Today, we’re featuring a guest post from Eric Schoch, senior director for hosted collaboration in Cisco’s Collaboration organization. Eric is responsible for hosted and “as a service” solutions, strategic pricing and licensing, and business development.
There is simply no denying the increasing importance of being connected. Generation Y in particular, who grew up with mobile devices affixed almost permanently to their hands, views connectivity as one of life’s fundamental resources.
The newest addition to the workforce considers their mobile devices as an essential workplace tool to managing their workload and connecting with their colleagues on the go. While sitting in a meeting or having lunch in the break room, you can almost visualize the text bubbles hovering over crowds of this generation of workers as fingers hammer away at phones and tablets, eyes glued to the shiny screens in their hands. BYOD
But this trend goes far beyond lunch hours and happy hours. As proven by Chapter Two of the 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report, the next-generation workforce is demanding flexibility in their choice of devices in both the workplace and remote-work options, illustrating the importance of the Internet in workforce culture. Social media freedom, device flexibility, and work mobility, in the case of 30% of the study’s respondents, are more important when accepting a job than a higher salary.
Although federal agencies have made tremendous progress in reversing a sustained decline in telework participation, the objective of creating a more productive, inclusive, sustainable, and resilient federal workforce remains a work in progress.
The U.S. Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 dramatically improved the odds of success by creating Telework Managing Officers (TMOs) responsible for telework policy development and implementation in every agency. The first cadre of TMOs faces an exciting-and daunting-opportunity to create lasting impact in their agencies. They should interpret their roles broadly, to include not only the promotion of traditional telework arrangements, but also the development of mobility strategies that contribute meaningfully to agency business objectives such as productivity, inclusion, resilience, and sustainability.
Doing so will require engaging agency leadership on a range of different topics to develop an integrated plan.
The federal government is a perennial target, always subject to accusations of waste and inefficiency, among other allegations. But recent developments in technology and new legislation hold out hope for a more efficient, effective, and greener federal workforce. The U.S. Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 generated tremendous momentum toward increasing workforce mobility options for federal employees. The act paves the way for the federal government to unlock significant benefits, including greater productivity, resilience, environmental sustainability, and employee inclusion. It creates accountability for achieving these objectives in the form of telework managing officers (TMOs), senior officials responsible for telework policy development and implementation.
Realizing these objectives will require a significant departure from current practice. To date, agencies have focused on increasing telework participation rates through advertising, employee training, and resolution of technological barriers. Meaningful progress toward the act’s other goals-including emergency readiness, energy use, recruitment and retention, performance, and productivity-will require moving past first-generation strategies aimed at increasing telework participation rates and, instead, pursuing integrated mobility strategies explicitly linked to agency business objectives.
TMOs should not view the act as just another administrative burden that requires compliance. As the first TMOs assume their roles, they have a unique opportunity to use workforce mobility-including telework and a broader range of tools and systems to enable productivity anywhere, anytime, and on any device-as a catalyst to create a more flexible, productive, and inspiring federal workplace.
Achieving this vision requires a sober assessment of the current situation, an ambitious, goal-driven strategy linked to agency business objectives, and a new management posture aimed at transforming mindsets and behaviors rather than resolving technological challenges.
When I think of “Inclusion and Diversity”, I automatically think about creating a diverse and inclusive workforce environment: providing all employees with learning and development opportunities, ensuring employees with disabilities have the right tools and resources and educating all employees on how to work with people with disabilities, sending out regular communications on techniques for how to strengthen inclusion and diversity in the workplace and so forth.
Reading this article from UTalkMarketing.com this morning over a cup of coffee made me question my own definition of “Inclusion and Diversity.” I came to the conclusion that my view on this subject was far too narrow – I was focussing on it from a purely internal perspective and needed to think outside of the box and include an external perspective too. Inclusion and Diversity isn’t just about making your diverse workforce feel included; it’s also about ensuring that your customers feel included AND that their voices and their business needs lie at the heart of your business.
The author of this article, Chris Beswick, argues that businesses need to develop a relationship with their customers, look at the world from their perspective and appreciate the problems they face and the things they aspire to. Instead of focussing on their own products and services, businesses need to put greater focus on their customers’ problems and tensions – it’s not “what you do”, i.e. what you sell; what you provide, but rather “how you do it”, i.e. how you fuel innovation and differentiation.
Yet Beswick argues that true customer-centricity is only possible if you first become people-centric. In his words the only way you can provide an exceptional end-to-end customer experience is to ensure that everyone in your organisation understands how to collaborate on solving your customers’ problems.
How do you extend Inclusion and Diversity to your customers? Share your thoughts below.
Do you have an Inclusion and Diversity story to share? Please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I can’t emphasise enough just how important – and real – diversity is at Bank of America. Everything we do in the company supports one of our core values: inclusive meritocracy. For us, diversity is all about inclusion. It is not just about gender. It’s not just about ethnicity. Here, diversity and inclusion mean respecting and valuing all nationalities, cultures, religions, sexual orientation, economic and social backgrounds and disabilities. By working with our differences, we can develop innovative products for our customers and a unique environment for our associates.” Geri Thomas, global diversity and inclusion executive from the Bank of America Read More »