A Worrying Digital Workplace Trend: 70% of Communities Lack a Clear Strategy

You’d think, given the critical nature of the digital workplace, that its implementation and growth would be a strategic imperative for companies committed to progress. Almost three-quarters of the time, however, you’d be wrong. Rachel Happe of the Community Roundtable found that 70% of employee communities lack approved, operational and measurable digital workplace strategies. In spite of its importance, in spite of today’s plethora of data, most companies still struggle to show the business value of their collaboration platform.

This certainly isn’t the fault of the community manager. Let’s face it: measuring business value is hard. Business value goes far beyond the “easy” metrics like views, likes, comments, etc. to prove how all of those interactions roll up to the bottom line. That requires connecting a lot of dots over an extended period of time. Measurement can’t be treated as a digital workplace trend; it must be an ongoing, prioritized effort.

6 Ways to Improve Your Digital Workplace Strategy

So how can organizations take their digital workplace strategy to the next level? Our most successful customers leverage these six tactics to demonstrate just how powerful the digital workplace can be.

  1. Define your objectives. While it seems obvious, it’s tempting to jump ahead to KPIs (“how many likes did this post get?”) instead of focusing on desired outcomes. Your digital workplace strategy needs defined objectives just like any other initiative. Start by agreeing on your goals, then map them to the qualitative and quantitative metrics that you’ll use to measure them.
  2. Simplify ROI. Many companies tend to overthink ROI. It’s a hot digital workplace trend and a number that every executive wants to see, but that doesn’t mean that you need to crunch every available number to calculate it. A solid starting point is to choose one value driver, like measuring the health of your collaboration platform. Analyze KPIs like the number of answers and number of searches to find the financial value of an answered question.
  3. Begin benchmarking early. Benchmarking initiatives, by definition, show change over time. That means that “before” numbers are as important as “after” numbers to proving the progress of your digital workplace. Once you’ve defined your objectives and correlated metrics, look for historical data that can inform them. This will provide a starting point to use for comparison.
  4. Choose the right data (not just the easy data). Data is everywhere, in reports and dashboards and spreadsheets and, of course, databases. The key is to decide what data supports your digital workplace examples. For most collaboration platforms, the “right” data is typically quantitative and qualitative. Digital workplaces are human-driven ecosystems fueled by collaboration, relationships and ideation, which are hard to put into numbers. Using qualitative data points from surveys or interviews alongside traditional KPIs will help show and support the dynamic nature of the collaboration tool.
  5. Bring in multiple perspectives. Your digital workplace strategy must support the employee experience across every employee or it’s not doing its job. Think about how varying personas use the platform and what makes it meaningful to each of their roles. An executive requires a very different experience than a community manager or customer support rep, for instance. Consider all the members of your community to make sure that your digital workplace accounts for everyone’s requirements.
  6. Integrate your analytics. Big data is one of the most important digital workplace trends today and it wields enormous power. Combine analytics from your collaboration platform with metrics from other business systems to reveal additional and often surprising insights. This can be where the numbers get really interesting. What behaviors qualify an influencer? Does geography impact engagement? These answers don’t necessarily roll up neatly into an ROI calculation, but they can reveal a tremendous amount about your organization.

Digital Workplace Examples: A Framework

What does this look like in practice? At Jive, we suggest that organizations define their digital workplace strategy using four dimensions: business value, hypotheses, quantitative metrics and qualitative metrics. The following digital workplace example shows how to use this framework to drive your benchmarking initiative.

Your objectives, ideas, or metrics may be different, but the structure remains the same. With a solid framework and clearly defined goals, any organization can become part of the 30% of companies who have a successful digital workplace strategy.

Want to learn more about benchmarking your digital workplace? Check out this recent CMS Wire article by Michelle Gantt, a senior strategist on Jive’s customer strategy and innovation team.


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