A central work hub for all of your employees: dream or reality?

Jul 08, 2021
  • people
  • Microsoft

One single point of entry where your workforce can access their work tools and services, stay up to date, learn, collaborate and communicate… it definitely is possible! Serge Desaranno, Business Development Manager, and Paul Belsack (photo), Partner at delaware, tell all about how to move to an employee-centric approach, rather than being technology-centric.

Paul: “Many companies these days focus on employee experience. At delaware, we have noticed these businesses want to move along three main axes of action. Firstly, employees must be able to work efficiently, with the support of adjusted instruments and tools (operational excellence). Secondly, there is the need for solid support systems for all practical aspects (services). Thirdly, they want to create the correct environment that lifts their team to their best possible potential, which as such translates as involved, happy, healthy and motivated employees (employee engagement).”   

Serge: “We also see that these companies already have a wealth in tools, the result of plenty of stand-alone initiatives over the past 20 years. Actually, this has given rise to a proliferation of employee portals, intranet pages, apps and systems – posing a great challenge to employees as well as system owners to see the forest for the trees. The core question that needs answering is how we can bring together those three axes – operational excellence, services and employee engagement – in one central digital workplace, also known as a ‘work hub’ that enables two-way interaction (company to employees and vice versa).”

Employee needs

“When you choose for an employee-centric approach, logically the needs of your employees are the best place to start”, explains Serge. “In fact, our recent projects have demonstrated employees expect the following aspects:  

  • Informing and connecting: these are the different types of interaction between colleagues and business, top-down as well as bottom-up; for example, receiving news and messages, connecting through social networks…
  • Access to employee services: these are the internal services employees can call upon: IT services, facilities, logistics, fleet as well as HR services. Think of the classic holiday requests but just as much of any service linked to the employee lifecycle, such as access to tools, training and induction information for starters.
  • Collaboration: these are the work zones for daily collaboration between colleagues, project teams and joint initiatives with external parties.
  • Sharing, finding and learning: these are the areas that support the learning culture, where employees can acquire knowledge, find information and share expertise. The content is consultable at the right time and interactive learning sessions are an option.
  • Access to core business applications: these are the systems such as ERP and CRM; it is important to offer employees, who need to be involved occasionally, an improved user experience.
  • Access to personal files: this is where employees manage their personal work and store personal files.”

Paul: “In what way, and preferably the easiest way even, can you actively involve your employees in these business processes? This is true for the daily ERP user, for example the financial analyst needing access to the financials, but also for the occasional user who acts as stakeholder in structured processes, for example managers that need to sign for approval and take action based on notifications.”

Teams as entry point

Microsoft Teams allows you to have just that single entry point. Teams is mainly known as a collaboration tool, but you can also use it as a central work hub, an instrument to organize the digital workplace.

This technology boasts even more advantages that facilitate employee-centricity, rather your technology itself. All information is fully customized, tailor-made for the employee, their function, role and preferences. Services can become entirely automated. Today, automation has taken place within a tool, but in this instance, we add new features, such as bots or virtual assistants. These robots will answer standard questions automatically and only forward escalations to the respective departments. All communication (call, chat and meet) takes place within one system, no other separate tools required. With just the push of a button you can send your colleague, who published a message, a question. Within the work hub, organized work streams also have been integrated, for example an invoice approval flow or approval of a communication that needs to be published. Thanks to these optimized tasks and notifications, the entire process is managed within the work hub and no other tools, such as mails, are needed.

Last but not least, security and compliance (for example GDPR) are also integrated, enabling solid handling of information and data. You can secure data by rendering them non-downloadable or add an authentication protocol.”  

Serge: “Actually, it is all fairly simple. You are always present in your communication tool. In this hub, you now also group the rest of your applications, access points and information. Apart from the standard features of Teams, you can also plug in other EX platforms, such as Microsoft Viva, SAP Work Zone, ServiceNow Quebec. Most of the time even, companies already have this technology installed.”

Start from your vision of the digital workplace

The digital workplace of tomorrow is built around technology. Serge: “A basic requirement is expertise in these systems and applications. But technology is just one dimension of a successful digital workplace – of course there are people, information and ways of working (or processes). Determining a holistic vision of where the organization wants to go and how to tackle the challenges of the future (such as hybrid working) is part of the delaware Employee Experience roadmap. Next to the vision, we also analyze how the current situation can become the workplace of tomorrow and which steps need to be taken. The result: a plan for the mid-term, aligned with all functional departments involved, split into different tracks. We also build a clear budget and ROI. That has been our approach with our client imec, who employs a workforce of 4,000 people worldwide.”

we contacted delaware to develop a shared vision, which ended up becoming our ‘digital workplace hub’, called imec Teams, now used by everyone within imec - it is the entry point for all colleagues to gain access to all imec news, information and tools they need to do their job - thanks to the collaboration options in Teams, we can now connect more efficiently with colleagues all over the world
Katrien Marent, EVP & Chief Marketing and Communications Officer imec

“delaware not only offers vast expertise in different Employee Experience technologies, we also help our clients with the change management side of these implementations (people, information and ways of working). We facilitate the trajectory through change ambassadors and management buy-in, as well as support content generation and learning and related processes. We therefore rely on our in-house specialists”, concludes Paul.  

Feel like having a talk about a customized hub and single point of access for company info, knowledge, services, tools and applications used in your business? Serge Desaranno and Paul Belsack are more than happy to tell you all about it.

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