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Putting people first when adopting collaboration technologies

In our last blog 'The future of collaboration is now', we introduced a key theme of putting people first. Deloitte and Workplace from Meta have continued this conversation with a range of communication and HR leaders, specifically on how to engage a varied workforce using a connected technology ecosystem and human centric approach.

Engaging with and connecting your entire workforce is fast becoming a priority. In Deloitte’s 2021 Human Capital Trends, well-being is identified as key to sustaining productivity in a remote-working world. This is felt even more keenly by frontline workers. According to Workplace from Meta’s research ‘Deskless Not Voiceless’, 86 per cent of employees feel connected to their team, but only 14 per cent feel connected to their headquarters.

Frontline workers are central to engagement and productivity given their impact on customers and, in turn, profit. Yet 54% claim they feel voiceless. Deloitte’s alliance with Workplace from Meta focuses on connecting this typically non-office, customer facing workforce to the rest of the business.

So how can we put people at the heart?

When adopting technology that creates good human centred experiences, three principles are key:

1. One size doesn’t fit all

Deloitte’s analysis has found that only 14 per cent of leaders are completely satisfied with their organisation’s current ability to communicate and collaborate. Diverse workforces have different communication, channel and content requirements. It is important, therefore, that worker types are considered when selecting from best in breed tools to form your technology ecosystem. We know the frontline workforce can be harder to engage due to limited access to corporate resources. This can be addressed by asking the workforce how best to communicate with them and what content is most impactful (see point 3).

We have seen amazing results for employees when technology is designed around their specific needs. Working with Public Sector agencies, we deployed a single technology platform aiming to improve collaboration and communication both internally and with their external partners. By engaging with the workforce and taking a user-driven approach, our team was able to deliver technology that met users’ needs, in a way aligned to their role type, driving high levels of adoption and engagement.

2. Connected technology ecosystems present a real opportunity

To keep frontline and office workers connected, their collaboration and knowledge sharing tools benefit from being connected. If organisations use integrated tools to make everyday processes easier and quicker, the workforce will have more time to think creatively and focus on rewarding tasks. Which in turn gives employees a greater sense of ownership and pride in their roles. This connected work-tech ecosystem is something we’re currently developing and testing with organisations.

Just imagine…trouble shooting incidents in the experience enabled world: The digitisation of supply chains is creating work outcomes that require increasingly cross-functional teams. For these teams to operate effectively, being connected is critical, especially in the case of issue resolution. Having the ability to gather key stakeholders in a virtual group to simultaneously engage with each other, via instant chat and group video calls, being fed knowledge articles and connections based on the conversation in the group and being able to keep a ticketing system updated automatically, will increase fix first time rates and quality fixes significantly.

3. Closing the feedback loop is key

Feedback from the frontline, whether from customers or employees, should reach leadership and the rest of the business in ways that inspire action. This could be done via surveys and/or sentiment analytics as organisations can then better understand employee and customer reactions to respond sensitively. Such approaches enable the closure of the feedback loop and gives employees a sense of value. At one large retailer, a two-way dialogue channel empowered local teams to have a significant impact on the leadership agenda and ways of working.

An example of how we have enabled our clients to obtain greater insights has been to use of an Online Collaboration Platform. We have been able to host interactive conversations with employees and get a true understanding of their current experiences. For one of our TMT clients, our team were able to engage with over 300 members of their workforce in the space of four hours.

What difference does this make?

High employee engagement and experience increases productivity and profitability. High impact employee experience organisations are 1.6 times more likely to achieve better customer outcomes, and 25 per cent more profitable. To ensure quality customer service, organisations must connect with the heart of the organisation; the frontline workforce.

If you would like to talk more about the themes explored above, please contact Rupert Darbyshire.

Meet the author

Rupert Darbyshire


Rupert is a Partner in Deloitte’s Human Capital and Technology, Media and Telecoms businesses, helping clients to understand and manage the impact of digital transformation on their customers, business and workforce. His particular focus is on the impact of digital transformation on humans, and of humans on digital transformation, where he leads globally.

For more Future of Work insights, check out our Humanising the Future of Work podcast

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