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Amidst the buzz of the DW Experience conference in Chicago, some of the best digital workplaces and their teams stepped up to the podium to receive well-deserved Digital Workplace of the Year 2018 awards from DWG CEO Paul Miller. The Awards are produced by DWG in partnership with SMG/CMSWire, and celebrate organizations and practitioners who have excelled this year in creating well-executed, high-performing digital workplace environments.

The competition was fierce this year, with an impressive set of entries from organizations across a range of industries and countries. While Liberty Mutual took the top spot, Cisco was hot on its heels, with a submission by Mike Mitchell, Senior Director, Employee Digital Services and Alan McGinty, Senior Director, Global Workplace Innovation, who was in Chicago to receive the award. Cisco impressed the judging panel across the board, receiving particularly high scores for its robust digital workplace governance and impactful demonstration of benefits. The judges also commended the sheer ambition of the highly mature strategy and programme.


DWG CEO Paul Miller commented after presenting the award to Alan in Chicago:

“The ambition, results and services offered by Cisco were hugely impressive to our judges and it was hard to find clear daylight between Cisco and the overall winner. In terms of vision and integration of the physical and digital workplaces, Cisco is outstanding and this award recognizes this.”

Robust governance

Governance is an area of digital workplace practice that doesn’t go in for glamour, and all too often gets sidelined altogether in favour of flashier initiatives. At DWG, we bang the governance drum a lot because the evidence attests to its criticality for success, and Cisco is a great example of why getting it right in practice matters.

Cisco’s ambitious digital workplace strategy is underpinned by a Digital Employee Experience Steering Committee, originally formed in 2016, which is co-chaired by the SVP of Employee Services and the SVP of Employee Experience IT. This committee, which meets monthly, has true cross-functional involvement and provides governance across major strategy, platform, user experience and investment decisions.

Having a broad stakeholder group involved also supports a key aspect of the strategy, which is to have the physical, cultural and digital aspects of the workplace experience work together in harmony. This focus on Employee Experience (as you may have heard, EX is the new CX!) helps keep everyone on track to deliver something exceptional for Cisco employees.

Quantifying digital workplace impact

Another area where Cisco impressed (and in fact stole the top score for the criteria) is also one where many organizations struggle: quantifying the impact of the digital workplace programme.

The KPIs and metrics used by Cisco are focused around the enablement of a flexible workforce that determines when, how and where they work best. They include:

  • 17% increase in employee engagement
  • 17% increase in workplace satisfaction
  • 15% increase in work/life balance.

This also results in dollar savings:

  • $200m saved in reduction of real estate
  • $60m in lowered attrition rates.

And, with many organizations fighting to attract the best talent, it was interesting to see that Cisco tracks the opinions of new hires, with 72% of these saying that the digital workplace had a positive impact on their decision to join the company.

A people-centric approach

A “golden thread” we see running through the Digital Workplace of the Year winners, is a relentless focus on employees. At Cisco, a Digital Center of Excellence, clear standards, application pilots, active feedback loops, and comprehensive change management and communication all help to ensure that the user is engaged at every stage of the process. As one judge said: “The continued focus on the end-user experience throughout the entry made it clear that this is a people-centric design.”

In 2019, perhaps you will be a winner? Or maybe you will want to nominate a digital workplace leader who has inspired you? Look out on our website for entries opening early 2019.

Read these blogs to help you enter: Four things our judges loved and 7 reasons to enter.

Registration for Digital Workplace Experience 2019 is already open with big discounts for early booking.

Digital Workplace Experience 2019

June 17–19, 2019 in Chicago: register now.

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About the author

Elizabeth Marsh - DWG's Director of ResearchElizabeth Marsh leads the Digital Workplace Group’s member research and events. She is passionate about connecting members to peers or resources and exploring new research opportunities.

Elizabeth is co-author, with Paul Miller, of the new book “The Digital Renaissance of Work—Delivering digital workplaces fit for the future”.

Prior to joining DWG, Elizabeth held intranet management roles at T-Mobile and Reuters, with broad-ranging responsibilities including community management, internal communications and research.

When not busy in the digital workplace, Elizabeth is a keen writer and musician, playing flute in an amateur orchestra and performing with various local groups.

Connect with Elizabeth on Twitter at @digitalsanity or on Google +.

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