Harnessing a Digital Workplace Strategy

This post is excerpted from GovLoop’s recent guide, Preparing for the Era of Digital Transformation

An Interview with Michael Kennedy, Director of Public Sector Cloud Strategy and Sales, Catapult

The public sector is experiencing an unprecedented wave of change. Being coined the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” digital transformation has introduced a dizzying array of new solutions from which to choose. Agencies must select from a long list of providers to help them implement these new technologies, often finding themselves overwhelmed by the endless number of options, and unable to proceed with mission-critical initiatives.

Ultimately, agencies want to enable staff to work more securely, efficiently and collaboratively from any location, and are faced with the realization that they must act fast. As the silver tsunami approaches, agencies can’t afford to wait.

At least 30 to 40 percent of the workforce is eligible to retire, and those leaving are taking up to 25 years of public sector experience with them. Compound this with the fact that millennials made up fewer than 7 percent of the federal workforce as of 2014 and only 6 percent of millennial college graduates indicate they want to work in government. This leaves significant knowledge and skills gaps that agencies are struggling to fill. Keeping the current workforce engaged – millennials, generation Xers and baby boomers included – is essential to the success of each government organization.

One way to do this is by modernizing the workplace and giving employees tools to help them do their jobs. GovLoop sat down with Michael Kennedy, Director of Public Sector Cloud Strategy and Sales at Catapult, to discuss how government can navigate the challenges of a multigenerational workforce by adopting a digital workplace strategy.

“The biggest challenges for agencies right now are choosing which capabilities to deploy, how to configure those technologies and how to find the right technical team to make all elements coalesce. Agencies find themselves overwhelmed by the endless number of options, and unable to proceed,” Kennedy said.

For the modern workplace, easy-to-access information, streamlined user experiences and real-time collaboration are key to empowering employees, increasing productivity, and ultimately, attracting and retaining employees. Modern productivity tools such as Office 365 also help capture and categorize existing information, making accumulated knowledge more accessible to public servants.

A modern digital workplace helps drive employee engagement, which keeps more professionals in government. “When you have engaged employees, they’re four times as likely to stay in their job, five times as likely to recommend their job to friends and they’re twice as likely to achieve the strategic goals of their agency,” Kennedy said.

Public-sector organizations need to be proactive in their digital workplace strategy, creating a roadmap to modernize environments by leveraging the right digital solutions. A true digital workplace strategy is not an IT driven-initiative. It is a partnership between the agency business groups, IT leaders and instrumental team members.

Catapult supports its customers’ digital workplace strategy by providing the support of dedicated coaches. These coaches look for ways to align with business needs, identify bottlenecks to productivity, determine which capabilities will drive efficiency to maximize results and engage employees. Catapult has found success working with business groups by using a series of activities, including “Gamestorming” – think brainstorming but more fun.

“Our gamification sessions with agency employees uncover how they work daily, what is causing work challenges, and where opportunities exist to make significant improvements,” Kennedy said. “Instead of boring requirements-gathering sessions, we accomplish this through interactive games so it does not feel like work. Using gamification, we can help them identify which capabilities are right for their employees and craft a digital workplace strategy.”

Agencies receive a user journey map – which describes the user experience and benefits in business terms – and an IT roadmap with a defined plan of what capabilities to implement and how they will be customized and configured to fit the specific needs of the agency and its departments. Once implemented, it’s imperative that they take an approach that will drive user adoption of new digital solutions through an ongoing engagement model between the agency and the partner and coach.

Ultimately, digital transformation is about improving the user experience, both from employee and citizen perspectives. The digital workplace empowers employees in their jobs like never before, with technology at their fingertips and solutions that make their jobs easier so they can focus on high priority initiatives.

By harnessing the right digital workplace strategy and continuing to leverage expertise through ongoing engagement, leaders can help their workforce reap all the benefits digital transformation offers.

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