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5 Digital Workplace Innovations to Attract and Retain Top Talent

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Amanda Osuna
Amanda Osuna is manager of talent acquisition and culture at Accruent, a global software company with more than 1,000 employees.

Workplaces have drastically changed over the last decade. Way in the rear-view mirror is the standard 9-5 cubicle setting. Quite often that environment has been replaced with open spaces filled with ping-pong tables, Nerf guns and staffers whizzing by on scooters. It’s all designed to help employees feel comfortable while building a work/life balance that’s friendly and inviting. But, nowadays even those amenities aren’t always enough to attract and retain top talent.

“Record low unemployment levels and a growing skills gap are driving employers to focus on improving their overall workplace experience,” Rebecca Henderson, CEO of the HR consulting firm Randstad Sourceright, says in summing up the firm’s 2018 Talent Trends Report. “Beating the competition for talent in 2018,” she adds, “begins in the workplace.”

Shaping those experiences involves both the physical workspace and the digital technologies that employers can put in that space–automation, artificial intelligence and collaboration tools that better connect people to their physical work environments. Yet, Randstad found that only about one in 10 companies are wholly embracing the types of technologies that help create a destination workplace. Those companies are, on average, 165 percent more likely to achieve business objectives, increase revenue, save costs and see return on investments, than companies that have been slow to turn to those technologies.

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That personal profile becomes vital to shaping each person’s workplace environment and experience, particularly as organizations move to hoteling, and to flexible, configurable workspaces. These spaces offer areas for quiet work and group collaboration and provide common spaces that encourage spontaneous interaction within and across teams.

  1. Connect for collaboration.

Providing workers with continuous access to digital collaboration tools, as well as both wired and wireless Internet connectivity, is vital to delivering a fulfilling, frictionless workplace experience. Today 43 percent of American employees work remotely at least some of the time, according to a Gallop poll.

All this mobility and flexibility requires digital communication tools like a versatile, reliable video conferencing application to accommodate hybrid meetings, for example, where some participants are on-site, and others are offsite. That puts remote employees on even footing with on-site employees, allowing them to seamlessly collaborate in real time.

  1. Optimize the conference room experience.

One sure way to improve the employee experience is to enhance the overall meeting experience. That means less frequent, more to-the-point meetings, plus the ability to find space with little to no notice for brief, unplanned get-togethers. It also means ensuring that meeting room technology is in working order and in ready mode.

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Through a meeting room management app, employees could also request a space with specific technologies, so the room has the equipment they need, eliminating time waste. IoT sensors within meeting spaces can also alert the company to issues with AV equipment, for example, so technology is in working order when it’s needed.

  1. Tap into creative satellites.

There will be occasions when all the meeting rooms in an office are booked. Instead of waiting for internal space to free up, you can also set up your system to see if there’s space to meet at a nearby co-working space or coffee shop with which your company has a relationship. The employee can book space at one of those venues, and even have participants’ favorite beverages and pastries waiting when they arrive. Instead of building additional office space they might use only sporadically, the coffee shop or co-working space becomes a satellite office.

The lasting positive impressions that experiences like these create for people don’t just serve as talent magnets. When technology makes employees happier and gives them more time to focus on their work, employers reap the benefits, and the workers stay around for much longer.