This article originally appeared in Forbes and is reprinted by permission.
Employees’ expectations for their work experiences have changed dramatically in the last couple of years. Many employees are now vested in the model of the hybrid workplace and in working for a business that promotes an employee-centric culture. Companies have to start looking through their staff’s eyes to create the solutions, processes and policies that will drive the collaborative equity that’s so critical to fulfilling new expectations—and to propelling business success.
Organizations that embrace collaborative equity follow two fundamental principles: They place a priority on ensuring that employees know their voices are being heard and have the right tools to effectively interact with their colleagues, even if they’re not all together in the office. Remote workers don’t want to feel that their influence on business planning, projects and innovations is diminished because they’re not physically present. These companies also make certain that—no matter where employees sit in the corporate hierarchy or where they are located—they enjoy streamlined processes and seamless access to the data they need to fully participate in the life of the business.
Collaborate In The Metaverse
Every company needs to create that kind of atmosphere for its valuable team members. One approach enterprises are starting to think about is using the metaverse to support collaborative equity and information sharing in a more effective way, especially in a hybrid workplace. In the metaverse, businesses can level the participation playing field by having everyone attend a meeting on a virtual campus in a virtual conference room, whether or not they are on-site. They also can encourage those valuable “water cooler” moments for employees by creating virtual lounges or other places for casual catch-ups, which might spur new ideas and closer collaboration on projects. And they can plan monthly just-for-fun events like scavenger hunts and Frisbee games—maybe even with VR headsets to take the experience to the next virtual reality level. As people get to know their colleagues better and interact in a more personal way, they’re more likely to tap each other for advice and support on projects.
We’ve taken all this on in our DXC Virtual World: We are a virtual-first company, and as such, the metaverse is proving invaluable for our 130,000-plus employees to have opportunities to engage with each other in activities of all types. We’re running private meetings; big events (we hosted more than 1,300 attendees in a recent virtual sales conference); training (now in pilot for all employees); and parties (like our New Year’s celebration, complete with dancing and speedboat rides).
Providing a truly inclusive environment—in virtual and real worlds—requires leaders in HR, business and IT to collaborate on some important issues. Together, they must make smart choices about how their technology, process and policy decisions will affect workers’ ability to have immediate and secure access to the applications and data they need—regardless of location and device.
Collaborative equity depends a great deal on ensuring employees don’t have to struggle with cumbersome processes. For example, we have seen organizations implement overly cautious security processes for remote workers to access their PCs by installing maximum security agents that result in these employees sitting through a 10-minute reboot every morning. This is not a step toward collaborative equity.
Gain Insight To Guide Your Decisions
The first step to improving the employee experience and collaborative equity within your organization is knowing what people think and how they feel. DXC has been developing creative ways to help our customers measure employee sentiment and discover areas of focus to improve user experience. Our Experience Platform, DXC UPtime, can pull in sentiment data, device health data and experiential data. Our Modern Workplace Experience Cube then gives an isometric view of experience and employee sentiment, accumulating experience data based on users’ emotional responses to a service and combining that with operations and technology data to deepen an understanding of problem areas.
Companies empowered with this knowledge can take steps to revamp technology, processes or policies to improve their workers’ situations for long-term success. Business leaders will realize that success isn’t on the table, for example, when an employee who needs access to an application for data that will be crucial to participating in a business decision hasn’t been granted access to that system, and the process to allow access is long-winded. In a case like this, collaborative equity is compromised, and the employee experience suffers.
In the modern workplace, you need to sharply focus on maintaining the ties that bind collaborative equity and a satisfying employee experience. Only when these are strong will a company thrive.