The modern workplace is evolving at an incredible pace, largely driven by ongoing technological advancements that provide new capabilities, efficiencies, and ways of working. Sophisticated systems, rather than employees, increasingly handle managerial and administrative tasks. Customer expectations have heightened as technology enables greater personalization, self-service, and innovation. Essentially, technology is disrupting the very nature of jobs while also unlocking immense opportunity for improved processes, productivity, safety and profits across nearly every industry.
Reimagining Processes & Operations
As companies support flexible remote work arrangements, leverage platforms to collaborate in real-time across borders and time zones, and use technologies such as industrial robots, 3D printing and machine learning to transform traditional ways of working, they need to completely reimagine and reinvent processes and supportive policies, workplace culture and change management programs. Protecting proprietary data, providing access to tools while ensuring security, training workers, defining goals, and instituting governance procedures are just some challenges involved with capitalizing on technology’s full potential. However, organizations that can marry innovative technologies with updated, highly efficient processes stand to gain tremendous advantages over competitors.
Leveraging Human Resource Information Systems
A vital yet often overlooked area where introducing technology can have enormously positive effects is in regard to human resource information systems (HRIS) and the employee experience model. According to the good folk at VertiSource HR, cloud-based HRIS platforms help automate and simplify recruiting, onboarding, payroll, benefits enrollment, performance reviews, succession planning, learning management and other critical workforce-related capabilities. These systems synthesize data and provide robust analytics on personnel records, allowing leaders to make strategic, data-driven decisions on human capital.
Secure Information Management & Collaboration
Beyond core business applications and HR information systems, organizations are implementing specialized software and digital work hubs to securely manage proprietary documentation, ensure version control, allow remote document access/editing, enable employee collaboration, and seamlessly integrate workflow approvals. Centralizing information access and cross-departmental collaboration, firmly protected by role-based permissions and data encryption, is instrumental for executing consistent, efficient, and transparent processes across decentralized workgroups.
Using Analytics to Uncover Bottlenecks
While new innovations often speed up workplace processes on the front end, unintended inefficiencies or bottlenecks sometimes emerge over time as employees struggle with adoption challenges or available tools become misaligned to actual needs. Organizations can leverage data to uncover areas for optimization. Analyzing application usage statistics, reviewing survey feedback on technical tools, regularly conducting user testing on new systems, implementing cycle time reporting to highlight delays, and tracking volume metrics on support requests all provide meaningful insights into where processes are failing employees or customers.
Automating Manual, Repetitive Activities
Despite having advanced technologies at their fingertips, employees still waste countless hours on administrative, repetitive tasks that provide little personal or professional fulfillment while keeping them from more strategic work. Organizations can dramatically speed up processes by using robotic process automation tools to mimic user actions within software applications to automatically handle mundane activities.
Embracing a Culture of Improvement
While new workplace technologies provide tools to enhance processes, organizations also need to cultivate a culture focused on continuous improvement to consistently optimize efficiency. When technology and processes intertwine, culture determines how well organizations ultimately leverage investments in new systems to influence speed, quality, flexibility and outcomes. Developing an engaged workforce and environment oriented towards progress unlocks lasting gains.
Emerging technologies are transforming the modern workplace by enabling unprecedented flexibility, access to information, data-driven decision making, collaboration capabilities and opportunities to automate repetitive tasks. Organizations that thoughtfully apply these technical capabilities while re-imaging processes, policies and culture stand to gain sustainable competitive advantages as workplace dynamics continuously evolve at scale in the years ahead.