Work Smart Coaching
Flexible, modern working methods, known as Work Smart, are conquering the workplace. This transition entails some difficulties, and around 70% of all change projects fail. Experts advise getting professionals on board.
Text: Jörg Rothweiler, 23
New technologies make smart working methods possible. Knowledge is made available and it is possible to work from anywhere. Companies need to make adjustments in order to benefit from the positive effects of this. As a rule, the greater the involvement of employees in the change processes, the more successful the Work Smart concept will be in the organisation. By addressing the topic of Work Smart or introducing modern workplace and collaboration technologies into the company, you are already taking the first step into a smart future. The next step is to establish the new working methods and support the cultural transition. Everyone has to change their thinking: employees as well as management, the HR department and senior management. This mindset change is by no means trivial – and can be too much for quite a few companies.
Dr. Johann Weichbrodt is an organisational psychologist and research associate of the University of Applied Psychology in the University of Applied Sciences of Northwestern Switzerland. After many years of research on mobile and flexible working methods and the change processes these necessitate, he advises companies to get external professionals on board to set up efficient Work Smart methods: coaches who assist the demanding change process intensively, define necessary guidelines, establish new technologies and provide close support and advice to enable the mindset change to happen on all levels (technology, space, forms of cooperation, culture).
Swisscom provides exactly this with Work Smart Coaching. Based on Swisscom’s own experiences as a leading Swiss company for new working models, Swisscom advocates a change process structured into three steps.
Experienced Work Smart coaches from Swisscom analyse the existing processes together with the customer and, based on his effective needs, identify obstacles and opportunities and develop a project vision together. This vision shows how working together in the company can be organised in the future. The precise significance of Work Smart for the company in question is defined – and which processes and technologies must be adapted, changed, replaced or re-established from the ground up. Instead of using classic consulting strategies in which the concepts established are steered and driven from outside, Swisscom’s coaches advocate an intrinsic approach. Co-Creation means that the essential goals of Work Smart, as well as the technological and cultural requirements for the achievement of these goals, are defined by the employees inside the company. This is because the employees are the best consultants when it comes to internal processes and workflows, and they know the specific needs of the company better than any external consultant.
To enable this transition “from the inside out” to succeed, the Swisscom coaches establish an effective Work Smart community at the customer’s company. This group consists of motivated employees from different departments and, with the assistance of the Work Smart coaches, it develops a roadmap tailored to the company and the goals it aspires to for its journey to the workplace of the future. This intrinsic approach enables the internal cultural transition necessary for a successful change process to begin on day one. The community, i.e. the colleagues of these employees, supports and strengthens the change process and functions as a driving force and motivator. This enables the Work Smart project to pick up speed and get “ready for take-off”.
The desire for new working processes cannot function if the employees don’t know which methods and technologies they are to work with in the future, or how they are to use them. Individual preconditions, circumstances and needs must also be taken into account. The participants are actively trained at their workplace, in workshops or using printed or digital information material in how to best use the new technologies and methods – to the advantage of each individual and therefore of the entire company.
The initial and further training is driven from within, i.e. by the Work Smart community, in which – as with the idea of Co-Creation – the focus is always on the people. By means of role-specific use cases and sustainable, practical empowerment of the employees, the inevitable doubts and resistance that arise with any change process can be countered. The next generation of Swisscom supports the empowerment process by means of Reverse Mentoring. The trainees circulate in the companies and visit the employees at their workplace. This enables the coaches to address individual questions directly.
This practical internalisation of the transition, motivated by the community and supported by the Swisscom coaches, opens up doors to the necessary change in mindset – and thus to the long-term success of Work Smart. Step by step, “smart” working is learned, and acceptance and enthusiasm about its advantages grow continually, until Work Smart finally becomes normality and all of the employees actually “live” the new working culture in their everyday lives.
Work Smart coaching: an integrated approach
After change is before change. The more intensively the new working tools are used and the Work Smart concept is lived in the company, the more visible the advantages become. And the more consistently the cultural transformation is established in the company, the greater the probability that no further coaching will be needed. On the other hand, as with any transition, time also brings new, further-reaching questions which must be answered in an adequate and timely manner in order to maintain the established “flow of change” at a consistently high level.
This is why the Swisscom specialists continue to assist their customers where needed, and support them in the event of queries or changing challenges. On request, an assessment can be carried out to analyse how well the technologies and working methods have been received in the company, and whether and where potential is still unused. Depending on the result, further steps are initiated so that, at the end of the Work Smart Coaching, all of the employees feel empowered – and smart working has gone from being a slogan to a successfully lived reality.
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