The Digital Workplace: its impact on how we work

November 9, 2018 Richard Justenhoven

digital competencies

Stronger performance, empowered employees and responsive leadership

The workplace has become more digital – and more connected. We have a wide range of collaborative tools to use, access to ‘always on’ communication, more flexible working practices and a more regular use of cross functional and virtual teams.

This connectedness relates to the extent to which employees can engage with co-workers, customers and other stakeholders but also their access to information, knowledge, and ideas. With such connectedness, new working practices are being established. In addition, we see a more responsive leadership style being adopted and new competencies needing to be developed.

Nick van Meulen (formerly Assistant Professor in Information Management, University of Amsterdam) and his team there set out to investigate the business impact of these new digital working practices. They surveyed over 100 organisations and carried out interviews with nearly 70 executives.

The results
1. Stronger financial and customer service metrics
The researchers found that those organisations which had develop an integrated approach to connecting employees, tended to outperform their direct competitors in the areas of growth in market share, profit and employee satisfaction.

2. Empowered employees
The study also found that those organisations which had moved to empowering their employees and encouraging them to decide when, where and how to work, tended to be the high performing organisations. Such organisations foster new approaches to work and have a high tolerance for failure of new initiatives. They tend to be open to employee suggestions and offer continuous learning opportunities.

3. Responsive leadership
The research showed that high performing leadership teams are those that draw together people from different departments and functions. And such teams are also strong at articulating a clear vision of the company.

The need for trust – and a new set of competencies
The research emphasises that responsive leadership is needed to realise the benefits of the digital workplace and also requires a shift in mindset; it requires trust in employees. But it requires, we believe, more than a development of trust to make the new digital workplace successful. It requires key digital competencies as we have outlined in our Digital Competency Model. You can learn more on our website.

About the Author

Richard Justenhoven

Richard Justenhoven is the product development director within Aon's Assessment Solutions. A leading organizational psychologist, Richard is an acknowledged expert in the design, implementation and evaluation of online assessments and a sought after speaker about such topics.

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