Build your “A Team” to create a cohesive Digital Workplace

|October 11, 2017 0
Digital business transformation requires a digital workplace

Carol Rozwell

Pat, a CIO of a large financial services firm, gets an urgent message from the CEO. Pat stares at the following message, thrilled and nervous:

Because of the board’s growing interest in digital business, we’ve decided to create a digital workplace program. I have selected you as the digital workplace leader for our company. The first thing I’d like you to do is recruit your digital workplace team. Let’s meet in a week so that we can discuss how the team will achieve the company’s digital workplace objectives.

Good luck

Your CEO

A number of questions cross Pat’s mind: Where do I start when building a digital workplace team? What capabilities will I need? Where will I find the right people? Where should I look within the company? Will I need to recruit from other organizations?

CIOs know how to build teams with technical specialists, however, building the A Team requires thinking more broadly. The role of the A Team is to establish and govern the digital workplace program, as well as to oversee the delivery of individual projects.

To design and execute a successful digital workplace program, the CIO needs to recruit individuals from multiple diverse domains who can envision how new technologies, processes and work environments will enhance employee engagement and effectiveness.

The CIO needs to recruit individuals who combine the perspectives of the digital workplace leader, HR and facilities management. Together, they will form the permanent core of the A Team and be responsible for crafting the vision and strategy for the digital workplace program.

The three core roles are:

Digital workplace leader: The CIO (or the member of the IT organization who takes on this responsibility) will need a proven track record of leading and working with complex, multidisciplinary talent teams, deep knowledge of employee-facing services (including intranets, content services, social networks and technology support), and strategic technology planning experience.

Human resources manager: This role will need an intimate understanding of the talent needs across the whole organization as the digital workplace programs are coupled with the employee experience. This individual will need to identify the changes to behaviors and leadership that are pivotal when designing a digital workplace strategy.

Facilities manager: Because the working environment has an impact on employee engagement and effectiveness, and to help employees enjoy their work, the facilities manager will need to focus on the physical design of the workspace. This role should try to match the needs of a modern workforce by creating a more-flexible, smarter and better-connected workspace.

The CIO will then need to select critical members as well as casual members to complete the A Team:

Critical members: They are the members of the A Team who will:

Develop the business case for the new digital workplace initiative and establish the measures by which success is determined.

Redesign work activities that increase employees’ commitment and engagement and subsequently improve business results.

Ensure that employees are provided with regular updates or communications to keep them aware and excited about the opportunity of a better workplace.

Casual members: These members are consulted on an ad hoc basis, depending upon the specific digital workplace project underway. Some will come from IT. For example, enterprise architects could join the A Team to ensure that the architecture supports the digital workplace vision. Others (coming from legal and compliance or security and risk, for example) will participate as needed to protect business operations.

The author is vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner

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