We’re halfway through 2017, and in four critical ways technology has already advanced the world of work.
With the rise of mobile apps, social data, tech-savvy managers, and digital workplaces, organizations are navigating new waters. Yet as always, behind shiny new devices and tell-all numbers, people remain key. Companies must continue to show investment in their employees in order to thrive in this evolving business environment.
Following are four technology trends that are reshaping the workplace this year, plus four ways to leverage these trends to support and inspire employees.
1. Apps Invade Corporate Software
Companies anxious to grasp mobile devices are finally finding responsive, smart solutions. Stuck with bad software for too long, business leaders are beginning to implement targeted solutions that make people more productive.
The idea is to enable input and feedback in ways that feels familiar to employees; the average American, for instance, spends 3.15 hours daily on a mobile device. Mobile apps provide employees with an ease-of-use that drives workforce effectiveness.
Leverage this: Speed up your talent acquisition processes with on-the-go capabilities. Using mobile apps, recruiters can manage critical tasks of the recruiting process – such as keeping tabs on active requisitions, pending tasks, and candidate pipelines – while also logging new leads. Hiring managers can check their to-do lists and review candidates while on the go. Recruiting teams can also leverage mobile technology to plan and maximize events, such as reviewing invites, capturing leads, and providing instant feedback.
2. Millennial Leaders Assert Themselves
Millennials have passed up Generation X as the largest share of the workforce. They’re now business leaders, and they don’t want to emulate the styles of older senior leaders. Younger managers – and managers overseeing millennials – are demanding a consumer-quality work experience.
But there’s more: They want a tight fit between their business processes and the technology that serves it. Millennials, also known as the smartphone generation, want to be connected and informed. The average adult checks their phone 30 times a day, whereas the average millennial checks their phone more than 150 times a day. Millennials believe that digital technology helps create a competitive advantage, and they welcome tools that enable innovation and collaboration. Give them the tools they’ll utilize, such as the mobile apps mentioned above.
Millennial leaders also desire mobility – and not just in their devices. Perhaps due to their ever-evolving digital environment, they are comfortable with change, and they value wide-ranging learning opportunities.
Leverage this: Ditch the corporate ladder and build a corporate lattice. Removing hierarchical layers appeals to adaptable young leaders who don’t necessarily demand a clear vertical career trajectory. Instead, provide internal mobility opportunities that allow aspirational millennials to explore different interests within your organization. And as companies continue to move toward collaborative, cross-functional, and globalized teams, mobility will only become more valuable.
3. Social Data Arrives
General ledgers are trapped in the past. Today’s balance books should move beyond simple transaction data to include figures related to social behavior.
However, organizations are struggling to define engagement, identify key influencers, and lean into the social interactions for company good. Social data remains elusive: Just 8 percent of organizations believe they’ve collected usable data, and only 9 percent think they understand the talent factors that impact performance.
Acquiring useful social data first demands a culture of listening.
Leverage this: Keep a finger on the pulse of your workforce. Try establishing an employee portal where workers can build profiles, share projects, receive feedback, and connect with peers. An employee portal allows you to capture information about the ways that employees interact with their colleagues and their workspace.
Mentions, shares, and searches may seem immaterial, but they all help paint a clearer picture of what matters to employees. This enables you to engage more intelligently, such as by sending targeted content and new employment opportunities.
4. Digital Workplaces Alter Traditional Teams
It’s time to make way for more connected, more agile teams.
Technology enables organizations to engage employees in new ways by creating digital workplaces that alter how people relate to each other at work. Employees are empowered to learn quickly and on their own terms.
Forty-hour workweeks in the office are quickly becoming bygone, as talent within the gig economy favors freelancing, telecommuting, or flextime working. This dynamic way of working requires a refreshed approach to talent management.
Leverage this: Choose performance management technology that creates space for growth-oriented mentorship conversations between employees and their managers. In the midst of a more nimble working environment, leaders should focus on hands-on guidance and consistent feedback. As part of the ongoing conversations with employees, leaders should keep tabs on employees’ evolving career interests and opportunities for growth or mobility within the company.
Gain an Edge by 2018
With so many advancements in technology, the biggest change in 2017 is how we lead our companies. Organizations seeking to stay ahead must operate differently. If the digital age is defined by disruption, then the new organization is defined by learning. Successful companies share common practices: observant analytics, constant reevaluation, and readiness for change.