The ways in which a business creates and maintains its culture are changing. Previously, a business’s culture may have centered around its office, but in today’s do-anything, from-anywhere economy, this approach is no longer fit for purpose. Today, a culture is less about location, rather it is a refocus on a set of shared values and standards that put people and performance front and center. Business success depends on it.
This value-based, people-first approach should inform all areas of the business – from empathetic leaders who empower and lead by example, to designing responsive and trusted technologies that put the employee experience first.
Jean-Guillaume Pons is Senior Vice-President of DELL Client Solutions Group in EMEA.
This is reflected in recent ‘Breakthrough’ research, which shows that nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of employees expect their employer to provide the necessary tools and infrastructure to work flexibly, in a way that suits everyone. So how do you create a consistent, frictionless and secure experience, no matter where your employees are working from? And as importantly, how does it build, maintain and evolve your business values and culture?
Building an empathetic culture underpinned by intelligence
The answer lies in building an intelligent and caring workplace that enables employees to work smarter and thrive professionally and personally. Business leaders need to be aware of the psychological shift that has taken place for employees as they move between working from home and in the office in a way that best suits their individual needs. Of course, technology has a pivotal role to play by enabling an intelligent work environment that delivers greater consistency and personalization, regardless of location.
When looking at where to start, often the simplest parts of our working day promise the most impactful change, whether it's better hybrid meeting experiences that focus on creating more intuitive human interactions – or increasing efficiencies for everyday tasks like notetaking. Removing the friction when it comes to communication between employees puts the focus on their ideas and executing them, rather than the logistics of getting those ideas and thoughts to the right people.
Taking an individual approach can also build a more equal and diverse workforce. It helps existing talent to work in a location and environment that best suits them. And it is also an opportunity for businesses to recruit new, diverse talent, and create a culture that brings new perspectives and skillsets – thanks to the flexibility of not having to focus the search for talent on rigid criteria such as a specific, permanent location.
A culture driven by digital transformation
For many businesses, this shift to a people-first culture is tied to transformation projects they have undertaken over the past few years, when it was imperative to adapt to survive. This period of transformation has highlighted the critical role of engaged employees in driving successful change. The Breakthrough research shows that 85 per cent of business leaders see their people as their most important asset. But two thirds (67%) of employees feel that their role in delivering on transformation projects is underestimated by their companies.
This gap needs to be closed, because a positive business culture relies on people feeling part of a community that is heard and valued. If you get this right, it creates an environment that not only improves productivity, but also fosters creativity and helps attract and retain talent.
We know that creating a successful remote working environment takes more than just the right technology. Again, it is about investing in people. For example, initiatives which can give employees the power to choose the work style that best fits the needs of their job and their lifestyle.
The office still has an important role in building a company culture; there will always be moments for which in-person collaboration is the best option. You cannot replace the value we all get from human-to-human contact, but future cultures are going to be built in a hybrid world in which technology and innovation are going to play vital roles.
What has always been true remains: a successful culture is built on a collective set of values and behaviors. The difference in today’s world is that technology gives everyone an equal opportunity to show up and reach their full potential – a win, win for individuals and their employers. The challenge for business leaders is to ensure that technology facilitates culture but doesn’t drive it – that is still down to people.
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Jean-Guillaume Pons is Senior Vice-President of DELL Client Solutions Group in EMEA. He's responsible for the ongoing growth and development of the Dell CSG business and team in the region.
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