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The modern workplace is the new normal

By Jen Travis

You’ve just completed a major recruitment campaign and hired 200 highly skilled technology experts—a mix of full-time, freelance and variable status workers who will help you meet the increasing speed of product development across your global business. You’ve successfully onboarded each new employee with a personalized experience. A survey shows your new people feel empowered, supported, valued, and are excited to contribute to a shared success.

You did all of this in a matter of weeks. How? Five words: You lead a modern workplace.

A modern workplace:

  • can quickly respond to market changes and predict customer needs
  • brings people and technology together to innovate quickly
  • has access to deep data for more strategic decision making
  • inspires a culture of continuous feedback, growth and collaboration
  • supports employees to live their best lives 

Sounds great, right?


What is a modern workplace?

“Modern workplace” is a catch-all for all the ways work gets done today: with emerging technology, the gig economy, the automation revolution, and changing expectations of both customers and the younger generation of workers.

It’s the new normal. And if your organization isn’t thinking about it, you will get left behind.

You can also think of the modern workplace as a new lens with which to look at your business—one that considers changing human needs and how to best use technology to meet them. Leaders can create a vision for the new normal by looking through this lens at HR, operations, digital engagement, IT, and security.


Example: The modern HR department

Consider recruiting and hiring. This is a core capability of an HR department, but most HR departments can’t handle rapid, high-volume hiring of skilled talent. Nor are they typically able to personalize the onboarding experience for each new hire. But that’s exactly what’s required to meet market demands, drive greater efficiency, and build a sustainable corporate culture.

Looking through our modern workplace lens, we can see that technology like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and talent analytics can identify talent gaps, automate the recruiting process, and make onboarding more seamless.

  • Talent analytics can be used to understand the supply and demand of the skills needed, the competition in the market, and the cost data that drives your hiring strategy.
  • AI can be used to search for candidates that meet your criteria, pre-screen them, and be the first to reach and engage them with personalized messaging. You can also apply AI to the time-consuming task of interview scheduling.
  • Machine learning can also be used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of new employees by analyzing their answers to questions and offering coaching to improve skills.

These capabilities help you deliver a positive experience for new employees, build your employer brand, and strengthen your position in the market.


Bringing human-centered thinking and technology together

While technology and automation are important elements of modernization, the biggest barrier to change is people. Slalom’s experience with companies of all sizes has proven that people have to be at the center for technology to be successful in meeting business goals. People—their frames of reference, their needs, motivations, and desires—are unique and complex.

That’s why we put human-centered thinking first when it comes to the technology piece of the modern workplace. If technology doesn’t work for people, it doesn’t work—period. Human-centered thinking also means following a flexible and adaptable model for change to drive the greatest adoption.


Let’s solve together.