How to Overcome the Common HR Barriers to a Digital Workplace

Please welcome Daniel Ross, a guest blogger from Roubler.

We are living in the digital age, and companies that are committed to being ahead of the game are embracing this fully. In fact, a digital workplace is more of a requirement than a bonus these days. Today’s businesses operate much better when measures have been taken to How-to-Overcome-the-Common-HR-Barriers-to-a-Digital-Workplace digitize systems and procedures so that the whole business is connected, secure, and mobile.

Despite the obvious benefits of a digital workplace, establishing this can come with certain challenges. Senior leadership and HR must be committed to overcoming such challenges so that the business can reach its digital goal.

What is a Digital Workplace?

A digital workplace encompasses everything from the technologies employees need to fulfill their roles to core business applications. Examples include instant messaging software, social media tools, apps, email, intranets, HR software, and employee portals.

Digital workplaces can expect the reap the following rewards:

  • Enhanced productivity
  • Better employee engagement
  • Higher levels of employee satisfaction
  • Easier sharing of knowledge
  • Greater mobility and flexibility
  • Smoother, speedier processes
  • Greater internal connectivity
  • Easier monitoring and analysis

While these benefits are probably in line with the goals of your organization, there are several barriers that should be identified and addressed before you jump in.

Barriers to a Digital Workplace

The following four barriers may be preventing your organization from really embracing the digital workplace and all it has to offer.

Poor departmental communication

A digital workplace requires the input of three main departments: IT, facilities, and HR. All of these departments must communicate regularly if the shift to a more digital experience is to get off the ground. They must agree on the main objectives and be committed to sharing information. If these three departments do not communicate well, they will likely kill the momentum behind your shift to a digital workplace.

First and foremost: it’s likely that new technology will be introduced to the company. The IT department must be fully aware of what is needed and how this will be implemented company-wide. This might mean introducing more smart devices and/or wearables for employees. There might even be significant changes to the current infrastructure.

As this change can also affect the general environment, the facilities team will need to oversee logistics, such as where new tech will be installed. They will need to plan ahead for necessary changes to work spaces, and bring in any new equipment needed to facilitate the technology installations.

The HR department will need to carefully monitor the way these changes are impacting employees, ensuring that everyone is happy and getting the resources they need. HR will also be responsible for filling any new positions the digital workplace necessitates and organizing the training required to get the systems started.

Outdated technology and budgets

When internal technology is outdated, budgets should be extended in order to bring in the necessary tools. Otherwise, implementation of your digital workplace is likely to be delayed, and further costs (such as wasted time and resources) could be incurred.

One of the most useful pieces of tech your organization needs is an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) . This allows all departments to share data very quickly, which is one of the most essential aspects of a digital workplace. IWMS can also connect with other solutions, like an HRIS or help desk software. When information can be shared across these platforms, it minimizes oversights, prevents discrepancies, and saves a lot of time.

Insufficient work spaces

With the inevitable introduction of new technologies, work spaces will need to be adapted accordingly. Bringing in a whole host of new technologies is going to cause problems if the current work spaces haven’t been adapted to make room for them. For instance, cubicles and workstations could become redundant, as they may not offer enough space for some of the more modern technology your IT department introduces.

Make sure to consider space requirements in the initial planning stages, or complications could lead to major delays in implementation of the digital workplace. 

Resistance to change

Employees can get very comfortable in their roles. The current tech and processes are familiar and understood well. Change, on the other hand, means training, short-term problems, and saying goodbye to ingrained habits. Some employees will happy to dive into new systems and protocols, but that will most likely be the minority. As the process of creating a digital workplace can be  in-depth and lengthy, it is imperative to get all employees on board.

To ensure an openness to change, senior managers must be forthcoming about the reasons for the change. When employees are encouraged to see the changes as part of a bigger company vision, they are happier to play their part in that growth. Leaders should be visibly enthusiastic about the pending changes, instilling as much positivity as possible and ‘selling’ the benefits via their own attitudes. Make sure to ask for employee feedback throughout every step of the proces

When the right technology is introduced and environments are adapted to facilitate the expansion, the workplace becomes a whole new world. Provided that the above barriers are met head-on, productivity can reach unprecedented levels in an incredibly short span of time.


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Published July 9, 2018 | Written By Daniel Ross