Tamara Littleton doesn't think a change is coming. She thinks a change is already here. As CEO of Emoderation, an agency providing community management and social media consultancy, it's her job to anticipate industry transformation and help clients pivot. Well, the time for pivoting has come.
Tamara's expertise is why we invited her to take part in the influencer event we held in London in December in partnership with the IBM #NewWayToWork initiative. #NewWayToWork explores how the workplace is evolving in the face of collaborative technologies, and this event specifically highlighted influencers in the UK and Ireland. We hosted an exclusive handful of digital thought leaders to discuss innovations, challenges, and next steps.
Littleton couldn't attend the event in person, but she generously answered a few of our questions about the biggest challenges in social business.
We Communicate, Therefore We Are
Communication remains the key, even in the face of change. As new technologies make workforces more and more isolated, Littleton says leaders need to take it upon themselves to make sure communication strategies change with the tech.
"Changes in technology and social media have led to an 'always-on' expectation, and as a result communications need to be fast and short," Littleton says, pointing out that this often leads to miscommunications.
At Emoderation, they make sure to use several different channels to communicate in case certain workers prefer one over the other, and they use video calls to "avoid over-reliance on the written word."
What should be next for organizations that really want to prepare for a fully-integrated workforce? Littleton says companies should invest in "shared hubs that give remote workers the social aspect of a workplace at home." Shared hubs can encourage a mix of quick and fast communication and a genuine exchange of ideas, giving employees the best of both worlds.
A More Flexible Workplace
"The new employee is already here," Littleton says. "Now it's more about how the culture of the company rewards and encourages all of the great new behavior we're seeing."
Littleton says that companies will see increased employee loyalty if they offer rewards in the form of transparency and hyper-involvement. Not only will that cultivate a happier workforce, it will also function as ethical best practices. In any case, whether or not you're prepared for the employee of the future, they're who's knocking at your door. A company-wide approach to transparency and involvement has twofold benefits: it will attract cutting edge employees, and foster the kind of culture that produces excellent service for your clients.
On a more fundamental level, Littleton says things like adapting to a flexible work schedule can make your organization one for future employees.
"Four-day weeks, working evenings, and sabbaticals [allow] people to have outside work interests," says Littleton. "Well-rounded individuals are a great asset."
Give your employee room to flex her individual interests, and she will pay you back. That kind of trust from the top down engenders workforce loyalty, which is never bad for a company.
The bottom line is that communication and trust should rise above any growing pains. Littleton says the number one thing employers need to keep in mind is to make space for social contact and individual growth when it comes to employees. She says leaders should err on the side of over-communication, and encourage the use of social media, video contact, and face-to-face contact when possible.
If you focus on that, Littleton says, you will maintain the sense of "happiness, curiosity, and fun" that should come with going to work.
Are you ready to embrace the future of work? Tools like IBM Verse can help. Guided by powerful analytics to help you prioritize the people and projects you need to focus on, this new enterprise email and collaboration solution from IBM will help free your employees up to focus on what they do best. Learn more at www.ibm.com/Verse.
And to read more influencer insights about the future of work, visit IBM.com/FutureofWork or follow #NewWayToWork on Twitter. We'd love to know how you think work is changing in the UK and Ireland as well as the rest of the world.