Digital Workplace Strategies to Attract and Retain Top Talent

A Guide to Improving Digital Dexterity and the Employee Experience

Why Care about Digital Dexterity in the Workplace?

Digital workplace transformation is the implementation and integration of technology to bring people together in more productive and engaging ways, resulting in effective collaboration and rapid innovation. Digital dexterity is how people work in that digital workplace. Gartner defines digital dexterity as “the ability and desire to exploit existing and emerging technologies for better business outcomes.”

Digital dexterity means employees have the tools—and the knowledge to use them—to work more flexibly, creatively, and efficiently, resulting in an organization that is more agile, innovative, and profitable.

The Benefits of Digital Dexterity

In a digital workplace, every employee is a digital employee. Your organization’s level of digital dexterity has a direct correlation to how you:

  • Hire, onboard, and retain employees. Digital dexterity helps attract talent, and it is key to delighting existing employees.
  • Set up and manage working teams. Digital dexterity enables flexible and remote work and maximizes productivity by giving employees access to the most useful tools, meeting spaces and collaboration technology.
  • Encourage innovation and collaboration. Digital dexterity allows employees to work together and be creative while the technology remains invisible. Employees want to focus less on their tools and more on their ideas. In fact, 42 percent of millennials and 47 percent of Gen Xers say they would change jobs for a higher salary and a “more innovative environment.”

The Roles in a Digitally Dexterous Organization

Digital dexterity is important to every employee at an organization, and many departments play a role in delivering digitally rich collaboration experiences and achieving organizational digital dexterity. These include:

  • IT. CIOs are responsible for developing the infrastructure that enables a digital workplace. As Gartner points out, organizations that lack digital dexterity will fall behind.
  • Facilities and real estate. These teams can reduce space costs and optimize space use by driving digital workplace initiatives. There will be so many remote workers by 2021, according to Gartner, that organizations will be able to support 40 percent more employees in the amount of space as they currently use. Facilities teams must ensure the remaining space fosters employee engagement, teamwork, and collaboration.
  • Human resources. Finding top talent is a challenge for HR and hiring managers, but high-performing employees are 400 percent more productive than those who are average performers. Digital dexterity helps attract and retain talent because it enables the flexibility, creativity, and independent work.

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How to Create an Employee Experience That Will Attract and Retain Employees

Creating an exceptional employee experience means meeting employees’ most important needs and wants. Some of the job features employees value most are:

  • Flexibility. Employees value the ability to work when and where they want—even on the move. Such flexibility allows workers to better maintain a work/life balance. That flexibility can be encouraged within the walls of the workplace with personal workspaces and meeting rooms designed with flexibility in mind. It can also be achieved outside of the workplace by ensuring the technology employees use to remotely conference and collaborate with their teammates is seamless and user friendly.

96% of professionals say they need work flexibility, but only 47% think they have the flexibility they need.

  • Freedom. Employees don’t only want freedom of movement and scheduling, but they want the time and tools to do work they find meaningful—to innovate and share their ideas. They want the freedom to work how they want and to choose their own tools, and they want technology that allows them to innovate and collaborate freely. Tools like multimedia digital canvases for project visualization give teams the freedom to work without traditional limits. Solutions like Oblong’s Mezzanine integrate with Cisco Webex Teams to enable this ideal of agile enterprise collaboration.

77% of enterprise professionals said they are more likely to join or stay with a company that lets them
choose their own workplace devices.

  • Better technology. Employees want the great tech they already use at home. They wonder why digital assistants and other artificial intelligence that simplifies tasks aren’t available at the office. Follow the above tenets of flexibility and freedom—and combine them with streamlining and simplifying the technology user experience—to enable that same, frictionless agility and openness.

44% of employees think their workspaces aren’t smart enough.

Once you’ve attracted top talent, you also need to create exceptional employee experiences to retain them. Employees no longer hope to work for one company for decades. In fact, 60 percent of millennials say they are open to a job change.

The Elements of the Employee Experience

Improving employee experience is three-fold because your company culture, physical spaces, and work technology make up the employee experience:

  • Culture. As part of your broader company culture, it’s important to incorporate the spirit of digital dexterity. Employees value what a culture of digital dexterity can deliver: flexibility, freedom, and the most enabling technology. And it provides a frictionless user experience so that work and ideas can flow effortlessly, without interference from technology.
  • Spaces. Physical spaces should be allocated by type of activity to support the way employees want to work. Jones Lang Lasalle, a professional services firm that specializes in real estate management, categorizes workspaces in terms of whether they are used for brainstorming, thinking, or talking. They can also be thought of by the experiences they facilitate, with types of spaces including those for:
    • Collaboration
    • Concentration
    • Innovation
    • Socialization
    • Revitalization

Workers can find quiet when they need to focus, and they can easily find spaces equipped for brainstorming and discussion—even with remote employees. Also, equipping multi-purpose and shared-use spaces with the most commonly used technologies ensures employees can find space when they need it and can use it to do their most important work.

  • Technology. New and emerging technologies—like the latest HD video conferencing, cloud collaboration, data visualization, and presentation sharing tools—free employees from having to worry about the technical side of communication and collaboration. IT leaders create digital dexterity by providing communications and collaboration technologies that let employees focus on their ideas and work rather than details like getting the meeting started or sharing the content with remote colleagues.

Transform Meeting Rooms into Collaboration Spaces

Standardized, Intuitive Solutions Make Technology Invisible to Increase Engagement

Digital dexterity is important to today’s CIOs, but a Gartner survey reveals that only 18 percent of U.S. organizations have the digital dexterity to adopt the newest solutions—including mobile work and virtual collaboration tools—that will allow them to be agile enough to be competitive.

To create a digital workplace, many IT teams are tempted to implement digital solutions and hope or assume that employees will want to engage with and adopt them. However, the promise of technology that transforms the workplace only applies when employees buy in and adopt the technology.

So how do you improve employee engagement and retention? Don’t choose solutions then expect employees to adapt. Rather, focus first on your organization’s people—not the technology.

Considerations When Choosing Technology

  1. Consider how they want to work, then choose technologies that facilitate that. Start by giving employees input in the technology decision-making process. Ask them how technology fits into their workflow and involve them as beta users. You can collect user feedback from employees through a variety of means, but a voice of the customer survey will help identify both their challenges, wants, and needs.An especially effective way to choose the best solutions is to document use cases based on user functions or personas and use those workstreams to guide your technology roadmaps.
  2. Foster a culture of learning so that employees feel at ease with the technology. Foster an environment that encourages questions but doesn’t pressure employees. It’s ok that there is an expectation to learn the technologies but also an understanding that it’s ok to make mistakes. It also helps to allow employees to use the devices they prefer.
  3. Improve the user experience—and engagement—by modernizing meeting spaces and making technology invisible. This means implementing solutions that allow employees to get to work right away without a hassle. It also means choosing simple, intuitive user interfaces and single connections, but also getting more input from users. Many organizations with larger IT groups are even forming dedicated end-user experience (UX) groups to improve the user experience and overall employee experience.One of the most important steps you can take is to proactively prevent issues by integrating solutions with a technology monitoring and management system like AVI-SPL Symphony. Integrating monitoring and reporting systems that manage your conferencing and meeting systems is important so that you can track usage to make improvements that will improve the user experience.
  4. Provide a consistent experience. Standardize solutions so that employees have the same experience whether they’re using a desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, or meeting room solution. Avoid bias for one form of connection or application and allow users to decide what will make them more likely to successfully connect and collaborate. Carry these standards from room to room, location to location so that all users access communications and collaboration technology in the same way.
  5. Invest in mature conferencing and collaboration technologies for your meeting rooms. Ensure that these solutions work for employees and with other aspects of your organization. All your cloud, software, scheduling and reporting solutions, as well as physical equipment, should work together. Technologies of a digitally dexterous workplace should be:
    • Collaborative: Solutions should be easy for everyone to connect with, no matter their location.
    • Intuitive: Employees should find solutions easy to use without much more than brief introductory training.
    • Standardized: Solutions should provide a consistent user experience. For example, employees shouldn’t have to remember how to record a video conference in a meeting room since it should be the same way they do it at their office desk or even at home.
    • Accessible: The same kinds of solutions should be available to all employees regardless of department or title. This allows for better collaboration as well as better sharing of data.
    • Integrated: Solutions should work with other aspects of your enterprise to make it easier for employees to collaborate, generate reports, analyze data, and share output, without wasting a lot of time jumping from tool to tool, or requesting support.

The Impact of Implementing Intuitive Solutions

Enterprise companies are seeing that creating meeting facilities that are modern and easy to use increases employee satisfaction. This can lead to better employee retention and productivity. AVI-SPL commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study of its Digital Workspace Solutions, revealing that investment in meeting spaces and technology not only improves employee experiences (and therefore retention), but it has a measurable impact.

The TEI report—which compiles the study’s results into a composite, model enterprise organization—states, “Each year, the organization saves 122,500 hours because meetings start on time and due to more intuitive conference technology.” That benefits the company in more ways than one because meetings are more productive, and employees are also less frustrated and more focused.

Employee frustration is a sure way to impede productivity and harm morale. One study showed that 37 percent of employees said their company doesn’t provide enough training when they implement new technologies. That’s a sign that technologies may not be intuitive enough or that employee needs were not taken into consideration. Whatever the reason, a tool that is hard to use is not invisible. Rather, it’s a glaring obstacle to employee engagement and digital dexterity.

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How "Smart Spaces" and Collaboration Technology Enable Digital Dexterity

Deconstructing-the-Smart-Workspace

What does a digitally dexterous workplace look like? It is designed to feature multiple types of spaces designated for activity-based work. Employees feel accommodated and don’t need to worry about unwanted noise, interruptions, and the like when they work in a space designed for the kind of work they’re doing. The specific spaces can include:

  • Modern meeting rooms for collaboration
  • Huddle spaces for small, private meetings
  • Ideation spaces for creative thinking or problem solving</li style=”margin: 15px 0;”>
  • Quiet zones for distraction-free pursuits
  • Large group spaces like auditoriums and cafés for town hall meetings, trainings, or company communications
  • Messaging spaces with video walls or digital signage for keeping up with company communications and relevant trending social media content

It’s important to ensure that employees will have the room layouts and technology tools necessary to work in each of those spaces. Equip each space with the next-generation technology for its intended activity. Even unassigned spaces need communication and collaboration capabilities to enable agility beyond their ability to be reserved and scheduled as needed. With modern technologies, there is no need to wait to share information or have an urgent conversation.

The Right Technology for the Right Spaces

A culture of dexterity is also “smart.” IoT and smart technologies in meeting rooms—from proximity sensors to remote monitoring and management platforms—make collaboration even faster and easier. They allow you to book a room simply from a calendar application, find the nearest open room with the technology you need, track usage data to optimize space configurations, and get actionable analytics for future investments.

Other technologies you’re likely to see in a digitally dexterous organization include:

Some spaces are designed more for creating great employee experiences than for facilitating work. Spaces that support employee well-being and that may even offer personalized experiences include:

  • Soundscaped areas for an energizing, peaceful environment
  • Common areas like lounges or gyms for relaxation or personal time
  • Café areas for breaks, dining, and socializing

Planning for digital dexterity can be complicated—especially compared to the days when corporate employees were simply assigned their own desks with one kind of computer and one kind of phone. The strategy for designing the best employee spaces and outfitting them with the right technologies can be simplified with digital workplace solutions like AVI-SPL Smart Spaces. These solutions ensure that equipment is already configured and optimized for users. They all include a one-year service contract and organizations can choose the “as-a-service” model that includes not only the tech to outfit the space but ongoing AVI-SPL management of it. There is also the option to choose Rapid Rooms, which are designed to be installed within 45 days. Finally, a digitally dexterous organization may choose a managed services partner as a way to ensure technology solutions continue to offer a positive employee experience without disruption.

The Forrester report, The Total Economic Impact™ Of AVI-SPL Digital Workspace Solutions, explains that the customers they interviewed were able to reduce internal support teams by 60 percent when using AVI-SPL technology managed services, resulting in a 3-year savings of $622,389 (for the studied organizations).

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These Digital Strategies Help Companies Recruit and Retain Top Talent

Digital workplaces and digital dexterity sound great in theory, but how are they working in actual companies? There are many real-world examples of companies creating digital dexterity that supports the employee experience. Here are a few:

7-Eleven Improves the User Experience with Convenient, Integrated Video Collaboration Solutions
One of 7-Eleven’s goals for its Store Support Center in Texas was to save employees from wasting time when getting AV and collaboration technologies to work in their meeting rooms. Another goal was to impress employees with how well the company equipped them to do their jobs.

AVI-SPL integrated communications and video collaboration solutions that sped up and improved communication between teams. Harvey Dewitt, 7-Eleven market manager, said, “For example, it really helps us collaborate between departments by setting up meetings where we can share content with each other and we can address needs and identify opportunities to improve. You walk into a room, you just push one button, and you’re ready to go.”

Enbridge Energy Supports Employee Work Styles with Updated and Standardized Meeting Rooms

Enbridge Energy wanted to renovate their headquarters “to better accommodate the staff and the way they work,” says Amin Ladha, IT systems analyst for Enbridge.

Employees had struggled to find available meeting rooms, and when they found a room, they didn’t know what kind of technology was going to be in it. AVI-SPL helped Enbridge update and standardize solutions, particularly in meeting rooms.

The result is that employees are more productive and need less tech support. And the renovation has improved the employee work experience. “There’s been 80 percent positive feedback in terms of the experience of booking and using rooms,” Ladha said.

Atmosphere Commercial Interiors Gives Teams Control Over How They Work
Atmosphere Commercial Interiors renovated their spaces to give employees more choices and control over their work environment to support the kind of work needed to be done. They can opt for the space that is equipped with technology for the kind of work they’ll be doing at any given time.

The company made these improvements to not only make the employee experience better for their current employees, but to attract the right talent to their team.

ReadyCam Improves Executive Communication with Employees Through Video, Live Streaming
Companies are using video to connect with employees and keep them engaged. With younger workers valuing a culture of openness and frequent communication, more executives are holding interactive town hall meetings via video to be more transparent and engaging.

Without the need for crews and equipment to travel, some companies see the investment pay for itself within months.

Mezzanine Improves Workflows So Employees Can Focus on Collaboration, Innovation
Customers of Oblong’s Mezzanine—an immersive collaboration solution—saw internal workflows improve by about 20 percent. That jump in efficiency can result in better employee experiences, more satisfying work, and more time to work on what’s most important. Combine Oblong’s Mezzanine interactivity with Cisco’s Webex Teams, and you have an immersive, multimedia, free-flowing exchange of ideas with persistent chat and messaging to track multiple workstreams and projects at once.

Attract and Retain Employees with AVI-SPL Digital Workplace Solutions

As a strategic communications and collaboration technology partner, AVI-SPL will help you develop your technology strategy, then design, implement, and manage your digital solutions. AVI-SPL helps connect your digital objectives to the solutions that work best for your organization. As a global company and expert in user experience, AVI-SPL can create a standardized, intuitive experience, while keeping in mind your ROI.

AVI-SPL also ensures your technologies will be easy for both employees and IT by making them:

  • Standardized—Solutions provide a consistent user experience and are easy to implement across your organization.
  • Simplified—Solutions are compatible, integrated, and user friendly, as well as easy to learn and support.
  • Scalable—Solutions are easy to expand as your organization grows.
  • Serviceable—Solutions are easily managed, whether through remote monitoring or help desk support.

These standards contribute to a better employee experience by giving them the flexibility, freedom, and technology experience they want.

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