The world of work is changing—fast. And while business solutions today are often tool- or service-centric for organizations looking to stay agile, the best ones might actually hinge on improving the overall alignment of workers.
Workers increasingly want to feel that they’re part of a bigger plan. As a result, the key areas businesses will need to focus on are those that improve transparency, employee support and clarity of communications. Here are some business solutions that companies can implement—or reinforce—to keep their workplace innovative and adaptable.
1. Cultivate a responsive knowledge management system
To truly feel aligned and engaged, employees must also feel empowered to make decisions in the moment. This type of empowerment can translate to overall business success as well. According to a Gallup Press study, companies that empower their employees experience 50% higher customer loyalty than those that don’t.
Employees can’t be properly empowered until they have access to all the information they need to make sound judgments. That includes both explicit knowledge (stored in cloud wikis, intranet databases and employee trainings) and tacit knowledge (i.e., employee expertise).
A well-defined knowledge management system is crucial for ensuring that employees have the resources necessary to do their jobs as productively as possible. Choosing, building, disseminating and reinforcing the right knowledge solution can have a massive impact on employee effectiveness, and that effectiveness corresponds with company success: According to the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA), 73% of companies estimate that effective knowledge management boosts their employees’ productivity anywhere from 20% to even more than 50%.
The survey also indicated that a quarter of companies where employees enjoyed a high degree of knowledge-sharing have a formal process to capture tacit knowledge—such as establishing best practices—compared with just 8% of those where employees gave their knowledge-sharing culture a low rating. Consider investing in solutions that can nurture a culture where employees and leadership alike want to regularly share their knowledge (and where hoarding that knowledge doesn’t get you ahead).
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2. Provide a seamless, streamlined set of communication tools
Of workers surveyed in Slack’s 2018 Future of Work study, 76% said they hoped more and better communication tools would be made available to them in the future. So if the communication tools, collaboration platforms and project management solutions now used by your employees are disconnected, clunky or distraction-heavy, it may be time to reassess.
Try to stick to business solutions for employee communications that are simple yet customizable, that can scale as your teams grow, and that don’t unnecessarily intrude into employees’ personal workflows.
3. Establish a robust feedback apparatus
A Gallup study centered on “psychological safety” at work found that just 30% of U.S. workers feel their opinions matter at work. Furthermore, a Salesforce report found that employees who feel their voices are being heard are nearly five times as likely to feel empowered to perform at their best.
To foster more aligned workers, companies need to provide a direct line to decision-makers to give feedback. And decision-makers must incorporate that feedback into the way the organization operates in order to nurture high-performing and engaged employees.
How you implement feedback apparatuses depends on how your employees work. The photo app and creative community VSCO, for example, solicits feedback on three or four issues a week using focus groups, surveys or one-on-one conversations. Atlassian won awards for its innovative MoodApp, which is installed on tablets at the office exits for employees to check in without breaking stride.
4. Invest in effective human resources and talent management
Another way to ensure both employee alignment and external brand affinity is by utilizing business solutions for human resources that promote transparency and easy communication with talent-acquisition and culture teams, from the hiring process to the exit interview. Considering the skills-based transformations companies will be undergoing in the coming years as automation becomes increasingly pervasive, business solutions that facilitate a healthy, competitive talent management strategy are a must.
“You can’t just have a one-to-many relationship and expect to get the top talent anymore,” says Will Bronaugh, DocuSign’s senior director of talent acquisition. “Recruiting is becoming more and more relationship-based, so the more that you can create a one-to-one relationship with candidates”—and the more effective the software solution to facilitate that relationship—“the better off you are.”
Keep business solutions people-first, not technology-first
Choose tools and services that will help you address specific concerns among your employees. Avoid investing in wholesale solutions that claim to wipe away all your problems in one fell swoop, too. If you’re listening to your people about their needs—and putting those first—then investing the time and energy to select specialized business solutions will pay dividends and help your organization scale in the long term.