kid trying on shoes  that are  too big for them
PHOTO: nfsphoto

The most important assets retained by nearly any business is not its real estate or even its top leaders — it’s the people — the employees it hires and invests in. This realization is essential to effectively develop a modern digital workplace. All too often, the typical workplace relies on a monolithic, one-size-fits-all, IT-centric approach that at best offers a digital facade — an outer coat of digitalized user and customer experiences that masks a homogenous core that ignores the unique requirements of different people.

The solution is to create workplaces where facilities, productivity tools, HR intelligence and IT priorities harmoniously come together in an environment designed around nano-personalization. This key insight enables an organization to become digital on the inside.

How to Become Digital on the Inside

The first step toward being digital inside is assessment, an unvarnished introspective effort to understand the current environment. Establishing what digital resources are currently available as well as what are lacking will help surface any gaps that need to be filled to help people be more productive and effective.

This requires a kaleidoscopic assessment of technical and functional reality. Such an assessment combines real-time data collection about the environment and in-person interviews of a significant sample of users representing different personas, locations and geographies. These elements are combined to create a benchmark score for the user experience.

Why does this approach work? To illustrate the difference in outcomes between treating employee personas as homogenous elements as opposed to nano-personalization, consider sales staff. A sales staff might consist of one group of individuals who do cold calling to find prospects. Other sales staff might take those qualified leads and do the work of meeting with potential customers, giving demos and closing deals. Differentiation is important when you consider the technical needs of those two groups, which are in fact quite different.

The needs of a pharmaceutical sales representative are quite specific when considered against the backdrop of a general sales persona. These individuals are tasked with going into the field and meeting with some of the busiest, time-constrained people in the world — doctors. These salespeople might have no more than five minutes to pitch a medication or a complex piece of surgical equipment.

Now consider what happens when a large business lumps all its salespeople into one persona. That business might decide that all people identified as “sales” require a laptop as their primary device. Easy, right?

The two minutes of boot time to start up the laptop might go unnoticed by a desk-bound phone sales representative. For a sales representative in the field, however, two minutes represents 40% of their face time with the potential customer — a massive impact on opportunity. An always-on device such as an iPad running applications from the cloud can save those precious minutes.

Extending that particular use case, an organization could enable the sales representative to take an order and close the sale from the iPad, eliminating the need for a multi-stage process where every step adds another risk of the sale collapsing.

Related Article: Remote Work: What We've Lost and What We've Gained

Ongoing Evaluation Improves the Digital Core

By revealing where a digital facade masks unintended or unrecognized challenges, you can develop a blueprint that shows how the organization can move its digital infrastructure forward, conduct ongoing evaluation of adoption, and measure progress as the digital core evolves to serve employees first, and, by extension, customers.