Whether you want your company to join the index—or stay on it—there are a few things you need to keep in mind while managing your digital employees. Step Away from the Silo The traditional methods of management simply do not work in the digital transformation. Employees want to feel like they’re part of something important. Consider Learning in the Moment A new study by Dell and the Institute for the Future, “The Next Era of Human | Machine Partnerships: Emerging Technologies’ Impact on Society & Work in 2030,” predicted that in the future, hiring for skill will be a losing gamble. Recognize Communication Never Goes Out of Style One of the most important skills of management—and one of the most often overlooked—is communication. As my colleague Shelly Kramer recently wrote in her piece, “The Operating Model for the Digitally Transformed Enterprise,” “Effective workplace communication is more than just a topic for an HR memo—it’s the foundation for innovation, collaboration, and all around forward motion for companies in this digital age.” The digital landscape is full of unknowns, changes, and threats to job security. Employees need to know you have a clear digital strategy. The thought puts to rest the idea of institutional knowledge—the value that any one long-term employee can play in any one workplace. In fact, it might seem to put an end to employee value altogether. There’s no replacement for a workplace that cares—not even in the digital environment.
Whether it’s the rise of mobility—or the rise of the Millennial—the modern workforce is experiencing its own transformation, and today’s leaders need to take notice. Modern employees are no longer willing to spend their daylight hours behind desks in a 9-5 office environment. They are freelancers, consultants, part-time workers, remote workers, side hustlers, and entrepreneurs. Yet, despite saving companies lots of overhead, they’re leaving many leaders scratching their heads, wondering how to manage this diverse and divergent group of employees most effectively.
You might be thinking, “But I know plenty of companies that still require employees to be at their desks 9 to 5!” I do, too. But I’d bet many of those companies won’t be here in 2025. In fact, one study suggests that by 2027, 75 percent of the companies on S&P 500 will be ones that are not even on the index today. Three-quarters! Whether you want your company to join the index—or stay on it—there are a few things you need to keep in mind while managing your digital employees.
Step Away from the Silo
The traditional methods of management simply do not work in the digital transformation. Period. Silos, executive orders, closed-door C-suites, and org-chart-related perks are far less relevant in today’s economy. Millennials and other mobile workers are more concerned about their need for flexibility than they are about job titles and personal parking spaces. What’s more, they want to be involved in important decisions—especially ones in which they have a vested interest.
Unified communication and collaboration tools have made it much easier to engage employees, whether they are working from home or Helsinki. Let technology help you loosen the reins. Effective leaders must put more emphasis on flexible, deadline-oriented project assignments, and pay less attention to how many minutes an employee took on a lunch break. Trust your employees to know what…