Simon Terry

Home » Future of Work » A Capitalised Noun is not a Future of Work Strategy

A Capitalised Noun is not a Future of Work Strategy

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A key issue for most digital workplace projects is a lack of connection between the goals of the project and the business needs of the organisation. Without specific goals and specific steps to realise them there is a temptation for professionals running these projects to rely on capitalised nouns like productivity, innovation, engagement, adoption and collaboration. Capitalised nouns do not make a strategy.

Why are we doing this again?

Whatever tool, platform or process you want employees to use in your digital workplace, they have the right and obligation to ask why. Employees lives are busy. They don’t need to do something for an abstract goal. They want to understand the specific benefits to the organisation and to them personally.

A capitalised noun won’t cut it to win discretionary employee effort or senior executive time. The best goals of any digital workplace are fulfilment of the business strategy of the organisation. Usually this can be measured on the simple dimensions of win customers, grow revenue, reduce cost, manage assets and reduce risk. Even those goals are so generic as to lack force. Every organisation should be able to describe what employers working better together will do. That’s what a strategy is.

From Business Needs to Specific Actions

The role of the team leading adoption of the digital workplace is to convert that goal to specific actions that employees should do using the workplace. These are the actions that become your use cases and are core to the communication and role modelling you need.

Beware of capitalised nouns creeping in to your use cases. Nobody ‘engages’ on a platform. You should be able to specify exactly what you want to see. That way you can measure the actions and the benefits.

The use case should be some combination of the key verbs in the model above. Ideally, more than one verb for bigger benefits. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who do I want to connect around some issue or process?
  • What information will they share in that connection?
  • What problems will they solve together?
  • How will that result in change, improvements, new services, processes or products?

When you can answer these questions to the satisfaction of a disinterested executive you have the beginnings of a plan. Your engagement activities will then be based in how you create the scaffolding for people to learn to use the platform to deliver the goals that fulfil business strategy.


1 Comment

  1. […] Cai Kjaer of Swoop Analytics interviewed me recently to discuss how community managers can use the Collaboration Value Maturity model […]

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