The reality of large numbers of individuals forming new types of teams across space and time is, historically speaking, a new phenomenon. Our understanding of mainstream theories of organization were developed at a time when human communication was primarily face-to-face and mediated by the printed word, and that system is based on a number of people working under the same roof, hermetically sealed from the outside world.
The biology of human beings has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years to communicate with each other on the basis of standing in front of each other, and it’s only since the invention of the telegraph 180 years ago that human beings have been able to communicate over great distances.
Organizations are discovering that co-operative processes in general seem far more likely to thrive than isolated selfish entities. This moves successful evolution away from the original ‘principle of natural selection’ to a more holistic, symbiotic view of adaptability, wherein success is a group or team effort.
Things change. Whilst video technology will never replace the chemistry of offline human interactions in the workplace, today’s video technology comes close enough to be able to cultivate, nurture and sustain relationships at a similar level of intimacy as experienced in the physical realm. It’s now possible for employees to create value by any means necessary, no longer dictated by organizational boundaries and relations.
We see three big benefits of pervasive video in enterprises.
Engagement is about establishing mutual respect in the workplace for what people can do and be. It happens when the business values the employee and the employee values the business, and there is a growing understanding of the importance of engagement as a medium for driving the performance and well-being of employees. Indeed, employee engagement strategies have proven to be successful in riding out economic downturns and reversing the decline of underperforming businesses.
Many factors contribute to engagement, from recruitment and onboarding to career development, pay and rewards, but research suggests that the tools provided to enable flexible, autonomous and remote working are a major factor in sustaining high levels of engagement.
Engagement and well-being increase when people learn how to flexibly fit work and life together, day-to-day and at major life transitions, in a way that benefits them and the business. Cisco’s simple modern video meeting solutions offer consumer grade experiences that enable employees to work any time, any place and on any device to meet the work-life balance needs of employees. Employee engagement used to be optional but now it’s pretty much the whole game.
Employee productivity is arguably the most important measure that determines the profitability and long-term viability of a business. This idea of doing better with less constantly occupies the agenda of senior leaders because pay and rewards are the single biggest cost in all companies (with property costs running a very close second).
Productivity matters because not only does it drive growth through higher performance and profits but it also supports higher wages, stronger public revenues and greater social prosperity. That’s why in all quarterly or annual reports of publicly listed companies, increasing productivity is featured as a high priority business imperative, and equally applies to private owned companies.
Recent research suggests that world class collaboration technologies are seen by business leaders as making one of the highest contributions to improving employee productivity. It finds that businesses using digitally enhanced working to improve performance are thought more likely to succeed when they are well adopted.
People will work for you, and give you their best, when they have some degree of control over how, when and where they do their jobs, and manage their lives. This control relies heavily on technologies that give managers and senior leaders visibility of productivity and confidence about predicting output, deliverables and milestones.
Whilst many factors contribute to attracting and retaining the best talent, one of the most important is enabling people to work remotely, near home or from home.A recent study conducted by Stanford University researchers found letting employees work remotely or from home made them happier, less likely to quit, and more productive. Other research has consistently found that flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job.
And is the best talent even the right way of looking at this? We have a so called ‘war on talent’, when compelling research suggests this isn’t actually the problem. Recent research found that basketball and soccer teams with the greatest proportion of elite athletes performed worse than those who have more moderate proportions of top-level players who are much, much better at team work.