General manager, Canada, ServiceNow
These days, the words “future of work” can cause alarm and stoke uncertainty. I promise you: The doom and gloom are overstated.
Instead of automation taking jobs, technology offers opportunity – refined focus, improved productivity and faster outcomes. However, businesses – and the people within those businesses, from top to bottom – must do so much more to turn potential into real-world results.
In the past 10 years, we have seen great progress as technology has revolutionized consumers’ lives with mobile and cloud-based applications. Now, we expect our experience at work to be as simple as the consumer experience we have at home – yet businesses lag behind. The digital workplace evolution has only just begun. Despite advances, most modern work looks a lot like it did in the mid-1990s, with a muddled infrastructure, information manually moving from department to department and outdated processes hampering results. We can do better.
Now is the time for businesses to embrace technology. To do that means reinventing office, operational and commercial processes and innovating with new business models, products and channels. This is our focus at ServiceNow – streamlining complex workflows with easy-to-develop, easy-to-use software. In turn, we find everyone can then focus on the more meaningful business issues that only humans can solve.
Digital transformation has value for everyone in an organization – both the executives who get greater visibility and efficiency, and the working-level employees who are relieved from mundane tasks to focus on those that are more compelling. For managers and executives considering adopting digital tools to transform work, and for employees who want to advocate for change internally, there are three key considerations to involve everyone in the process and ensure the transformation is successful.
Digital transformation means change, and for employees who have done the same things the same way for a very long time, it can mean uncertainty. Creating buy-in throughout an organization is the first step in ensuring that new tools brought into a company are welcomed.
Buy-in doesn’t just come from the top. Employees can help with this process by acting as champions for the change. Some of us will be more receptive to change than others; those of us who are considered the early adopters in our workplace should help others learn the new tool, answer questions and generate excitement. Managers and team leaders should foster enthusiasm for change through ongoing two-way conversations, training sessions and celebratory events.
Success breeds trust. Selecting and implementing digital solutions that solve problems will make employees hungry for more. Managers who advocate for adopting digital solutions will build trust with their teams by demonstrating that they understand the value of improving the work experience. Team members who appreciate the new solution and the conveniences it brings should be sure to share their experience both with others and with management, thus encouraging further transformation down the road.
Leveraging external resources
Even the biggest technology companies in the world look beyond their own walls for solutions – in other words, you need not reinvent the wheel every time you want to implement a new digital resource or process. If you need it, chances are it already exists. And with a breadth of resources and touchpoints available to learn about new technology, it’s not just the IT team that can bring about new tools and solutions. Both the 30-year veteran and the university student intern can – and should – think about how they can improve the way things are done in their organization and bring that thinking forward. Do your research and try different approaches and solutions to find the right one for your needs, now and in the future.
Once all this has been accomplished, workplaces and work forces will be ready to embrace digital transformation. And as we prepare for the future of work, it’s important to remember one last important point: Work will evolve, but so will workers. Generation Alpha – the next generation of employees – will want more than technological augmentation to their tasks. This is the most technologically literate generation to date, and they will expect it to be integrated into every aspect of what they do. The future of work has begun – businesses must adapt and evolve, or they will fall behind.
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