to empower employees

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 16 March 2018
How tech will change the future workplace

This article first appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of The Record.

How can digital technologies help organisations better understand, and cater to, their employees’ needs and priorities?

A big trend is that companies are exploring how people use the best-in-class technologies in their personal lives and mirroring this in the workplace. For example, there’s been tremendous growth in companies creating their own enterprise app stores. Microsoft partner Cognizant Technology crowdsourced employees’ ideas to create its own store of more than 1,000 apps to handle multiple human resources (HR) processes, like submitting expense accounts or time sheets.

Next, I see companies experimenting with chatbots and artificial intelligence to reimagine the HR service centre into an employee experience service centre. Chatbots would be able to converse with employees to answer queries about topics like paid time off and maternity leave, or potentially provide mentoring and training.

What can companies do to attract and retain digitally savvy employees?

To attract people with digital skills, companies must promote the fact that their employees are able to access and use the latest digital technologies during their recruitment process. For example, we’re seeing more companies using video interviews to screen job candidates, which enables applicants to see that their potential employer is using the latest technologies. Senior executives are also using digital tools to change how they engage with their teams. We are seeing tools like Microsoft Teams replacing e-mail and Microsoft Skype for Business being used to convene global teams in meetings.

What inspiration can companies take from the way they’re using digital technology to redefine the customer experience to improve their employees’ work life?

Enterprises should consider their employees as consumers and aim to create the best possible ‘customer’ experience for their workforce. Often this involves developing a personalised, flexible and purposeful experience for employees, just as retail brands like The Wonderful Company has done.

How can enterprises empower employees for a digital workplace?

First, organisations must ensure that their employees have basic digital literacy so they can use all the technology and tools in the workplace. This could include all aspects of Microsoft’s Office productivity suite and any messaging platforms used inside the company. Second, companies need to understand that rolling out new technologies is a change management issue and provide necessary training to encourage employees to adopt them. Finally, all senior leaders must be role models and use the latest technologies to recruit, develop and engage employees.

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