Changing With The Times: How Technology is Affecting Company Culture | When we think of what makes people love their jobs, there are a few factors that come into play. Having a decent boss, friendly coworkers, a company goal to be proud of, and a positive work environment all come to mind. Ultimately, these are all factors of a larger concept: company culture.
Sure, it’s been said about a million times — company culture is the key to having a successful business and happy employees. It’s linked to greater productivity, higher long-term retention rates, and more successful new employee recruitment. Culture defines what makes a company a good place to work and now more than ever employees value that fact.
But the very balance of company culture is changing under our feet whether we are working towards a great one or not. Technology is altering the way business is done, and that means that company culture is inherently going to change with it. These changes are necessary to stay relevant, but is there a way to both incorporate the latest and greatest tech without losing a valued culture?
The Tech Revolution is Now
In nearly every industry and every aspect of the workplace, technology is having a significant impact. From healthcare to marketing to education technology is making a large positive difference in company work plans. Even industries we typically don’t associate with technology are transforming.
Take fleet management for instance. Soon, we can expect that artificial intelligence (AI) will be behind a line of autonomous vehicles that are likely to hit the market in our lifetimes. There are already several checks and balances that use AI, including cruise control and lane departure tracking. Additionally, data is collected to analyze trends for greater efficiency and driver safety such as:
- Tracking the number of hours driven
- Reducing idle time
- Identifying fastest/safest routes
- Limiting the risk of stolen vehicles
- Improving dispatching
- Reducing costs
Industries in the marketing realm are incorporating big data analysis to determine customer preferences and target new demographics. Healthcare leaders are beginning to use blockchain technology to protect patient information. As well as educators who are capitalizing on virtual reality to give their students an in-depth look at subject matter. Wherever you go, cutting-edge technology is becoming more and more mainstream.
Ready, Set, Adapt
For most employers, this means the time to start making changes in company policy and direction is now. Believe it or not, most seem to realize this — an estimated 96% of companies are planning a redesign in the next couple of years. However, only half of HR employees believe they are ready to reskill employees and only 18% of employees feel ready to go through a big company transformation.
When it comes to something like blockchain in healthcare, this is a big deal. There are plenty of examples of the technology beginning to make its way into the industry such as secure storage for private medical information and efforts to track counterfeit prescription medications. Adapting employees to new technology more broadly is one of the next steps in the process.
This means it is going to take some time to get everyone on board with some of the changes. A lot of this is going to come down to having exceptional managers who can help everyone adapt. Managers who aim to preserve company culture are empathetic and realize that change impacts people in a lot of obvious and unsuspected ways; some employees prefer the status quo while others, such as younger employees, are often more willing to shake things up.
Effective managers are patient but also persistent in their message that these changes are important to the company and employees. In the post-COVID workplace, one of the best ways a manager can work with these varying styles is to implement asynchronous work. Similar to asynchronous learning common in online programs, this style of work allows all employees to set their own hours. As long as employees complete specific assignments, goals, and projects, the hours they work are dictated by them. There are no set office hours but this gives all generations of workers the flexibility to create their own hours.
The McKinsey 7 model is a productive one to incorporate when strategizing and incorporating technology, especially when it comes to soft elements. Keeping these at the forefront of your mind during change will help to preserve what makes your company special. Your drive, direction, employees, creativity, and collaborative skills aren’t things that will go away. Rather they should be enhanced with new technologies, for instance, in the competitive marketing world.
Making Organizational Change Work
Changes may also mean a shift in branding and company direction. It is important to remember change is essential to success and that every company has to go through this at some point. Taking the right steps to encourage employees to embrace, contribute to, and collaborate during the change is hard, but it is also an important aspect of success.
Saying that a change in direction or policy is coming is easy. Even introducing new tools can be easy. The difficult part is getting employees to buy in, use the tools, and make a habit of striving to reach the goals that are attainable with new technology. Doing this requires a clear message, the ability to generate excitement and motivation, and a clean, easy introduction.
An example of this is the creation of a corporate wellness program. Many larger organizations have these programs, but in the wake of COVID, they may be more important than ever for organizations of all sizes. You can create and track all wellness program elements via online portals or company intranet services, and even use employees’ personal wearables such as watches or fitness trackers to contribute to the program.
Corporate wellness programs should start with auditing what you already have in place. You may have some small practices in place that can be built on, such as monthly challenges. How can these be integrated into a larger program that can offer incentives such as reduced premiums for insurance? These incentives will help employees embrace the wellness program and the changes it brings about.
Finally, it is important to realize that not all change is made (or should be made) for the benefit of company profits. Rather, embracing new technologies could improve the triple bottom line of your company by giving you new tools to increase your positive impact and reach your ultimate goals. It can also help you to reduce your impact while bringing more people together.
Technological changes are bound to have an impact on your company and the culture that you are fostering. With the right mindset and management strategy, these impacts can be beneficial and company culture preserved. Ultimately, tech advances may help you focus more on your triple bottom line and improve your ability to reach company goals together.