Knowledge Management Institute

Workplace Evolution – Tuning in to Worker Expectation

Workplace Evolution – Tuning in to Worker Expectation

Oct 28, 2015   |  By
Rooven Pakkiri | Social Business Consultant

We now want the same digital experience and service levels at work as we get in our personal life

The world of work is undergoing significant change. Worker expectations have shifted in so many ways. Employees want to use their own devices and applications to get their work done. They expect to have their views and ideas aired and to get rapid feedback. Access to information and to decision makers is often more important than financial remuneration. Transparency and Collaboration are the new corporate mantras.

Why has all of this happened so suddenly? Is it the rise of the so called millennials? Or is there something more widespread at play here?
















The clue to understanding this profound shift in workers and the workplace lies not inside the organisation but rather what is happening outside company life.

Start with yourself. Examine the way you manage your life today and the service levels you expect:

  • You want to find information from your local council or give instruction to your doctor’s surgery. You go online and within seconds you are able to execute on those needs.
  • You want to move money from A to B, you cut through any bureaucracy and complete the transaction quickly, silently and often on the move.
  • You want to research a holiday but avoid the sales and marketing machine of the provider. So you go to a site like Trip Advisor where you can compare notes with ‘people like me’. Trusted sources obtained for free and on demand.
  • You want to solve a problem or plan for a situation that pertains to both your private and organisational life - e.g. travel updates and bookings, weather checks in multiple locations, route planning, dining arrangements, car hire - all of these actions you now source an application for and execute from your smart phone.  

Now at work you become frustrated with the relative poverty of the communication tools at your disposal. You want to collaborate with a group of co-workers to get a project or task completed efficiently. You know how to do this in your private life – e.g. you have a Facebook group for local child care sharing or what’s app group for organising football training. So you explore collaborative technologies for the workplace and find that there are indeed similar tools available that are focused on your work needs and objectives.

In this world of self-service, the idea that the IT department (or any other department) can continue to prohibit employees from using collaborative tools of their choice to get work done is both impractical and ultimately self-harming.

Workers now demand the same digital experience and service levels at work as they get in their personal lives.

And this is where we arrive at what is known as the Social Knowledge Management imperative. If disparate group of employees go off and start collaborating on a self-service basis then they are in a sense destroying the very thing they are seeking to remedy. Several collaborating groups with no obvious visibility of each other are in fact creating new organisational silos. Valuable company knowledge and learning opportunities which were once (or are currently) locked away in hard to access folder structures are now trapped in multiple uncoordinated collaboration groups. This situation will not work and someone (and their team) has to take responsibility to get this right.

Providing a well-thought-out space for company collaboration, a digital place that accommodates rising employee expectation and marries with organisational objectives is not something that can ever happen of its own accord. Social KM managers (and their team) have to act as custodians of Collaboration Culture. They have to plan, plant and nurture the Company ‘collaborative garden’ with tremendous attention to detail, to both business and individual needs and they have to do this over a long term.

Rooven Pakkiri will be covering these topics in his Social KM course February 22-23, 2016 - London, UK.  Course details posted soon.  Contact KMI for details.

The course is aimed at anyone in organizational management or leadership who is trying to figure out how to meet worker expectation or executive directive for increased transparency and collaboration in a business context. Throughout the 2 days the course moves continuously between theory and hands-on practice as participants get to experiment with collaborative technology in a safe and bespoke business focused arena.  (NB: a Wi-Fi enable laptop is essential for this course)

Rooven is a published author and speaker on Collaboration Culture. He is also a Social Business consultant and spends a great deal of his time working closely with clients to help them make the transition from traditional forms of knowledge management and learning to the new sharing economy form of thinking and working.


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