In services organizations, people make the difference. Do yours?

Profile picture for user Thomas Staven By Thomas Staven June 10, 2015
In services organizations, people make the difference. Do your workplace systems support diversity? asks Unit4’s Thomas Staven

colourful people icons © andreusK – Fotolia
The intake of digitally advanced Millennials is a great thing for employers but at the same time is creating the most diverse workforces we have ever seen. There is a big divide between people’s digital abilities and willingness to embrace a new way of working.

What the smartest companies understand is that technology and great systems can help organizations cultivate the right culture and bring together a diverse workforce without pushing the boundaries of expectation.

Millennials and new technology necessitate change

Technology and digitalization has blurred the lines between what have traditionally been our working lives and completely separate home lives.   We are online 24/7 and available anywhere through tablets and smart phones. We are moving from a traditional working day to working more flexibly to suit commitments outside of work.

The Millennial generation has a lot to do with this. They are having a very positive impact on the world of work and turning the tables on traditional workplace values. The Millennial Impact Report recently evidenced that Millennials enjoy having more independence when it comes to their work environment, whether that’s flexible hours or the ability to work from home – 74 percent of those surveyed by The Intelligence Group said they want flexible work schedules.

While organizations require their fresh ideas, enthusiasm and technical expertise, Millennials in turn have brought with them a set of expectations. There is less focus on the number of hours worked and more on the quality of that work. There is no longer a line between home and work life but an understanding that we have to work smart in return for access to clever systems and new levels of flexibility. Millennials understand this way of working. They expect it.

What businesses need to ensure is that the gap between Millennials and everyone else is bridged. Leaders must create a culture where the new generation is encouraged and understood while creating an environment they can prosper in working across teams and across generations.

The best companies with the best people have the best technology

Advancement of simple to use digital technology and tablets in the home has made our lives easier, and created a more level playing field cross-generation when it comes to technical ability. What we still find, however, is that accessing work systems outside the office is often painful. While technology has advanced, the way technology is utilized in the workplace has a long way to go and is often the reason we spend more time working than we have to.

For many of us, work is an integral part of our lives. Integral to us achieving personal goals and providing fulfilment. That does not mean we want to spend hours completing unnecessary and tedious tasks or trying to find information that should be readily available. One of the main reasons people put more hours into work than is necessary is that we still haven`t fully embraced the possibilities digitalization can provide. Technology has a huge opportunity to deliver positive experiences that will help more people achieve fulfilment in their working lives.

Digital advancement doesn’t mean having access to email and digital documents outside the office through a laptop, tablet or smart phone. By implementing true digital processes throughout the organization, you can eliminate hundreds or thousands of hours your employees spend on unnecessary tasks and the never ending hunt for information.

By adopting social collaboration concepts and building engaging environments for sharing relevant information in an easily readable and contextual format, you can avoid people having to scan endless chains of emails or different intranets or file servers to find information. By implementing proper digital solutions to run complex processes like budgeting and forecasting and resource and project management, and delivering online self-service reporting, the need for complex Excel sheets that only a handful of people in the organization can understand is removed.

Analytics will drive digitalization for a diverse workforce

By proactively delivering the information employees need when they need it, the less time they waste and the more informed they will be. Analytics is a great driver for this. When we apply certain predictive patterns, embracing machine learning and analysis on top of regular business processes, we can take away an enormous number of hours spent on tasks that produce little or no value at all. Where processes are repetitive, people only need to be involved by the system where anomalies occur that are exceptions to the norm.

At Unit4 we`re working hard to make self-driving enterprise systems a reality. To provide diverse organizations with the right digital solutions to enable them to work smarter and more efficiently. Let’s take our lead from millennial expectations of the digital workplace. People deserve better than constantly battling through email and spreadsheets. The organizations that truly embrace digital will be the first to instil a winning culture. They will help their people find the right level of effectiveness. It’s time for a change.

Image credits: People icons © andreusK – Fotolia.