Authored By Neil Hand, Vice President of Tablet Product Group, and Tom Kendra, Vice President and General Manager, Systems Management

Understanding the professional and personal experiences that motivate employees is essential to creating an environment where technology can foster productivity. That’s what we learned as we joined top influencers for the Evolving Workforce Social Think Tank held in December at the #DellVenue in Austin.

  • Like it or not, business and IT leaders need to recognize that employee expectations about how and when they work have changed. The age of “always connected and on” is here and “bring your own anything” is just around the corner.
  • The first step to meeting these expectations is to listen to what employees need and develop a business strategy where technology can be an experience enabler and not a barrier. Chris Grams, president of New Kind and one of the participants, suggested IT should view themselves as “technographers” and think about how to empower employees to work in a safe way rather than “say no.”
  • The key to trusting employees to use their “technology freedom” responsibly is to be transparent—educate them, communicate with them, and then make sure they’re accountable. With freedom comes great responsibility.

Our discussion was centered on the give-and-take that exists between companies and employees in a world where technology is no longer separated into “work” and “home.”  Joining us in Austin to moderate the conversation was Charlene Li, business author and founder of Altimeter Group, along with influencers from 451 Research, Dell IT, Dropbox, Enterprise Efficiency.com, InformationWeek, Intel, Microsoft, New Kind and TECHnalysis.

About half of the group believed companies should focus on the employee first and then make technology decisions that make sense. The other half believed that organizations need to have technology policies in place (e.g., security, management, application access) and then grant employees more freedom. The great thing is that in the end, we all agreed that it’s not a linear solution and we should embrace it while adjusting as we go.  Companies need to solve for both so the result is an environment that is empowering for users and productive for the business. The IT department at Dell is actually taking this approach. Brad Hammack shared how Dell is developing “a day in the life of…” profiles (e.g., a salesperson, an engineer, etc.) so that we can meet different team members’ specific needs and help maximize productivity through technology.  

We encourage you to check out the archived livestream here, browse photos & video clips from the event and continue the conversation at #techatwork!