Workers increasingly expect a consumer-like experience in the workplace, as WorkHuman 2017 speaker Jeanne Meister outlined in her guest post a few months back. From initial hire through onboarding and continuous development, cutting-edge, easy-to-use technology continues to be at the center of a positive work experience. HR and/or IT groups are often responsible for introducing and integrating these new technologies into the greater organization.
How tech-savvy is your company today? Are there areas for improvement? Are you curious which technology categories are being adopted more rapidly than others, and which benefits they provide?
Gartner offers an excellent overview of the landscape of the digital workplace in the recently released report, “Hype Cycle for the Digital Workplace, (July 2017).” Here are some high-level, interesting trends from the report:
- Human augmentation: While it’s still in an “embryotic” stage, according to Jackie Fenn, human augmentation “creates cognitive and physical improvements as an integral part of the human body to deliver performance that exceeds normal human limits.” Like something from a sci-fi movie, Fenn cautions that there are ethical challenges with this idea, writing, “several states have already passed bills banning employers from requiring chip implants as a condition of employment.”
- Workplace ethnography: Another emerging trend that complements team engagement is workplace ethnography. Mike Gotta and Carol Rozwell define it as “a research approach for understanding cultural dynamics between employees, group relationships, and the ways in which work is done. It is pursued to improve employee engagement, teamwork, work models, and technology use. Tactics used include open-ended interviews, employee ‘shadowing,’ observation of physical activities, analysis of work artifacts and data logs, and compilation of field notes and journals. Resulting insights inform managers, designers, and other stakeholders.” While few companies have adopted this approach, Gotta and Rozwell recommend “Combining workplace ethnography with social networks and value-added network analysis to get a fuller picture of the dynamics of your workforce’s interactions.”
- Social learning platform: Every aspect of our work and personal lives has a social component today – and workplace learning and development is no different. Mike Burden defines a social learning platform as “an extension of traditional systems for learning management and learning content management. It incorporates social software features in order to support social, informal, and formal learning activities.” If you already have a learning or content management system, Burden recommends you ask your vendor how social will be integrated into their platform in the future.
- Enterprise social graph: Wouldn’t it be great to see how everyone is connected – employees, customers, prospects – in a visual way? Gotta writes that an enterprise social graph is a “unified, dynamic mapping of workplace connections between employees, between employees and people outside the organization, and between employees and work-related objects.” This idea has reached early mainstream maturity and has several benefits, like finding expertise, connecting people working on similar activities, and making suggestions on content.
- Employee Recognition and Reward Systems: This particular trend has reached 5-20% market penetration, according to Chris Pang. It’s about recognizing employees in the moment, rather than once a year. Pang writes that, “Recognition and reward systems amplify the reach of recognition, with the aim of improving individual morale and to reinforce (or drive a desired change in) company culture.” However, he stresses that employee recognition and reward systems should complement rather than replace equitable compensation practices (such as a salary).
- Worker Engagement Platforms: This technology trend is all about creating a positive experience throughout the entire employee lifecycle, and supports regular feedback, coaching, encouragement, learning, competition, participation in team or social activities, personalization and social recognition. Ron Hanscome and Helen Poitevin report that the benefits of worker engagement platforms are numerous, especially in environments that require high levels of creativity and collaboration across teams.
6 Hot Digital Workplace Trends from @gartner_inc #workhuman
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