Moving Toward an Enterprise Culture of Employee Trust and Empowerment

Command and control used to be IT’s modus operandi. Not anymore. Employees, tired of being directed to use approved technology that doesn’t meet their expectations, are taking matters into their own hands. They’re now choosing emerging technologies that enable them to work better and smarter, and their actions are significantly benefiting their businesses.

A new survey, The Impact of the Digital Workforce: A New Equilibrium of the Digitally Transformed Enterprise, finds companies that empower employees with easy access to their preferred apps and devices see measurable gains at both the individual and organizational levels. More independent employees are improving personal performance, as well as making decisions and taking action faster—all of which boost business competitiveness. Moreover, these gains are shifting the balance of power from IT command and control to employee trust and freedom.

Transformation of the Enterprise
Until recently, enterprise IT organizations decided what apps and computing platforms were best for employees’ work styles. IT recommended, then evaluated any proposed solution before purchasing. In the role of both owner and operator, IT centralized services. However, in return, the business lost valuable time.

Fast forward to today, and it’s clear that times are changing. IT teams now recognize employees’ needs for greater choice in when, where, and on what device they work. IT is now working harder to meet these demands while still protecting valuable enterprise data. The goal is a digital workspace strategy that empowers employees, supporting a digitally transformed enterprise poised to better compete. The digital workspace provides a unified and consistent employee experience that delivers simple, secure access to applications, services, data, and interactions across devices, networks, locations, and operating systems.

Insights From Inside
For perspective about what catalyzed and continues to fuel the transition from the old model of IT command and control to the new model of trusting and listening to employees, Radius staff spoke with VMware’s SVP and Chief People Officer, Betsy Sutter.

Radius Staff:
Why do you think the IT–frontline employee relationship model is changing?

Betsy Sutter:  
The short answer is because direct and easier access to information has become a top employee priority. There’s simply too much information in too many places, and our people need to know where and how to obtain and leverage that information to be successful. The former model of IT—housing all the data and controlling how people use our systems—is no longer conducive to real-time, agile, and cost-effective workforce transformation.

We find that when employees have direct access to the information they need, when they need it, they can do more impactful work—work that makes them more knowledgeable about their sphere of influence and better partners with their colleagues. We realized this advantage early on, and as an early adopter of software as a service (SaaS) solutions, we were able to implement a direct-access model that both enables a higher degree of productivity and provides our people with a greater amount of confidence and credibility. When IT organizations provide this kind of on-demand access, they propel their businesses forward in very meaningful ways.

Companies today must compete harder to attract and retain employees. How much does choice matter in the ways and places people are empowered to work?  

The days when prospects knew very little about the company they might soon work for are over. Just as we know more about our candidates, our candidates are very aware of what a business today offers. Everything is transparent. We know that potential employees want to join companies that provide more freedom in how and where they work. Choice is a key differentiator here at VMware. It’s one of our founding principles and core to our culture. Choice is also a key differentiator in how we create products and solutions. The digital workspace enables anytime, anywhere access from any device to the apps and data employees need, when they need it. In HR, for example, we give our newest VMware team members real-time access to what they need on day one. Enrollment details during the onboarding process are now available on an employee’s personal device, through VMware’s digital workspace solution,VMware Workspace ONE, saving time and resources and simplifying the process for our new people.

Across industries, we know teams working on new projects have gone around corporate IT, adopting solutions that better served their needs before IT could vet those products. This used to be a show stopper for IT, but lately, we’re seeing mindsets change around pushing boundaries. What’s your take?

The dizzying speed of innovation is forcing enterprises to do things differently. Here, we are comfortable with change and open to ways the business can be more agile. At VMware, the business has a great partnership with the IT organization, and we have the same goal and vision when it comes to executing solutions that are a win-win for our people. I can tell you that at VMware, Workspace ONE has been a game changer because it provides me with access to the wide variety of applications and tools I need from a single place.

I can also tell you that when employees have freedom to access and use the applications and tools they prefer, they spend their time figuring out more interesting ways to add value to the business. Every time IT executes a new vision for workforce productivity, the enterprise really raises the bar on how employees contribute. That’s great for both employees and the company.

Empowering Employees Is Good for Business
Organizations like VMware that are putting employees first are leveraging digital workspace technologies to ensure employees are fully empowered from their first to their last day of work. Adopting a digital workspace strategy enables IT to shift focus away from standardization and device-dependent services to meeting employees’ needs.

Digital workforce survey respondents reported available and easily accessible business applications improved HR efficiencies for recruiting (69 percent) and onboarding of new employees (59 percent). IT teams, for example, can give an employee an optimal start by enabling HR to populate the new hire’s enterprise app catalog in the digital workspace with the essential tools and resources he or she needs. Then, IT can allow access to those same apps and services from personal or corporate-owned devices so the employee can begin working productively sooner. Once onboard, all employees can enjoy simple access through the digital workspace to the always-available apps they need at any time, complete with the peace of mind that IT has security covered.

With research proving the benefits and innovation at stake, why aren’t more organizations considering how to drive a culture of trust and empowerment?

Learn more about the digital workspace or join the conversation at #EmployeesFirst.