Resources: We tested two expectations about how digital natives invest resources to get the best out of their people:
- Digital natives remove barriers to productivity and enable creativity by aligning physical and digital environments with culture and ways of working.
- Digital natives emphasize employee ownership of personal development.
Digital natives drive employee productivity and business performance by investing in their physical work environment and facilities. These facilities facilitate collaboration and enable agility and innovation. We’re not just talking table football and bean bags. Design choices and investments made in the layout, look and feel of the working environment connect employees directly with the company’s intended ways of working and ultimately to their purpose.
Ways of working, employee experience and culture – and ultimately, business performance – can be influenced positively through the design of the physical environment. However, implementation is as important as effective design to reap the benefits. For example, collaboration spaces tend to remain un-used when workers have little incentive or the local leadership needed for them to leave their desks. It is therefore important to think about the other ways in which new behaviours will be supported.
Digital natives have fostered a culture of self-directed and peer learning, with employees expected and empowered to own and drive their careers. This includes flexible career paths and a greater focus on roles rather than capabilities, access to a wide catalogue of training and development options, and an outcome-based approach to compensation. This fits within and supports a wider strategic workforce plan, which lays out which skills and resources will be needed for the future, when and where.
However, as they have scaled and have been required to meet a broader range of stakeholder and investor expectations, they have also invested in a more programmatic approach to talent development, for example, investing in leaders and establishing career paths for support functions required by a large listed company. Individually-motivated and self-directed learning has therefore become augmented and balanced with clearer career paths and more structured learning for critical capabilities.