In my work, I meet quite a lot of companies that offer solutions that often are framed as “digital workplace” tools or platforms. Most of them are built in Office 365, while there are others as well. Some products are not very well thought through, while others shine. I have written about such consultants before and about their products, and I still think there could be much more focus on the customer’s core business and culture. Many vendors still let their product offerings stand in the middle. Meanwhile, where you can outshine the rest is by focusing even more on the business of the customer. Your work is not mainly to help us install and launch Yammer. Your job is mainly to unveil the biggest hurdles and pains, and then offer technology as part of the solution to fix these.
One professional area that is neglected within the digital workplace discussion is tools and support for Modern Workplace Learning. I don’t think I have ever heard a vendor talk about this. Meanwhile, there is a whole movement of smart people working day and night to improve this. My advice to digital workplace vendors is to listen to these experts, and then see how their ideas can be merged with what you offer. According to the 70:20:10 framework, only 10% of what we learn at work comes from formal training. This leaves a potential for digital workplace tools to offer some solutions that can support the other 90%. For example, emphasize how your solution can establish nurturing mentor/mentee relationships over time, show us how you support the building of communities of practice and include tools for learning about your platform into the platform. There are of course many other ways, but here is a start. Also remember that only 33% of employees in average are engaged, while 51% are not engaged, and 16% actively disengaged. How is your solution helping your customers solve this alarming problem, no matter exactly which numbers they score in such measurements?
To get started with modern workplace learning you can visit sources like these:
- 10 myths about modern workplace learning, by Jane Hart
- Top 100 tools for learning at work, by Jane Hart
- Putting people back in control of their learning (video), by Harold Jarche
- Work is learning and learning is the work, by Harold Jarche
So, dear vendors, please don’t just focus on how we should communicate and collaborate more just for the sake of it. Please also think about how you can help support the development of our employees and solve the core problems we face.