Connecting the movement

Recently I heard from an HR leader at one of the worlds largest retailers, about how he spends two weeks of every year working as a delivery driver in the company. This experience helps him to bring to life the impact of the decisions he makes from his office. He gets direct contact with customers and gains another perspective of work in the company. Richard Branson is known for collecting similar feedback, by walking around the cabin during his Virgin flights and talking directly to the crew and passengers. There is nothing particularly new about “walking the floor” so to speak, but there is no reason for this experience to be confined to management. We should all be looking for ways to expand our awareness of the many connection points of our work. Enabling us to work connected, learn more and discover cross sections of innovation.

Traditionally companies and employees have followed a very linear approach to getting work done. Employees placed into boxes, within tidy hierarchical org charts. Guided along carefully planned career paths climbing individual corporate ladders. This approach provided predictability and an ability to plan for the long term. It was safe to choose a career, develop your skills and progress as you gained more experience. There was no real need to step outside the silo, or wander into other departments. Just get your tasks done and follow the path.

The modern workplace has transformed. Skills are quickly outdated and professions decommissioned — jobs that were around 10 years ago, either do not exist today or have significantly different skills and requirements.

With change as the norm, we need to prepare for careers where we are continuously learning and building connections.

We can’t all be “walking the floor” every day, but we can create environments that build employee mindsets over quickly outdated skillsets. Where we can step out of the day-to-day and create connections across the ecosystem.

Learning from the network orchestrators

The digital age has inspired a new wave of companies operating as network orchestrators. Companies such as eBay, AirBNB and Alibaba, connect and activate their network of peers to tap into new sources of value.

Network Orchestrators, create a network of peers in which the participants interact and share in the value creation. They may sell products or services, build relationships, share advice, give reviews, collaborate, co-create and more.

In the same way that these companies enable participants to connect and share in the value creation across networks, companies can do the same internally. Enabling employees to participate and interact across the company ecosystem to ideate, share and ultimately cocreate.

Enterprise social networks and modern work practices such as WOL Circles, encourage employees to colearn within social learning circles. Connecting across networks takes employees out of their daily environment and provides time in their day to develop the mindset they require to work connected. A form of “walking the floor” in trusted peer groups.

Katharina Krentz from the cocreation team at Bosch, recently shared employee feedback from their implementation of WOL circles.

Forming a connected solution

As more process driven work is automated, we need to be advancing our intuitive capabilities. For so long, we have put too much emphasis on operating on rational thought and focusing on the near term. This has led to burnt out employees, disconnected from their responsibilities and a breakdown in company culture.

Working connected, allows employees to work in the flow, use their intuition and make decisions based on human experience. It encourages people to work with each other, seek diverse perspectives and enable collective knowledge. An internal orchestrated network that feeds a collaborative and innovative culture.

If you keep trying to solve the same problems the way you always have, nothing will change. You need to bring together people from different disciplines and try to solve things in another way.

A community for connected work

We created Connectle as a community of practice, to help professionals, innovators and companies learn together and cocreate the connected workplace. A place to allow each of us to “walk the floor” and increase our awareness. With so much change to how, what and where we work — we must collectively develop environments where employees feel connected and thrive. Connectle aims to connect the movement that is already happening, bringing together all those that are working so hard to create better workplaces. The various institutions, education providers, companies, networks, teachers, dreamers, visionaries, leaders and workers, all craving for a better way to work.

Join the movement
If you believe in the importance of connected work, please join our network and participate in the conversation. The more people connected in the network, the stronger our voice in embedding and creating connected work in our workplaces.

Join the Connectle Council
In the same way that B Corporation looks to “use business as a force of good” and the B Team looks “to catalyse a better way of doing business, that prioritises the wellbeing of people and the planet”, we are urging companies to be part of the solution. To pledge your commitment as a company and empower your employees to contribute to the solution, please join The Connectle Council.

Thanks for being a part of our movement.