Charting a Course for Modernizing Hybrid Work

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The hybrid workforce is here to stay, and that is creating new pressures on IT to equip remote workers with the tools they need in order to participate as fully engaged members of the workforce.

Mark Slaga is on the front lines of this campaign. As general manager and global practice lead for digital workplace services at Kyndryl, he drives the company’s strategy for helping IT leaders adapt to the new normal. Here we explore key challenges those leaders face.

Q: What are the main challenges IT leaders face in supporting the hybrid workforce?

A: The focus should be on the human experience, making sure employees are comfortable with the tools and applications and that they work properly. Employees need to work from anywhere, not just as individuals but in collaboration with teams and customers.

It’s about making the digital workplace a “team sport” and providing employees with a “virtual cockpit” that combines all the tools they need to collaborate effectively and be productive. It should be just as easy for employees to participate in company activities from their dining room table as in a company boardroom.

There is a causality between employee and customer experience. If employees’ work experiences are frustrating, they have to dig deeper to convey a positive experience to customers. Organizations that can build a seamless consumer-like experience for employees across their digital touchpoints can also recruit better, retain better, and enjoy higher productivity and satisfaction.

Q: What technologies and/or strategies are key to enabling the digital workplace?

A: There are two major shifts we are looking at. The first is digital experience management. We are now able to continually monitor the user’s experience to continually identify and resolve technical issues that affect satisfaction. We can use analytics, AI, and automation to fix issues before they break something; provide proactive support when needed; and deliver secure, seamless consumer-like experiences.

The lines are also blurring between IT automation and employee automation. Employees are serving their own needs like requesting time off in Workday or setting their own work schedules. Supporting them gives remote users more control over how they get their work done.

Q: How do analytics, automation, and AI change the game?

A: At Kyndryl we strive to fix things before they break so employees don’t need to contact support. And when they do need help, we can get the problem fixed as soon as possible. When an end user calls, Kyndryl technologies equip the service desk agent to know not only who is calling but also why. That’s a great experience for users but also a factor in service agent satisfaction.

We’ve even incorporated employee experience metrics into the way we write contracts with customers, by creating commitment-based experience-level agreements.

Q: How do you see the digital workplace continuing to evolve?

A: We’re at an inflection point: Employees are getting used to working in a hybrid environment, but they want a better experience. Organizations are challenged with fostering and nurturing their culture across a diverse population of remote and in-office employees. We’re helping customers create great employee experiences across all their digital touchpoints.

Having a digital workplace is also now a recruiting and retention technique. People who feel they can’t participate in the culture remotely will look for employers who can better accommodate them.

For more information on Kyndryl’s digital workplace services, download the white paper “The Modern Worker Experience” or visit kyndryl.com/services/digital-workplace.