In light of current events, many organizations are feeling the effects of life’s unpredictability. In the latest blog of our business continuity series, author Rick Fasino discusses how Workspace ONE aids organizations in times of crisis.
“The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.”
These words, written by King Solomon roughly 3,000 years ago, are as true today as the day they were penned. In fact, they are starkly confirmed as we all share in the new reality thrust upon us by the global pandemic. That truth is that trials, as hard as they may be, tend to be our greatest teachers, and prosperity (as good as it may feel) tends to make us careless.
Possibly the greatest reason for this paradoxical quirk of human nature is that trials often force us to zero in on only the most critical aspects of any circumstance. Through trial, all non-essential considerations are shelved as our minds and hearts become devoted only to the few things that truly matter. Clarity of vision and singularity of purpose are the gifts of any trial.
At this time, organizations are realizing that their singular purpose is fulfilling their mission to their customers, constituents, share holders and planet, all while protecting and serving their most treasured asset – their employees. The difficult truth is that years of prosperity have left us woefully unprepared for this particular trial and scrambling to respond.
The key to serving and enabling our employees in this crisis is to provide them all of the resources they need to perform their work for the organization while also giving them the required information, services, and social distancing that protects themselves, their families and their communities. Even the supposed simplest of these tasks, informing our employees of critical updates, has proven challenging.
Informing Your Workforce
If this trial has revealed anything, it is how unprepared organizations are today to fully and completely engage and inform their employees when normal, near-proximity lines of communication break down. Social distancing has forced us to our respective corners, away from the normal team meetings, shift roll calls, pin-ups, posters and organic officer chat sessions that typically inform us. As a result, we have turned to our old standby digital means, though we know they, too, are woefully inadequate. The primary ones in use today are email, intranets and text.
The problems with email are numerous, but let’s start with the fact that the majority of our workforce today doesn’t even use it (especially later generations). 80% of the global workforce is deskless and the majority of them have no corporate-owned device or corporate email account. Additionally, email is notorious for being cluttered as most employees (as high as 75%) admit to having unread emails in their inbox. Lastly, email exposes the biggest problem with corporate communications – communication isn’t just about informing, but engaging. Successful communication isn’t just telling someone something, but knowing that your audience absorbed the information and was given the opportunity to respond to it.
Search the blogsphere and you will find every opinion on the planet concerning the success of, future of and problems with intranets today, backed by some survey. The reality is that intranets can be a powerful tool of interactive communication, though the majority of companies have failed to take full advantage of them.
There are a few reasons for this, chief among them is the failure to give employees a compelling reason to use intranets in their daily routine. If a tool is going to be effective in a crisis, it has to be broadly and habitually used in the normal course of work. And to make something habitual, you must make it valuable. Give me a reason that benefits me, and I’ll act on it, especially when a crisis hits.
Another challenge with intranets today is simply access to it. Many require a VPN, and often they are not formatted for mobile devices. Make something hard to use and it will fail in today’s culture of consumer ease and simplicity.
While texting does provide users with a more adequate form of communication, even this mechanism can pose a problem if you have not created a policy and culture to use it effectively. The good news is that 94% of U.S. employees own a mobile device with an operating system made by one of two companies; Apple or Google. The bad news is that most of these devices are not corporate issued, and having employees’ personal numbers on file can prove problematic. And even if text messaging is a viable option, it may lack the ability to engage with recipients, or even know who of the intended audience received the text.
The Answer – You Must Unify
A unified digital hub is essentially a single digital space where everything an employee needs to perform their normal daily tasks is located. A digital hub is accessible from every device type on the planet (whether personal or corporate) and acts as an experiential platform for every interaction an employee could need. A digital hub includes:
• A location to download or launch every single application and app type via SSO
• An embedded VDI platform to make even challenging workloads available anywhere
• A place to receive informational, urgent or critical notifications including the ability to respond and to give corporate communications the ability to track responses
• An ability to surface common business flows such as onboarding, approvals, orders and re-orders
• A place to access current intranets (with embedded per app VPN) with a single click
• A chat bot that responds to a myriad of employee requests using natural language and integrates into other systems such as ITSM
• A directory of every co-worker with contact information
• Embedded support for one-click access to helpdesk resources
What’s described above is what is currently available in VMware’s Workspace ONE platform. It is a single platform upon which to build a comprehensive and compelling employee experience. And the current national trial has demonstrated the immense value in providing such a platform for employees.
Workspace ONE has proven highly effective for building culture and productivity. But more importantly, it provides a total workforce with the ability to look to this “single digital space” for everything in a time of crisis, because they have habitually gone to this “single digital space” for everything. In a crisis, we don’t rely on email; we interact with urgency through our hub. We can still leverage intranet since one-click access to it is embedded in our hub. We don’t need employees’ personal mobile numbers, as they have the hub on every personal and corporate device or simply via any browser on any device.
What will you take away from this global trial? What will you enable to set your employees and colleagues up for success when the next crisis hits?
Get engaged, react out of necessity now, but do so in such a way that it prepares your organization to respond even better the next time a crisis strikes. Let’s get a real plan and platform in place to interact with our employees in realtime, regardless of location, device, or circumstance. Modern consumer technologies have paved the way for us to be better stewards of human capital entrusted to us by our organizations. We need to work now to make sure that during the next crisis (and there will be another), we’ll be ready to fully engage and serve our employees so they can safely fulfill the organizational mission of serving their customers, communities, nation and planet.