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Adventure digitalisation: but where does that leave the employees? Photo: Anne Spratt, StockSnap.io

Everyone’s talking about digitalisation and Work 4.0. No doubt about it, this subject is a must for human resource managers and other “work designers”, especially as they are still not putting on a particularly good show (see the example given here). Despite all the eagerness to move forwards, we would like to remind everyone of the main point and purpose of this venture: technology is supposed to serve people, i.e. the employees. Are we in danger of forgetting the employees by being preoccupied with digitalisation? We want to take a closer look at this question inspired by the main theme of the exhibition Zukunft Personal, ”Work 4.0 – The Employee Experience”. We hereby call upon everyone to take part in the Blog Carnival: Digital Employee Experience #DigiEmX.

#ZP16 @ZukunftPersonal calls upon to take part in the Blog Carnival: Digital Employee Experience #DigiEmX Click To Tweet

Doubts about the usefulness of many a technology trend are justified. Office workers fritter away 20 working days a year with slow, outdated or complicated technology, reported the newspaper FAZ recently based on a representative survey of more than 1,000 office workers in Germany which had been commissioned by the office equipment supplier, Sharp Business Solutions: “The document’s disappeared, the computer’s round the bend, the printer has gone on strike: daily working life in Germany,” according to the article. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t recognise this situation from their own daily work? And that doesn’t take into account the diverse activities on social networks and internal exchange platforms that don’t always run smoothly either on a technical level or just generate additional work.

“Horror manifests itself differently in every type of management system,” said Gunter Dueck, a keynote speaker at the Zukunft Personal, when he spoke with this blog in an interview – and attracted a lot of support on all social media channels. He is basically talking about another phenomenon of the Employee Experience: technology has opened up new opportunities for us but we haven’t yet found  the right organisational forms for them. He provides a very simple example. These days everyone is in contact by e-mail or via social media with everyone else in the organisation – from the office assistant to the CEO. Classic hierarchies or matrix management can no longer reasonably represent such structures. Or as Gunter Dueck puts it: common sense tends to get lost on the way.

#Blogparade Employee Experience #DigiEmX voyage of discovering #digitalisation Click To Tweet

The boardroom perspective of digitalisation is also interesting. You get can an idea of the general mood from the position paper “Designing digital transformation – what HR Directors say about the future of work”. The renowned group of participants included for example Immanuel Hermreck (Bertelsmann), Katharina Heuer (DGFP), Heiko Hutmacher (Metro), Christian Illek (Telekom), Melanie Kreis (Post), Janina Kugel (Siemens), Zhengrong Liu (Beiersdorf), Horst Neumann (ex-Volkswagen), Stefan Ries (SAP) and Bettina Volkens (Lufthansa). The group of participants met twice, the moderators were Thomas Sattelberger and Henning Kagermann. According to a comment made by Professor Dr Christian Scholz (University Saarbrücken) however, they forgot one thing: the Employee Experience. The misconception lies in making digitalisation the subject according to Scholz: “It is not the people that should have to adjust to a pre-determined “digitalisation” but rather we should be designing digitalisation for people.”

It should by now be clear that the voyage of discovery does not start with the employees: “Candidate Experience” is increasingly becoming a compulsory subject for recruiters. Applicants have some strange experiences when they start looking for jobs  – for example when trying to fill in online application forms, applying for jobs from a mobile device or when faced with digital communication. Sometimes candidates have no experience whatsoever because the job advertisements or company website simply cannot be found. Experiences arising from the increasing use of “Robot Recruiting” are likely to be controversial, a trend that is reflected in the programme of the Zukunft Personal under the heading “Recruiting between man and machine”.

Call to take part in Blog Carnival

These are just a few ideas on the subject. You are welcome to develop these ideas further, in completely different directions and ways that we may not have thought of here…

What experiences have you had in the digital working world so far? We are looking forward to hearing about any successful or misdirected digitalisation in the working world that you would like to share or what suggestions for improvement occur to you. Take us on your very own personal Employee Experience voyage of discovery!

A few questions to inspire you:

  • What do you think: how do employees perceive the digitalisation initiatives in their company – positively or negatively?
  • Do new software programs and networking platforms really serve the wishes and requirements of employees in the workplace?
  • Do robots, algorithms etc. really make work easier?
  • What new forms of organisation do we need so that we can actually use all the advantages of technology?
  • How are employees prepared for the use of new technology? Do companies do enough for the training of employees?
  • The working world is becoming more and more flexible and “liquid”. In this connection, are the expectations of staff balanced by the company’s offers for more flexible working?
  • What solutions are you aware of that are still not used enough and that could improve the employee experience of digitalisation?
  • How do new technical possibilities impact on humanity in the workplace? Do they specifically create more opportunities for diversity and integration?
  • What role does the (digital) Employee Experience play in recruiting and what role does it play in employer branding?
  • In your opinion, what are the biggest obstacles to a successful digitalisation that would also win over employees?


When is the Blog Carnival taking place?

From now – 31.10.2016

The hashtag is:  #DigiEmX

Would you like to write a contribution on this subject? Then you are warmly invited to take part in the Blog Carnival! Simply link this contribution in your article and post your link in our comments.

We will be publishing a summary of the Blog Carnival on this blog after 31.10.2016. We will be publishing all the posts from the Blog Carnival in an e-book – as we did last year. So anyone posting a contribution as a comment, agrees to its use in the e-book. We will then of course make this available as a free download.

We hope you enjoy taking part in the Blog Carnival and look forward to receiving many exciting, creative and critical contributions!

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