Are we over-digitalizing the workforce?
When we look at the past 20 years, we have seen enormous jumps in workforce management.
Tasks like training & development, recruiting & role descriptions, talent & knowledge management, employer branding & corporate health … have evolved enormously. A driving theme to those leaps was the digitalization.
The digital transformation is a change driver and accelerator. Digital technologies have sustainably affected many steps of HR management. In fact, digital technologies have facilitated processes as much they have complicated matters.
In addition, due to the increased use of digital technologies, new generations with new mindsets and new expectations are entering the workforce.
In sum, many of the challenges the workforce and HR currently face, can be traced back to the digitalization.
1. COMMUNICATION OVERFLOW
People at work are confronted with an overflow of communication and the sheer impossibility to remain on top of emails, slack notifications, What’s App groups and more, which lead to low responsive rates and a lack of focus.
A vast landscape of digital processes evolved amidst which employees do not know where to search when they have a question. This leads to confusion and frustration.
3.LOST IN SEARCH
Enormous knowledge and data repositories have developed over the years. They could be an access to unlimited expertise. Yet, it appears to be difficult to find the one right answer or the right person to ask in all those databases.
4.STRESS, INVISIBILITY AND PURPOSE
People in the workforce report of the fear not to be seen ans more. At the same time, we have new generations enter the workforce who want to find purpose in what they do.
Wouldn’t it be great, if the new decade starting 2020 required a little less from us instead of more?
- Wouldn’t it be great, if we had to stress less to adapt our brain to an increasingly digitalized workplace and could instead act more from the heart?
- What if that would free space to engage more in empathetic communication and prevent digital misunderstanding?
- What if we could invent more digital processes with a heart-mind connection?
- What if a digitally inventive heart could foster more focused communication streams, platforms, communities – and hence, less of the feeling of missing out and not being on top of things?
I do not mean to imply that everything that has been done so far, has been bad. Once children detect how much they like sweets, it is hard to stop them from wanting more. Digital technologies, and the omnipresent pressure to digitalise every imaginable work stream, are in some way the sugar of the past decade. Yet, we all know that too much sugar is bad for our health.
Digitalizing with the heart and the mind
1.CREATING CLARITY IN DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS
Instead of creating more emails, notifications etc., we could jointly assess the following questions:
- What is worthy of an email, message, etc.?
- How should emails be written?
- How can we mark what is most important in an email, what requires a follow up and what is mainly for information?
- How can we let go of the cc and bcc culture? → While cc is a great way to involve the most important stakeholders to a process, it also tends to become a safety airbag at times. An open dialogue about necessary stakeholders to a process can vitally reduce airbag emails and the volume of received messages. (Our book recommendation on the topic: One Second Ahead)
2.ASSESSING STRUCTURES AND PROCESSES MINDFULLY
Statt immer mehr Emails, Notifications, Messages etc. zu kreieren, könnten wir gemeinsam überlegen, wie wir bewusst digital kommunizieren. Hier können die folgenden Fragen helfen:
We could also consider the digital processes already in place and critically assess which new ones to implement. Every firm knows of processes that have once been established and then never removed. At some point, no one in the firm knows why they have actually been put in place, but they still exist and hinder progress and fast decision-making. The same is to happen for digital processes. A thorough evaluation of existing processes can help to prevent an over-digitalization from happening.
(For more, see Dear Employee, who offer a great range of tools to evaluate your smart, future-oriented workplace.)
3.BUILDING SMART COMMUNITIES
Eine Evaluation bestehender digitaler Prozesse kann helfen kritisch zu betrachten, welche funktionieren und welche nicht. Jede Firma kennt Prozesse, die einst aus Notwendigkeit eingeführt wurden. Obwohl sie heute keinen Zweck mehr erfüllen, bestehen sie weiterhin. Solche Prozesse behindern die Entscheidungsgeschwindigkeit und die Agilität. Gleiches gilt für digitale Prozesse, die möglicherweise ihren Zweck nicht erfüllen. Regelmäßige Evaluationen helfen hier eine über-Digitalisierung zu vermeiden
To ensure knowledge management, approaches from open innovation can inform online communities. Important questions to ask here:
- Which communities do we need?
- How can we organise those groups?
- Do they require us to meet regularly to revise the knowledge shared and spread?
- How can we mark what is important?
- How can we tag knowledge in order to be found?
(See Tandemploy for knowledge management solutions in the digital workplace and smart matching algorithms.)
4.FOSTERING A MINDFUL WORKING CULTURE
In order to deal with stress and pressure and to foster open communication, we can design the way we work together mindfully. Mindful meeting designs, conscious communications and a mindful language become the foundation for a flourishing and nourishing workplace.
(See mynd:way for great ideas on how to work mindfully. In our mindful learning journeys we support your workforce in establishing mindful ways to work, collaborate and grow. More in our blog.)
2020’ies: The chance to digitalize mindfully
Zusammenfassend sehen wir, dass die Digitalisierung vieles am Arbeitsplatz und im Unternehmen erleichtert und beschleunigt hat. Digitale Prozesse und Strukturen können die Offenheit im Unternehmen fördern und Abstimmungen erleichtern. Sie ermöglichen das Arbeiten in flacheren Hierarchien innerhalb einer vernetzten Welt.
In a nutshell, it is important to note that the digitalization has made a lot of things in the workplace easier, faster and more visible. The digitalization is our enabler of a connected world and a workplace of increasingly lower hierarchies. The chance it provides for the new decade is to enable a workplace that frees up space for every individual and every team to re-focus themselves on the tasks at hand, instead of getting lost in the digital nirvana.
Yet, when we talk about agile and modern workplaces, it is important to keep in mind: Agility is about enablement and empowerment. It is about smart collaboration and mindful co-creation.
So, let’s digitalize the world of work by connecting hearts and minds. Let us use the chances of digital technologies to ensure mindful and sustainable growth jointly with a healthy and happy workforce.
Find out more about our mynd:way method in our book “Achtsamkeit und Innovation in integrierten Organisationen“.