Here and Now: Why Every Employee is a Digital Employee

October 19, 2015 Jiordan Castle


Just about every business today has a hand in technology and employs digital initiatives. In their report, “(What to Do When) Every Employee Is a Digital Employee,” Gartner tells us that when it comes to modern companies, every budget is an IT budget. With a spike in the usage of personal technology for work in recent years and a shift toward omni-channel customer support, the time has come to make use of your employees’ digital dexterity and include more digital duties across your organization.

Extending consumer digital dexterity to the workplace

As consumers, your employees can deftly “pin” a recipe on Pinterest, retweet quotes on Twitter, comparison shop, and so on. The internet has a kind of language all its own, with a duality — consuming, sharing — we’re all plugged into outside of work. Gartner tells us that some technology enthusiasts are even creating their own Internet of Things networks with wearable devices, cars, and even household appliances. In the report, Gartner analysts Matthew W. Cain and Simon Mingay write that these people “join in the sharing economy using consumer-mediated services for transportation, lodging, professional services and retail.”

Point being that this is all done by consumers for recreation, with enthusiasm, skill, and zero (or very little) professional help. These same people work for you, and could be using their proficiency and love of technology to benefit your organization. The challenge isn’t necessarily in finding people with the right skills; it’s enabling your organization to harness those skills for business purposes.

New technology as a part of employee engagement

In keeping with the “every budget is an IT budget” mentality, it’s worth noting that many jobs today require an unprecedented degree of digital dexterity. The Gartner report details the necessary digital skills required in different jobs: “In the manufacturing sector, factory floor operators have significant digital duties for machine setup, operation, and process flow. Marketing is now largely a digital occupation, requiring digital skills for campaign design, execution, and analysis. Sales requires the ability to explain digital services, understand digital requirements, and act as an intermediary between the customer and the digital staff. It is hard to name a job function that does not increasingly require digital expertise, including jobs in HR, legal, corporate communications, finance, and research.”

To that end, there is a direct correlation between employee digital dexterity and digital business execution. By nature, digital dexterity enables employees to easily understand and execute digital duties in the workplace (and take advantage of digital moments). Agility and awareness of digital tools and services in consumer life helps drive the same know-how and curiosity in a professional capacity, but the former doesn’t automatically imply the latter. The consumer experience simply creates a foundation upon which digital dexterity for business can be built.

Organizations need to embrace employee digital dexterity to improve business outcomes, but it has to happen in a way that doesn’t alienate employees or cripple your company culture. Gartner tells us that in order to make sure your business goals align with interpersonal goals — like building a better Worker Experience — new technology has to be introduced as part of a larger employee engagement initiative. Your employees are the heart of your organization, and they need to be able to see how new technology expands job skills, promotes success, and furthers engagement.

Going forward, new technology investments should be part of larger workforce planning efforts. Learn more about updating and innovating your Worker Experience with our ebook, The Future of Employee Engagement.


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