I recently interviewed a cross section of industry experts for our Voices article looking at employee engagement and culture in a regulated workplace.
One of the themes we explored was the role of IT in shaping organisational culture. My panel of experts agreed that technology plays an increasingly important role in creating and sustaining healthy cultures. They also brought this into sharp focus by pointing to four areas of exciting tec development:
Simulation and gamification
Simulation and gamification
“There is a huge difference between telling someone that they need to behave with integrity and putting them in a real world, highly pressurised situation where they have to apply that behaviour whilst making complex decisions”.
People learn best through practice and practice is most effective when it replicates the complexity of real-life scenarios. The military have known this for a long time, repetitive practice of this nature develops an automatic pilot response that releases people to make difficult decisions in the face of enormous pressure.
Simulation technology can bring increasing value to areas such as conduct rules training where it can quickly serve up scenarios that truly test an individual’s practical understanding of a broad behavioural requirement. Gamification can then be the secret sauce that makes those simulations an even more engaging and memorable experience.
“I would say that this is so fundamental to the employer employee relationship as to be the number one test of a leader. What are you doing in your organisation to recognise, respect and assist every employee as an individual?”
Outside of work we are used to being treated as a unique individual by our technology. Our experience of the digital world is wrapped around our needs and wants - this level of personalised service is something we now expect.
This is also happening in the workplace – smart employers can see that the right technology can help to engage every employee by treating them as an individual. This means technology that helps firms to understand what every employee is capable of contributing to the business and what every employee needs in order to flourish.
“Technology is an accelerator and enabler in gathering and analysing information that can be of use when it comes to putting that whole jigsaw puzzle of culture together”.
Measuring and assessing culture has become a matter of concern for firms. They are aware that the regulator is taking an interest in the whole area of culture and they want to know what they should be measuring and what they should be reporting.
Technology can play an important role in assessing culture by gathering real time data about how people interact and get work done. This can help firms to understand the cultural and behavioural dynamics of their organisation that may otherwise remain hidden behind formal hierarchies and org charts.
“If employees are a firm’s greatest asset and they know the answers then collaborative technology is a means for them to share that knowledge”.
Good collaborative technology can provide the wiring for a safe, inclusive culture where knowledge flows freely. But in the wrong hands, collaboration tools can also do the opposite – this is no fault of the technology itself but rather the way that it is being used.
Collaborative solutions can deliver enormous benefits but they are also a fairly malleable type of technology that will reflect and amplify the cultural norms of an organisation. The message here is that if you want a safe, inclusive and healthy culture, don’t expect collaborative technology to do the work for you.