Build Your “A Team” to Create a Cohesive Digital Workplace

Digital business transformation requires a digital workplace.

The CEO of a large financial services firm drops into the office of his CIO, Pat. The CEO tells Pat:

Because of the board’s growing interest in digital business, we’ve decided to create a digital workplace program. I have selected you as the digital workplace leader for our company. The first thing I’d like you to do is recruit your digital workplace team. Let’s meet in a week so that we can discuss how the team will achieve the company’s digital workplace objectives.

Questions cross Pat’s mind: Where do I start when building a digital workplace team? What capabilities will I need? Where will I find the right people? Where should I look within the company? Will I need to recruit from other organizations?

“CIOs know how to build teams with technical specialists; however, building the A Team requires thinking more broadly to include individuals who combine the perspectives of the digital workplace leader, HR and facilities management,” says Carol Rozwell, Distinguished VP Analyst, Gartner.

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A Teams have three types of members: Core, critical and casual.

Core members of the A Team

The A Team requires people who can envision how new technologies, processes and work styles can be applied to meet workforce needs and enhance employee effectiveness. The three core roles that make up the A Team are:

  1. Digital workplace leader: The CIO (or the member of the IT organization who takes on this responsibility) will need a proven track record of leading and working with complex, multidisciplinary talent teams, deep knowledge of employee-facing services and strategic technology planning experience.
  2. Human resources manager: This role will need an intimate understanding of the talent needs across the entire organization, as digital workplace programs are coupled with the employee experience. This individual will need to identify the changes to behaviors and leadership that are pivotal when designing a digital workplace strategy.
  3. Facilities manager: Employee work environment has a significant impact on effectiveness and engagement, yet only 34% of workers actually like their work space. As a result, the facilities manager will need to focus on the physical design of the work space to match the needs of a modern workforce. This means creating a more-flexible, smarter and better-connected space.

Critical members of the A Team

After establishing the core members of the A Team, the digital workplace leader will need to establish its critical team members: Business unit leader, business process analyst and the corporate communications professional. They are the members of the A Team who will:

  • Develop the business case for the new digital workplace initiative and establish the measures by which success is determined.
  • Redesign work activities that increase employee commitment and engagement and subsequently improve business results.
  • Ensure that employees are provided with regular updates or communications to keep them aware of and excited about the opportunity of a better workplace.

Casual members of the A Team

These members are consulted on an ad hoc basis, depending on the specific digital workplace project underway. They will mostly come from IT. For example, enterprise architects could join the A Team to ensure that the architecture supports the digital workplace vision, or IT specialists might embark on a mobile app development project.

Others (coming from legal and compliance or security and risk, for example) will participate as needed to protect business operations.

This article has been updated from the original, published on September 6, 2017, to reflect new events, conditions or research.

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Gartner clients can read more in the report "Build Your 'A Team' to Lead Successful Digital Workplace Programs," by Carol Rozwell, et al. More information on the future of the digital workplace can be found in the Gartner Featured Insight research collection “A Digital Workplace is Crucial to Digital Transformation.” This research highlights the key opportunities for forward-looking application leaders responsible for digital workplace initiatives.

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