Tuesday, 26 June 2018

#EntDigi #DWX18 Dion Hinchcliffe on Digital Workplace Experience

I've seen Dion Hinchliffe present four times over the last week weeks - at London's Enterprise Digital and then Chicago's Digital Workplace Experience - all great, insight-ful sessions. Here are some notes and reflections - keep in mind that these come from four sessions, so please forgive the length of the post!

One interesting point was an acknowledgement that IT tends to be in charge of digital but is least prepared to deal with the core aspect of all of this which is the people side, especially in the digital workplace's collaboration systems. Which is why I suggest HR needs to take a leading role in digital transformation.

However, Dion also suggested that the social organisation is great but digital has to be about business outcomes and how work gets done as this designs adoption in from the start. Which I disagree on - focusing on lead outcomes vs just lag impacts provide a much greater basis for adding and creating value. The Social Organization is a core opportunity to create a digital workplace.

The platform doesn't matter that much. We have over-invested in technology which tends to become a religion. And makes it likely that we have not been designing for the employee experience. If you are implementing ERP or CRM solution you get 100% adoption from day 1. This does not happen with the digital workplace - you need usability too.

And even adoption doesn't matter that much. Any good HR officer will say 10% of the organisation delivers 90% of the benefits. Many of them do, but it's nonsense. Or if it's the case, you've got a rubbish organisation design and your organisation need to be 10% of the size and use a lot more outsourcing. But it is generally nonsense, and misses the role of social talent who help other people contribute, as well as the importance of the overall social fabric of the organisation which is so central to digital business.

It is who you have involved and what they do that matters. We try and do everything ourselves vs letting the network do the work. Yes, we need to be much better at using networks, and yes, a small number of people can be particularly significant within a network (eg Innovisor's 3% rule). But that still doesn't mean you only want 3 or 10% of people to adopt your digital platform.

Workforce engagement is the real opportunity and there is lots of evidence that technology can improve engagement. Key opportunities include getting paid, industrial scale manageability, a great environment, voice, and autonomy. However, organisations tend to focus on the technology rather than focusing on the harder factors - people, culture etc. We've learned that putting employee experience at the centre leads to success. For example Bosch have totally overhauled 25 core business practices around social networks, providing a 25% time saving.

I also liked Dion's example from Accenture where the CEO sees his main job as enabling the top 100 moments for 500 thousand workers by providing light weight experiences for them.

With this perspective, the digital workplace is leading to new ways to manage and work, such as Holocracy (although hopefully not this itself, as I explained in my own session).

Organisations are also starting to use communities and networks rather than centres of excellence to break down silos (in The Social organization, I call these communities and networks of performance). Eg centres of excellence tend to get bogged down after about a year.

Communities and networks can take a new thing, eg collaboration, analytics, etc, and bring together relevant experts to provide a highly concentrated  set of capabilities and make the organisation go faster.  They can then capture what's been learnt and spread more broadly through resources, frameworks, etc. These are better than the project model for many different things. Over time, these capabilities can become a shared service.

Digital workplace is a good example as it often lies at the bottom of a CIO's priorities and it can't cut in line. The line of business will see it as just another tool. So a community of excellence provides a new model for getting it introduced.

However this model often breaks for the same reason that other things break which is that it's not open to inclusion, eg vs open sources etc. When something is open, more people can participate. So instead, some organisations are introducing global solution networks to unite sometimes thousands of digital change agents achieve the same task through the network. 

This above shift also requires new management capabilities, including community and complexity management.

And it provides a balance between a typical and uncontrolled approach to technology with the prevalence of shadow IT. An optimal, dynamic design for digital workplace technology allows the business / employees to experiment openly and for the organisation's collaborative technology to compete with new and different systems, with everyone sharing in important discoveries.

But all of this requires a better focus on what we're trying to accomplish - employee journey mapping does not have technology in it. This is about developing the employee experience, using approaches like design thinking to understand common pain points, of late as well as early adopters,  and develop an integrated digital experience based on outcomes.

I think that's correct, though once again I think social outcomes rather than what I'd call business impacts should be a focus of digital workplace. In fact in my own session, I suggested that we should focus on organisational strategy / outcomes in preference to business strategy / impacts.

I also suggest if we're really interested in developing empathic approaches to meeting employee needs and building a positive employee experience that actually the whole design process needs to start with the employee needs. Ie we should design our digital workplaces (as part of the broader organisation) based on these two equally important starting points - the organisation's desired outcomes, and the employees' needs as well.

(See my presentation at the Chicago conference)

I also think that's how you get to Dion's suggestion that the business and employee experience / the digital workplace need to be one and the same:

Eg our KPIs should matter to the business, and relate to capabilities employees want.

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