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- Christy Punch, Senior Manager, Product Manager Engineering Experience at Liberty Mutual Insurance
Awards are about telling a story – and you're never done when it comes to digital workplace transformation!
This episode of Digital Workplace Impact not only celebrates and reflects on the DWG Digital Workplace of the Year Awards class of 2022, but also explores rich learnings and fascinating trends discovered during the last six years of the awards programme.
Host, Nancy Goebel, is joined by Elizabeth Marsh, DWG Director of Research, who manages DWG’s awards programme, and by one of this year’s judges, Christy Punch, Senior Manager responsible for the engineering experience at Liberty Mutual Insurance.
Together, they celebrate the achievements of those organizations that are pushing forward the frontiers of the digital workplace and discuss themes such as wellbeing that really came through from this year’s winners.
There is always a new and exciting chapter to discover through the stories behind the awards, so do sit back and take a listen today.
Show notes, links and resources for this episode:
[00:00:00.690] – Christy Punch
Well, I think that having multiple different types of awards just goes to show that there is kind of a uniqueness to digital employee experience, that each company goes about it in a different way based on their company’s vision, their culture at their company. And so I think it’s a testament to how far along everyone has come in terms of the digital workplace and kind of the significance of it now, especially post pandemic.
[00:00:34.150] – Elizabeth Marsh
That’s part of the beauty of entering the awards. And indeed, getting benchmarked is a process that goes into writing that award to thinking about the areas that have progressed, the different projects, the different aspects of the program and the people involved has that usefulness in a tool of reflection and also understanding what we’ve done. Well, what’s next?
[00:01:03.790] – Nancy Goebel
Today’s episode of Digital Workplace Impact felt like the perfect blend of sitting down for a chat with friends what the Swedes call fika time and a special celebration. Our feature topic today was the 2022 Digital Workplace of the Year Awards. And joining me in the studio today were Elizabeth Marsh, DWG Director of research and the program manager for DWG’s awards program. Alongside DWG member Christy Punch, who is a senior manager responsible for the engineering experience at Liberty Mutual, christy was also an integral part of the awards program as a new judge added to the roster this year. Together, we three had a chance to celebrate and reflect on not only the 2022 class for the Digital Workplace of the Year Awards, but we also had a chance to explore a rich set of learnings and trends from the last six generations of the awards program. Join me now for a special treat in conversation with Christy and Elizabeth, who are insightful, inspiring, and always seem to add sparkle to my day. Oh, and also be sure to check the show notes for some terrific resources that Elizabeth spotlights in a wrap up as well. Digital Workplace Impact is brought to you by Digital Workplace Group. Happy listening.
[00:02:41.210] – Nancy Goebel
Elizabeth. Christy. I am so happy to have a chance to connect with you both as part of what I think will be a fascinating chat about the Digital Workplace of the Year Awards. Welcome to the Digital Workplace Impact podcast studio.
[00:02:59.290] – Elizabeth Marsh
[00:03:00.280] – Christy Punch
Thank you, Nancy. Thank you for having me.
[00:03:02.890] – Nancy Goebel
Elizabeth. I think it probably makes sense for us to start with a little bit of an origin story because I imagine that we’ll have a mix of people listening to this conversation today. Those who know and follow DWG well along with our awards program. But then also people who are hearing about it for the very first time. And I’m thinking about them and asking this opening question. So give us a little bit of context for the awards.
[00:03:32.370] – Elizabeth Marsh
Yeah. Thank you, Nancy. And great to be here as well. So it seems hard to believe, but we’re actually six years into this award program, and I’m not quite sure where the time has gone, but when we initially put the awards program in place at DWG, it was really about being able to give kudos to the people in our industry who worked so hard. And so much goes on behind the scenes in creating the kind of digital experiences that we see in organizations. And so the awards are a way of, I guess, kind of punctuating that kind of process of delivering these digital environments and really recognizing both the organizations but also the practitioners that really excel in this area and create well executed, high performing digital workplace environments. And we look across a range of different areas of practice. So it’s not just about getting one thing right. We’re looking at how ambitious is the strategy, is the kind of really robust governance as a foundation, how effectively are the business cases articulated? Are the features really kind of exciting and groundbreaking? Do they make a real difference to people? And have the teams engaged users right through the process?
[00:04:58.900] – Elizabeth Marsh
And of course, not forgetting the business impact as well? So with the awards program, it’s very much looking at all of those aspects. And we have a number of awards, first in the Digital Workplace of the Year, which has been running across that whole six years. We also a couple of years ago, introduced modern intranet of the year to really acknowledge the incredible intranets that are at the heart of the digital workplace. And we also have a program which is Digital Workplace Leader of the Year. And for us, it’s very important to call out the people that are making a real difference in the industry. And these are people who are not only energetic and passionate about what they do and obviously successful, but they’re also very generous. They’re people who tend to share quite a lot in different both in DWG circles and beyond, in conferences and online as well. So it’s a moment of celebration in our year that we all enjoy and get a huge buzz from. And as we see the smiles and joy of people receiving their awards over the years, that’s something that’s really encouraging as well. And I should say, as part of that process, we always have a really incredible judging panel as part of this.
[00:06:24.730] – Elizabeth Marsh
And we’ve had some judges come back year on year, and these are people who are real experts in the industry as well. And of course, we have Christy Punch who’s joined the judging panel this year as part of our conversation today. So that process of judging and being able to look at the award entries but kind of mull over what are the trends that we’re seeing, what’s happening in the industry, what are we really getting excited about, where is there a lot more work to be done so we get a chance with the judging panel to look at those trends as well.
[00:07:04.540] – Nancy Goebel
Well, Elizabeth, I can tell you, having been part of the judging panel for the last couple of years. I think when you step into that role, it’s a fantastic opportunity not only to see what good looks like, but to get underneath those stories. And of course, we have one of the 2022 judges with us, Christy. So, of course, I have to bring you into the conversation, Christy, and ask you personally, what was the appeal for becoming a judge this year? And do share what you learned as part of that process, if anything.
[00:07:41.580] – Christy Punch
Yeah. So when you approached me with the opportunity to be a judge, I was thrilled. For me, it was a great opportunity to get a peek behind the curtain, if you will, to see some of the exciting things that different companies are working on in the digital employee experience space. I’ve always been a big fan of with knowledge sharing with other companies and learning from what other companies are doing. So this was a great opportunity for me to learn from the entries. But one of the things that’s great about being a judge is it’s almost like you’re reading this large chapter book on digital employee experience, because every organization is unique. Every organization goes about solving employee experience problems in different ways. So it’s really fascinating to kind of read the different journeys and the processes that these companies go through and delivering that employee experience at their company. So for me, it was just a really great experience just to kind of dive into that and get to see all of these different great things that the companies are doing.
[00:08:59.060] – Nancy Goebel
And Elizabeth, of course, we’re really anxious to dive into the learnings from 2022. Can you start us off with what some of the top line messages were from this year’s circle of winners?
[00:09:16.090] – Elizabeth Marsh
Absolutely. How long do you have, Nancy?
[00:09:20.360] – Nancy Goebel
You have as much time as it takes to dive into these great details.
[00:09:27.410] – Elizabeth Marsh
So I think where I’d like to start is what we found around Digital Workplace of the Year, and there’s some really fascinating stories coming out of this award, and there’s stories that span not just one year, but many years. And we know, of course, a great digital workplace is a long-term investment and long-term program, and that can feel like a big challenge when you don’t see all of the fruits straight away. It takes time to realize those. And so our winner stories from Digital Workplace of the Year, I think, are a huge encouragement to people in the industry. And taking our winner this year, Fidelity Investments. And we’ve seen them they’ve entered the awards over a number of years and have had a number of wins. And we’ve seen, I think, back in 2020, they won for Strategic Vision, so that was a category award. In 2021, they won for Associate Experience, another category award. And actually, we’ve seen the progression to where, of course, this year they’ve won the overall award and I think it’s really exciting and as I say, a big encouragement to organizations to see how they’ve delivered over that time.
[00:10:46.320] – Elizabeth Marsh
They’re clearly a team that really loves to learn. They continually raise the bar in terms of what they do and kind of what they’re delivering. And so they’ve come back and taken the overall award. And for organizations thinking of entering Digital Workplace of the year, you think, oh my goodness, it’s such a lot to ask because we look at all of these different areas, whether it’s strategy, governance, rationale, et cetera. But I think that the Fidelity example shows just how much you can kind of how much of a rewarding process can be going right from setting out the ambitious vision. Putting it in a really impressive kind of operational model that enabled them to deliver on that really this associate centric approach that they’ve taken. Very research driven and carrying that through. And then also orienting themselves to the future. So they’re clearly not a team that’s sort of resting on their laurels or feeling like they’ve achieved everything they want to and they’re looking at emerging technology and where to go next. So I just found that whole story very encouraging and also very dynamic as well.
[00:12:07.010] – Nancy Goebel
It speaks to me about an important strategy here that these awards are about telling a story and you’re never done when it comes to digital workplace transformation. And so when you look at the Fidelity story and some previous winners that I’ve happened to be exposed to in the past. There’s almost an element of learning by doing because the process of the awards program actually prompts you to look at the story that you are telling. The elevator pitch around why your digital workplace is important to the organization. What impact are you achieving and all the rest. And so the learn by doing message is part of what Fidelity achieved in milestones. You talked about their strategy and vision win and then about transforming the associate experience and then that paved the way for them to win overall. So there was an element of spotting goodness along the way and then that final validation that their program has reached a level of maturity and impact. That’s pretty powerful. Elizabeth.
[00:13:33.790] – Elizabeth Marsh
Absolutely, and alongside that, of course, we had DBS Bank and there’s another story that goes across a number of years and of course, they’ve spent many years investing in the digital workplace and have come into this award over a number of years. They’ve won Digital Workplace of the Year back in 2020. They’ve won Modern Intranet of the Year. They’ve won Digital Workplace Leader of the Year. And this year the judges acknowledged them for not standing still, not resting on their laurels, and gave them a cutting edge category award. And it was great to see that because they’re real pioneers and staying at the forefront of practice and continually pushing forward in the way that they are. It’s no mean feat, really. So it was great to see that they performed in that way and that real powerful set of capabilities that make up the DBS Bank digital workplace has so many of the elements around it that we look for in benchmarking that we talk about in research that comes again and again in meetings, whether it’s a real creative vision at the top that multilevel governance. They’ve got very thoughtful and comprehensive user engagement and a real passionate future-oriented team.
[00:14:55.360] – Elizabeth Marsh
So I know that DBS Bank do rather take the breath away for our judges, as I’m sure Christy would attest to as well.
[00:15:06.060] – Christy Punch
Yeah, definitely. I was super impressed with DBS Bank. One thing that I really liked about their digital workplace vision, they had in their vision the comment making work joyful. And that really stood out for me. I saw kind of this theme across a lot of the entries around more of a focus on wellbeing versus just the work and the employees getting work done. There really was kind of this shift of taking care of their employees, really focused on the culture and making sure that employees have what they need just from a personal perspective versus just focusing on getting the job done.
[00:15:51.710] – Nancy Goebel
I have to say, Christy, that’s such an important point. And I think had it not been for the pandemic, I’m not sure we would have gotten to this holistic way of thinking about employee experience. I think the Pandemic really prompted us to think about the fact that people bring their whole selves to work. That especially when there were large pockets of people working from home at the height of COVID, suddenly there were external factors in play, and people were juggling work in life in very different ways that they had before. I remember distinctly having a conversation with an executive, and her daughter burst into the room and said, I can’t find my fairy wand. And suddenly this senior person is now trying to think about, how do I balance this conversation when I know if I don’t attend to this issue right now, I will not be able to carry on the conversation. And so it allowed authenticity from leaders to flow at the same time as for organizations to think about the fact that the digital workplace needs to be not only a reflection of culture, but also an enabler of it. And part of that is thinking about the whole individual, not just making them productive, but figuring out what all the right tenants are so that they can bring their best in all ways to the workplace.
[00:17:31.330] – Elizabeth Marsh
You’re reminding me of some of the interventions we had from my puppy during one of the lockdowns in some of our meetings. As you say, this human element has really come to the fore, and we’ve seen that in the awards over the last few years. And if I shift across the Digital Workplace Leader of the year, we see that particularly. And if I look at the themes of the category awards, we have things like empathy, change, creativity, employee first mindset, so that emphasis. These are leaders who are highly competent, who are great at setting up a vision, at influencing, and all of the things that you would expect when you think of leader. And so it’s interesting that the things that really stood out for their awards were things like empathy. And I know last year it came up around wellbeing as well. And when we look at the winner this year, Kristy LItchford from Campbell Soup, she’s someone who really empowers the people around her to do great work and to really innovate and collaborate. And even when she was receiving the award, what she was talking about was her team and the great things they’re doing.
[00:18:52.410] – Elizabeth Marsh
And I found that really very heartening and inspiring, really.
[00:18:58.510] – Nancy Goebel
And when I look at the roster of winners from the Digital Workplace Leader of the Year, I would even say that they are also people who are artful disruptors in their organizations.
[00:19:16.090] – Christy Punch
I love that term.
[00:19:19.310] – Nancy Goebel
I’d say ten years ago, Christy, because I know we’ve had some good history together. The heavy lifting came from technology because so many digital workplaces were homegrown in some shape or form. And in more recent years, because the richness of technologies has really started to kick in and there’s a more explicit focus on improving the employee experience out of the box, if you will. More and more, the role of a digital workplace leader is about making change happen. Making change happen at the speed of technology coming out, moving, at the speed of influencing how leaders need to share their messages and inspire people and communicate their vision and strategy and enable the culture of the organization. And then, of course, supporting a level of organizational readiness so that employees are taking advantage of these capabilities to give their level best as part of turning up for work in whatever fashion that turns out to be virtual, in person, hybrid. We know the digital workplace touches all of these things. And so these leaders have to think about not only the voice of the process, the voice of the stakeholders, but also the voice of the employee in affecting change.
[00:20:51.790] – Nancy Goebel
And that’s quite a complex agenda. And to find these pockets of goodness, as I like to say, in these leadership stories that we can share on scale through the awards is really meaningful and inspiring to others, I think.
[00:21:11.860] – Christy Punch
Yeah, it’s interesting that you say that, Nancy, because one of the other things that I noticed kind of a trend throughout the entries was this whole kind of conundrum of build versus buy. And I think that that’s just a decision point now that there are so many technology solutions that are almost like, for lack of better words, intranet, in a box solutions like Microsoft 365. So what’s interesting is for the companies that do move in the direction of buy or get these big suites like Microsoft 365. The shift of the digital workplace team and their role and it really becomes more around adoption. Digital literacy. Governance. And really allows more time. I guess. In a way. Or more bandwidth to be able to focus on some of those things like wellbeing. Or even looking at sustainability. So it’s just interesting to see the shift in kind of the role of the digital workplace team where ten years ago you’re just trying to figure out what the heck to build and working really closely with your technology partners and really building very big custom coded solutions where now you have these kind of plug and play solutions available to you.
[00:22:36.030] – Christy Punch
And so the role becomes more around. How do we make these tools effective for employees? How do we help them use these tools in the right way? How do we help them find the things they need in these tools? How do we aggregate the experience to help employees get to different tools? So it’s no longer about the solution, but more it really is about the experience and thinking of what are those things that we need to do to help employees to really make sure that experience is what they need day to day in their jobs?
[00:23:15.450] – Elizabeth Marsh
Yeah, in relation to Christy’s points, there’s this level of thoughtfulness that we see among the winners, the kind of thoughtfulness and intentionality of some of the things they’re doing. And in the context we keep talking about, this acceleration that’s happened, of course, in recent years. I saw a statistic from McKinsey the other day that the Covid 19 pandemic has accelerated the digitization of business operations by about four years. It feels like more, but so various aspects kind of moving faster and yet there’s this thoughtfulness. And if we talk about SAP, who won Modern Internet of the Year and have created this real, true front door to the digital workplace through their intranet and showed just how powerful that modern intranet can be. And what really stood out for me was some of those really thoughtful aspects in there. So for example, their focus around inclusivity, around accessibility, in one example, they were working with a representative body for people around disabilities, developing, testing special features, really working on the design, not just being beautiful, being responsive, but also being accessible, things like different contrast modes across different devices, etc. So I’ve been impressed by that kind of thoughtfulness and going into things like they’ve put in place a governance framework that is really about placing a foundation where they can not just maintain, but they can evolve their modern intranet SAP one for the future as well, and making sure that different aspects of the organization are really represented within that process as well.
[00:25:15.710] – Elizabeth Marsh
Thinking about other winners of the Modern Intranet, because we had quite a few that the judges felt were really worthy of category awards this year. And those were quite wide ranging in a way. So we saw the acknowledgement for some of those foundations. So we had the digital workplace management, which went to Abbvie. So to put in really good foundations around the strategy, the governance, the business case, we go over this again in areas like benchmarking and just can’t emphasize too much how important those are for a great intranet. And so we saw that and then through, for example, with Adobe real pioneers in the hybrid space, through their intranet, through their app, and really thinking again, thinking quite deeply about how work works in the way that we’re doing it now, and how those tools could kind of adapt to that as well. And then we saw examples around the culture with Estée Lauder, so really aligning with the culture, really amplifying the culture as well. So really interesting examples among them of great practice.
[00:26:39.010] – Nancy Goebel
And Christy, what stood out for you? Vis a vis the modern intranet winners.
[00:26:44.800] – Christy Punch
Yeah. So Elizabeth kind of touched on this a little bit, but when we look at the digital workplace today, several years ago, a lot of people were very focused on, you know, one solution to meet all the needs. But now I think there’s a recognition that there are so many different tools, digital tools and aspects to our day-to-day work lives that it’s really more about focusing on the employee journeys. In my new role with Liberty Mutual, that’s something that we’re really very focused on, is looking at that end-to-end experience and not necessarily being very focused on the technology or the solution or the tools. It’s really about that journey. And so I’ve noticed in the entries there is again, a trend around kind of taking that step back from being very solution focused and looking at that full user experience, that end-to-end journey. There were several entrants that did a lot of journey mapping. I saw in some cases, some of the organizations actually embedding user experience aspects into their governance, into their processes, which was really nice to see. I really was pleased to see kind of that shift in that focus on the person, the persona versus the tool itself.
[00:28:18.110] – Christy Punch
I was just really impressed with that. And I think DBS, for example, they actually have as part of their kind of governance model, what they call the employee journey council, which is a group of a lot of their stakeholders and key partners. And that group was really highly influential in a lot of their decision-making involved in a lot of the processes along the way and delivering some of their solutions. And so it’s just interesting to see that focus on employee journey throughout these different industries. Really kind of a shift, I think, again, from where we may have been five years ago in the space.
[00:28:58.240] – Nancy Goebel
And it’s just those keen insights, Christy, that led to you becoming part of the judging panel because there’s quite a lot of information to absorb across the three categories. And in some cases, we were splitting hairs trying to make decisions about category winners and umbrella winners. And that focus on really looking at what distinguished the leaders of the pack, so to speak, became critically important for us while we were at the judges table, so to speak.
[00:29:32.800] – Christy Punch
Well, I think that having multiple different types of awards just goes to show that there is kind of a uniqueness to digital employee experience, that each company goes about it in a different way based on their company’s vision, their culture at their company. And so I think it’s a testament to how far along everyone has come in terms of the digital workplace and kind of the significance of it now, especially post pandemic, the fact that we, especially me, personally wanted to give everybody an award. I think I was reviewing my judging comments earlier this week, and I think I kept writing, wow, yes, this is awesome. I had lots of explanation points and things like that. So just think it’s such a testament that we did have so many different types of awards because really, there’s no one size fits all solution when it comes to the digital employee experience. Everybody goes about it in a unique way, and that’s how it should be.
[00:30:45.580] – Nancy Goebel
Absolutely. And of course, your role didn’t end with the judging process. You were very much part of the heart of the awards ceremony last month, and so those of us who were there just loved your approach to making that very personalized experience. And so tell us a little bit about what the award ceremony felt like for you coming in this time as a judge as opposed to watching and listening the circle of winners unfold.
[00:31:24.790] – Christy Punch
Yeah, well, you know me, Nancy. I never do things like everyone else, so I always have to be different in my prep. But yeah, so when I think awards ceremony, I had to put on my sparkliest top, and I think I changed my background to, like, an award stage. But I’ve been working remotely for, gosh, 13 14 years now, so even before the pandemic. And one thing I learned in working remotely is that you have to bring the fun. You have to create those moments to really connect with people virtually, because you’re not going to always have the face-to-face in-person interaction.
[00:32:08.440] – Nancy Goebel
It’s very true, and certainly we all love your energy, and I suppose that’s why we’ve been so tightly connected for so many years. Elizabeth, let me bring you back into the conversation. At the top of our chat you mentioned that the awards program just completed its 6th year. That’s a pretty exciting milestone, and maybe we can take a step back from 2022 to talk a little bit about the bigger picture of learnings and trends over the years.
[00:32:48.560] – Elizabeth Marsh
Absolutely, Nancy. And we published a report earlier this year, which is available for free download. There’s 40 page reports. And this is where we got to dig into what we’ve seen in the awards so far the first five years. And I must say it was a great honor to be able to do that and to really look at what are the themes and trends that we’ve seen over the years. You can get that report, and it’s packed with examples, of course, of these great achievers. And one of the things that we included in that was a list of the digital workplace leader success factors. And we identified seven success factors from among the incredible winners that we’ve had. And there were things like pioneering visionary strategies, being able to, of course, influence across the organization, championing the digital workplace also, as I said earlier, being really generous in terms of sharing knowledge and expertise and then having that real understanding of employees as well, and a few other things, but just incredible people. And we went back and looked at our first winner, who was Kevin Cassidy, who at that time was in BNY Mellon, and tracked how his career had progressed since winning that award, which was really exciting.
[00:34:14.640] – Elizabeth Marsh
And he talked about some of the things we’ve been talking about today, things like the importance of listening, of being empathetic, of how you build a great digital workplace team around you. So that leader perspective was really a fascinating one for me. And then we dug into the six pillars of the Digital Workplace Award strategy, rationale, governance features, user engagement, and business impact to really understand what are the key trends there. And so I’ll just pull out a few as examples. And when we were looking at the strategies that we’ve seen over the years, there was this incredible clarity and simplicity that always got commented on by the judges. So while these are really ambitious strategies, it’s almost as if a lot of work had gone into really articulating those in a really simple way and then making it very clear how those words would translate into action and really setting out that sense of purpose as well, which is always brilliant to see. We look at the governance sometimes it doesn’t sound like the most exciting fighting area, but looking at how organizations have put in really comprehensive and robust governance frameworks that go into areas like Christy picked up on around that user experience element, they really take in different areas of the organization, different layers, and for some, really kind of elevating the language as well that’s used.
[00:35:56.920] – Elizabeth Marsh
So having that clear kind of purpose and scope and kind of using as well labels that really are quite exciting as well. So we have the People Experience Council at IAG. It’s not just about the kind of structures and processes, but something that really gets people excited as well. And then, of course, the features that we see. And these are things that we’re not just. Looking for shiny whizzy, things for the sake of it, but things that make a real difference to the lives of employees and in some cases are quite innovative as well. For example, we’ve seen an AI powered employee burnout analysis, which was last year, which was really fascinating to see, helping people to really get work done. Things like the My hub at Liberty Mutual, which has featured in the awards program as well, and these aspects that really help people find people find information on the move. So, very kind of diverse set of areas there. I could go on, but maybe just one area I’d like to pull out, and this is around the impact. And you and I have talked a lot in recent times about telling this impact story.
[00:37:15.360] – Elizabeth Marsh
And it’s perhaps an area in our industry where there’s quite a lot of opportunity. And we’ve seen some great examples of how the winners have been able to talk about the levels of adoption they’ve achieved that go beyond that to talk about maybe cost saving, maybe productivity, and then also to show aspects of the sentiment. So how do people really feel when they’re working in that digital workplace? How satisfied or engaged are they? And certainly with DBS Bank in their 2021 win, we were excited to see how they were also showing how their digital workplace initiatives were making a positive impact for the environment as well. So seeing what’s possible in terms of telling the story of the impact of these intranet and digital workplaces I think is really exciting. And of course, this is what then helps to ensure longer term sustainability for the plans, for investment, so continually getting people involved and excited about the possibilities as well.
[00:38:28.240] – Christy Punch
I really like that, Elizabeth, the mention of the opportunity to better tell the story of value in this space, and I totally agree with you. I think that this is a space that it’s not always easy to connect the dots to a lot of those business driver-type metrics that get the executives excited and make their eyes light up. It’s connecting the dots to those types of value drivers. It’s not always a onetoone. When looking at employee experience, one thing that I was really impressed with, specifically with Coca-Cola, is just the way that they leverage their data and how they positioned the data for their stakeholders, for their leadership to be able to easily add a glance, see where things stood. They even had indicators on these dashboards of what the targets were. So you could see again at a glance how close you are to the target. Are you meeting your targets? Are you lagging with your targets? And I just thought that was so impressive here at Liberty Mutual. I’ve been here about four months now, so getting my bearings. But the amount of data that is available here and how it’s used is just so impressive.
[00:39:49.830] – Christy Punch
And I think that that might be a new kind of emerging area of opportunity is looking at with employee experience. There is so much data available. What are the right ways to connect that data in an effective way to really show the value that a lot of our teams are bringing in the employee experience space?
[00:40:11.660] – Nancy Goebel
Absolutely. You take a step back, Christy, and look at all of the different elements that we’ve explored. Yes, an awards program can be part of how you surface your impact story, because that’s third party validation. You can undergo benchmarking evaluations. Elizabeth mentioned that a short time ago, whether it’s looking at your digital workplace overall or key elements of it, like modern intranet or digital collaboration tools. And that gives you a really good way of sizing up an independent evaluation, looking outside in to compare how an organization looks against good practice. But then internally. With the technology advancing as much as it is nowadays. A lot of the third party vendors who are delivering software as a service are much more thoughtful about A. The employee experience. As we talked about earlier. But B. The measurement capabilities and the visualization of those measurement capabilities so that these dashboards are telling a clearer picture so that organizations can actually start to make smarter decisions about how to manage this ecosystem and then tell those impact stories. And so measurement in general has been a real challenge within the digital workplace arena. And then telling the story as the wrapper around that so that it inspires decisions or continuous improvement, et cetera.
[00:42:06.190] – Nancy Goebel
For the first time, I heard a member share with me that they’ve actually brought in a data scientist into the digital workplace team to ensure that they are interpreting the results appropriately because they are taking key decisions. And so sometimes early on, the data will flag up the need to give attention to the data. But as maturity sets in, it becomes very much part of the governance story and how digital workplace decisions get made and what focus is needed next. So it finally feels like a coming of age story is unfolding on the impact side. And when you think about the fact that the digital workplace became the essential workplace in the wake of the pandemic, part of what is critical with strategic assets inside of an organization is the ability to tell that story and to back it up with data.
[00:43:13.030] – Christy Punch
Yeah, it’s interesting. It’s just that shift and the importance of the digital workplace. I was even thinking as we are talking through this kind of how do you tell your story? Even things like with Fidelity, the Digital Workplace of the Year winner, they had organized their squads in terms of, like, around employee needs. So, like, things like personalization and productivity. And I just thought that was a really interesting approach that, you know, now you’re even structuring your digital workplace teams around that user experience, that employee focus versus this is the support team. This is the XYZ team. Now we’re the productivity team, the personalization team, the findability team. And I think that’s a really interesting approach and something that I imagine we’ll probably see more of too, as we kind of shift more to the importance of experience.
[00:44:19.540] – Nancy Goebel
So, of course, I have to pick up on this idea. So, Elizabeth, what can you tell us about the 2023 awards program?
[00:44:30.190] – Elizabeth Marsh
Okay, so, well, one thing I can say is look out for an announcement quite soon, ready for, I think, a spring launch of the program. So that’s just a little hint. We will, of course, have Digital Workplace of the year track. We will have the Modern Intranet track, and we’re actually making a slight change in the people area this year. So you heard it here first. So we’ve decided to evolve, in a way, the Digital Workplace Leader of the Year into a Digital Workplace Team of the Year. And I think the leader award has been so thrilling and so inspiring. And I think every time we give that award and listen to the acceptance speech, those leaders always talk about their team and the brilliance of their team that they’ve put together. And we wanted a way to widen, I guess, that circle of kudos, really, to include the leader. So we still want to acknowledge those people very much at the forefront of pioneering this digital workplace and the intranet, but also that incredible team around them. So, again, look out on the airwaves for an announcement about that new award category. And we’re excited because I think a lot of people are going to be excited about that award.
[00:45:53.290] – Nancy Goebel
Well, I can echo that excitement. Christy, your reaction to the change for 2023?
[00:45:59.560] – Christy Punch
I think that’s great. What a neat way to kind of shift and open up that opportunity for the larger teams that I know from experience, put so much blood, sweat, and tears into the work that they do for the employee experience. So that’s wonderful.
[00:46:18.560] – Nancy Goebel
And I think when I stop and look at conversations that we’re having with members day to day, there’s a real thirst for understanding team composition, team dynamics. So that feels like a very natural evolution of the awards program. Elizabeth and interestingly enough, I just had an aha moment. Of course, we designed and built a new benchmark this year that looks at digital workplace management. And so last year, we launched a new modern intranet benchmark, and that’s working alongside the new awards category. And now this year, we have the digital workplace management side of things. So for members in our circle, I think we’ll be able to have an even more meaningful conversation looking at how the data sets come together for the two the awards program and the benchmarking outputs to really help them think through what’s needed next on a team level, on a management level, on a governance level.
[00:47:28.540] – Elizabeth Marsh
And I think that’s part of the beauty of entering the awards. And indeed, getting benchmarked is the process that goes into writing that award to thinking about the areas that have progressed, you know, the different projects, the different aspects of the program and the people involved. Has that usefulness in a tool of reflection and also understanding what we’ve done. Well, what’s next? I think that’s really important to emphasize as well.
[00:48:04.230] – Nancy Goebel
Absolutely. We’re just about at the end of our time together, Christy and Elizabeth. So as we look to cap off this discussion, any final thoughts, insights, calls to action that you’d like to share? Maybe we can start with you, Christy.
[00:48:23.190] – Christy Punch
Sure. Yeah. So, first and foremost, thank you so much to DWG for the opportunity to be a judge. The whole process went very smoothly, and I just really enjoyed myself, like I said, kind of reading through this large book of all of these different entries. It was just so wonderful to be a part of that. I will say that what’s interesting that I think we really need to start to push ourselves to do more in this space is around experimentation. So that has become a theme for me and my team at Liberty Mutual is how can we get things out there faster to experiment, to test and learn and be able to iterate. I think, Nancy, you talked about it a little bit earlier in our conversation around learning as we go. And I think that that is so important and kind of a theme that maybe we can carry forward that idea of experimentation and maybe taking a little bit of risk and getting things out there. Because I feel like employees are good about letting you know what’s working and what’s not. And so making sure that we’re not spending to three years of these behemoths efforts to put something out there.
[00:49:46.180] – Christy Punch
The landscape is changing so quickly, and I think it’s really key now to focus on that whole idea around experimentation.
[00:49:55.910] – Nancy Goebel
Absolutely. When you stop and think about the fact that we’ve put the employee experience at the center of the digital workplace, having our employees influence the direction of the agenda as it’s unfolding, giving that real time feedback is a critical part of that story, and I think we all need to become life learners. Five years from now, there are going to be quite a few careers and roles that didn’t exist before, and we constantly need to be in listening and learning mode to become more adaptable, whether it’s as digital workplace teams or on the other side, as part of our collective employee experience.
[00:50:48.570] – Christy Punch
Yeah, that’s such a great point. My role at Liberty Mutual is focused on the engineering experience, which was a little bit of a risk for me, going from employee experience to engineering experience. But that’s really one of the things that attracted me to the role and to Liberty Mutual, is the idea of having a very focused role, looking at an individual personas experience, and it makes me wonder, are we going to start seeing more of that even beyond just engineering experience? Maybe there’s frontline experience professionals, maybe there’s contact center experience professionals. It will be interesting to see, are there elements of digital workplace teams that then become embedded within different organizational groups that get a more focused, indepth look at that experience? So I think I’m excited about my role, and so I would be excited to see more of that at other companies.
[00:51:49.760] – Nancy Goebel
So, Elizabeth, this comes back to that idea of pioneering, doesn’t it?
[00:51:53.550] – Elizabeth Marsh
And you’ve both touched on points that I feel strongly about as well. Christy, with you saying about experimentation, and we’ve seen at certain times in the awards real innovations coming through and teams kind of changing up the way that they can do it and really kind of setting their own track. And I would love to see more of that innovative practice coming through in the awards program and just what’s possible with the array of digital tools. And that goes into what we were talking earlier about the kind of measurements and the impact and using that array of data to really tell that impactful story. And then also, Nancy, you’re talking about this learning mindset, and that came up earlier with the Fidelity team. And for all of us. This focus that we need around digital dexterity. Which is. Of course. Is a topic close to my heart that instead of having ideas of we train around a particular tool or we train just for the next piece of technology or the next feature that we need. But actually opening that up to a much broader conception of digital dexterity in terms of the awareness of the tools.
[00:53:12.730] – Elizabeth Marsh
Of the possibilities of the upsides and the downsides of using these tools so that we can really get the most out of them. Really optimize what we’re doing. And also kind of thrive and partake and make sure that everyone can kind of do that within the digital world of work as well. So, really important areas.
[00:53:35.510] – Nancy Goebel
Well, Elizabeth Christy, I always find time with the two of you individually or collectively, inspiring, engaging, exciting, and I’m leaving this conversation with such optimism for what we’ll uncover together as part of the 2023 awards program before we end our time together. Elizabeth, have we missed anything? It’s the last chance to give a special note, if you have one.
[00:54:09.190] – Elizabeth Marsh
Well, just to say that, as I mentioned earlier, there’s the report, do download and dig into that, there’s so much in there. And then there’s, of course, a blog series for the recent winners of the awards, and those will link through to a hall of fame where you can see previous winners. And we’ll be digging in a bit further with some of our winners in our roster of member events this fall. So we have Fidelity Investments on November 17, we have SAP December 6, and the marvelous Kristy Litchford on December 15. So there’s a real program as we head towards the end of the year to give people that kind of ideas and inspiration for the work that they’re doing.
[00:54:55.780] – Nancy Goebel
So the journey continues. Thank you both for coming into the studio today. Such a pleasure to chat with you both and looking forward to tapping into all of those great events. Elizabeth and Christy, until our next virtual coffee.
[00:55:13.480] – Christy Punch
Yes, thank you. Thank you so much for having me today. This is great.
[00:55:17.890] – Elizabeth Marsh
Great speaking with you both.
[00:55:22.160] – Nancy Goebel
Digital Workplace Impact is brought to you by the Digital Workplace Group. DWG is a strategic partner covering all aspects of the evolving digital workplace industry and boutique consulting services. For more information, visit digitalworkplacegroup.com.
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