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Digital Workplace Impact investigates and explores the ideas, practices and people impacting the new digital worlds of work.
- Nancy Goebel, Deputy CEO of DWG.
With 2022 nearly at a close, it is the perfect time to unwrap DWG's top ten podcasts of the year.
In this episode, host Nancy Goebel takes us through her top choice of 2022 Digital Workplace Impact podcasts, revisiting fascinating and advice-laden discussions. These rich conversations with industry thought leaders and practitioners provide a window into the challenges they face, the ideas they are exploring and the strides they are making to push the digital workplace to new heights.
Studio guests throughout the year included organizations such as Uber, Charles Schwab, Meta, Microsoft and Prudential Financial, along with various DWG experts.
On-point topics included digital workplace disciplines such as modern learning, enterprise social, the metaverse, the hybrid working employee experience and digital inclusion, through to the always anticipated DWG predictions for the digital workplace and DWG’s awards programme.
With gifts of practical advice and challenging insights, DWG’s top ten podcasts offer something for everyone. So join us, and happy listening this holiday season.
Show notes, links and transcript for this episode:
Episode 95: What do Adobe, DBS Bank and Fidelity Investments have in common? Ask DWG
Episode 98: Paul and Nancy's digital workplace predictions for 2022
Episode 107: Modern workplace learning: Building focus, performance and wellbeing
Episode 100: Bring yourself to work: hybrid working and the employee experience today
Episode 102: Stockpiling people? What’s next for digital workplace employers
Episode 104: 14 takeaways from the DWG Member Meeting in New York City
Episode 109: How the metaverse is changing Avanade's workplace
Episode 101: Designing connected workplaces for tomorrow
Episode 108: A blueprint for success: Designing user experiences at Uber
Episode 111: How to feng shui enterprise social with Microsoft Viva Engage and more
[00:00:00.730] – Nancy Goebel
Well, hello and welcome to Digital Workplace Impact. This is Nancy Goebel, Deputy CEO at Digital Workplace Group, and I am working solo for this episode. It’s hard to believe that the end of the year is nearly upon us. That makes it the perfect time to look back at some of our most popular podcast episodes of the year. And before we turn our attention to that review, I just want to extend a huge thanks to all of our studio guests this year, and of course, we look forward to more inspiring conversations in 2023. Join me now for a look back at our top ten podcasts of 2023. And as always, happy listening.
[00:00:43.290] – Nancy Goebel
With 2022 nearly at a close, it is the perfect time to unbox DWG’s top ten podcast of the year. As we step through these ten episodes, I think you’ll come to see them as a window into the inspiring, the practical, the visionary, the challenging and the energizing. Studio guests throughout the year ranged from organizations such as Uber, Charles Schwab, Meta, Microsoft, Prudential Financial, along with various DWG experts along the way. And topics range from such digital workplace disciplines as modern learning, enterprise social, the Metaverse, AI, hybrid working, employee experience, digital inclusion, and of course, the always anticipated DWG predictions for the Digital Workplace and our awards program.
[00:01:42.240] – Nancy Goebel
So let’s get started with our top ten episodes of Digital Workplace Impact. Starting with number ten, Episode 95 What do Adobe, DBS Bank and Fidelity Investments have in common? Well, ask DWG. In this episode of Digital Workplace Impact, I was joined by Ash Arora, Director of User Experience at Charles Schwab and DWG’s Research Director Elizabeth Marsh. And together we took a close look at the 2021 winners of the Digital Workplace of the Year awards. Elizabeth, who runs the program, and Ash, who was one of the judges, shared the key themes that stood out for them, including hybrid working, employee experience, and wellbeing, plus, there was an opportunity to dive into a roster of impressive winning entries from such organizations as Adobe, DBS Bank, Prudential Financial, and of course, Fidelity Investments. And 2021 actually marked the fifth year of the awards program, so naturally we had a chance to reflect back on advice for 2022 entrants, as well as looking forward to future rosters. And so Elizabeth and Ash reflected on insights and recurring themes which have subsequently been captured in DWG’s research around celebrating five years of Digital Workplace Awards. So when you have a re-listen to this episode, be sure to also download that research, which is chock full of some great insights.
[00:03:23.470] – Nancy Goebel
I think this episode is one that will give you an exciting glimpse of what can be achieved and will inspire you to share your story wherever you may be on your Digital Workplace journey. And we’ll hope that it will also translate into sharing that story as part of our upcoming awards season.
[00:03:43.600] – Elizabeth Marsh
The ambition and really thinking big in terms of the program and how that manifested in our latest cohort in 2021. One of the ways was these kind of really fast pivots to hybrid. And the winners of Digital Workplace of the Year, Adobe, really kind of encompassed that and showed how hybrid is not just some kind of compromise, but it’s a real opportunity.
[00:04:12.340] – Ash Arora
Because when I’m evaluating a particular user interface, I’m looking for what was the business objective here, what was the end user objective, how much was the problem space explored? How much was the solution space explored? How much did they go into the strategy space, that sort of thing. And you could just tell that now the trend that I’m seeing is people paying attention to these things.
[00:04:38.780] – Nancy Goebel
Number nine is episode 98, Paul and Nancy’s digital workplace predictions for 2022 so of course, 2021 brought a period of accelerated friction and quite a few unexpected plot twists. And throughout, many organizations really had to grapple with returning to the physical office, new approaches to hybrid working, changing cultural expectations. And so far, 2022 has really brought a whole new set of challenges that nobody could have expected at a time of putting together the predictions. And we raised lots of questions about whether 2022 would be the year for hybrid leadership coming of age, whether the digital workplace would be moving into a new phase of growth and creation must have advanced digital workplaces, and whether they would further connect large workforces to ensure resilience against future unexpected events. And as iterations of change continued, we also talked about how to help digital workplace practitioners in their now daily roles as change agents. And so predictions are always an opportunity to look back as well as create a window into the future. It’s hard to believe that the predictions have been around since 2014 and really have been a terrific opportunity for DWG to help inform decision-makers as they navigate the years ahead.
[00:06:08.380] – Nancy Goebel
In 2022, Paul Miller and I teamed up to deliver the predictions for the digital workplace. And as you’ll come to see later this year, I’ve run solo with them for 2023. So if you’d like a quick refresher back at some of the mega trends from 2022, do tune into that episode, number 98
[00:06:31.330] – Paul Miller
Use the predictions as a way of helping yourself and your organization think through the changes that we face, and also don’t think that what we’re going through. None of us have lived through a pandemic before. On the other hand, everybody’s lived through periods of intense change, and what we’re experiencing is iterations of change. But within the world of work, you do have skills and capabilities. Use the predictions as a way of helping you think through the issues and challenges and opportunities that you’re facing at the moment.
[00:07:18.030] – Nancy Goebel
On to number eight. On our list is Episode 107 Modern workplace learning, which is around building focus, performance, and wellbeing. So in this episode, I had a chance to catch up with Dr. Alex Young, who is the founder and CEO of Virti and really used the time to uncover some crisp advice on engaging a digital workforce. Alex is a former trauma and orthopedic surgeon who built and scaled an award-winning employee training platform for the modern workplace called Virti. And in this discussion, Alex shared his energy, his drive, his insights as someone whose entrepreneurial mindset is grounded in a mix of science and innovation. As many digital workplace teams were shifting from the war room mentality of the pandemic to the future of work, Alex and I had a chance to really explore the megatrends and opportunities that would be coming together around modern learning. And so we explored questions like can gamification and AI help employees fast-track their soft skills for today’s digital workplace? And what can actively encourage innovation within an organization’s culture? And how can we really seize precious moments to engage increasingly busy people? And what I loved about this episode was the opportunity to explore openings for entrepreneurship and innovation along with creating habits for optimal focus performance and wellbeing.
[00:09:00.950] – Alex Young
You really have got to embrace that if you are in a position of leadership that you firstly won’t have all the answers and secondly, you shouldn’t be the one giving all the answers when it comes to innovation. You need to be allowing your people to offer up solutions and suggestions in a safe space where they feel that their ideas can be heard. And then you need to have a process where provided those ideas are basically aligning to your business goals, they’re acted upon in some way. Because there’s nothing more frustrating for someone who’s a high performer, a high achiever, to suggest improvements to an organization and then for nothing to be done about it. That is what causes attrition some of your best people in many cases. And I think just having a system where people are able to bring ideas to the table in big organizations or small organizations and then those are put into action is absolutely critical.
[00:09:56.090] – Nancy Goebel
Let’s move on to number seven, which is Episode 100 Bring yourself to work, hybrid working and the employee experience today. So when we recorded this podcast, we were just crossing the five year mark of Digital Workplace Impact podcast. And since then, the world has grappled with the pandemic, seen fantastic technological advancements, has experienced a new era of hybrid working and through all of this there’s been an acceleration of the humanization of work. And so for this 100th milestone episode, I chatted with one of our very first podcast guests, employee experience leader Ephraim Freed from Meta. And together we revisited the theme of that first episode which was Bring yourself to work: How and why individuality is set to thrive in the workplace. We also explored employee experience in the moment, and what’s changed and how individuality can still thrive in an ever changing world of work. And nowadays, flexibility in work is top of mind. And hybrid working has created the opportunity for greater diversity, equity and inclusion. And leading edge thinking from five years ago is now an everyday thing for many, with lots of increasing opportunities for people to bring themselves to work.
[00:11:25.050] – Nancy Goebel
And if we look to tomorrow, what we can learn from the fundamentals and past experiences to help further develop employee centric digital workplaces for the future. What I love is that conversations with Phrai, as he likes to be called, are always the best part of entertaining and insightful. And in this episode, we get to look at what’s new, what’s through and what’s needed next in the essential digital workplace for both hybrid working and employee experience.
[00:11:57.700] – Ephraim Freed
I like the idea of defaulting to remote and then finding great reasons to come together in person. And I actually remember Paul Miller for ages was saying that the in-person time is sacred time, that’s a special time and we should value it and make really good use of it. And I think that rings so true today. I think that being able to be in person with other people working, seeing them, being able to just walk up to somebody’s desk and ask them a question, run into somebody in the kitchen, or being able to be in a room together for 8 hours in a retreat, that’s all sacred and special.
[00:12:43.160] – Nancy Goebel
On to number six, which is Episode 102 Stockpiling people? What’s next for digital workplace employers. So, in this episode of Digital Workplace Impact, I chatted with CEO and Chairman of Recruiter.com Evan Sohn. Recruiter.com delivers on tap talent solutions that flex within organizations hiring needs. And during this chat, Evan drew upon a 30 plus year career which has spanned ecommerce at fortune 500 organizations to startup environments. And based on such a rich experience base, we really had a thought provoking discussion. We broached some strategic questions about the talent market, including are we moving to a time when employees should be stockpiling people instead of hand sanitizer? And if so, what does that mean for hiring organizations as they acquire, onboard and retain people? And whether organizations style themselves as purely remote, hybrid or office based? How do they need to compete for talent? And also, will there be extra challenges facing digital workplace professionals in particular? And I have to say, this was such a high energy conversation as we talk through predictions for a shift from the employee led job market of the pandemic to a more employer centric market for tomorrow.
[00:14:16.030] – Evan Sohn
The interesting thing, Nancy, is that before COVID I think we got to be all things to all people, right? I have to be, oh, I have people that want to work remote, I got to make that work. I have people that want this, I got to make that work. I have all these different factions inside of an organization trying to do things and I can’t get rid of Fred, even though Fred wants to work remote because I need to make it work, et cetera. Now I have this opportunity to say, what sort of company do I want to be?
[00:14:42.940] – Nancy Goebel
Next up is number five, and that’s Episode 104 14 takeaways from the DWG Member Meeting in New York City. So people often will ask us to describe what it’s like to join an in person DWG member meeting. June 2022 saw DWG’s first opportunity in North American in almost three years. And this was a special chance not only for members to come together, but also it marked a special time in DWG’s history because it was also our 20th anniversary. So in this episode of Digital Workplace Impact, I was joined by Ed Taylor, who is DWG’s Chief Growth Officer. And together we tried to shine the light on some 14 takeaways from that New York City event, which was hosted by The Estée Lauder Companies. And the event truly provided unique insights, lots of rich dialogue, and helped recreate connections at deeper and more meaningful levels for those who were in attendance. It also gave DWG an opportunity to debut an in person technology lab. And this really created a window into the digital workplace of 2025 and enabled practitioners to hear more about emerging technologies as well as core capabilities that are readily available today. And we think our members we know our members found the session to be a valuable opportunity to gain insights from vendors with a strong track record within organizations of similar size and reach.
[00:16:28.610] – Nancy Goebel
And so this podcast with Ed is really a whistle stop review for us to talk about DWG’s research events and future opportunities alongside highlights from that member meeting.
[00:16:41.830] – Ed Taylor
I think there’s a lot of learnings from those in the room that were earlier stages of their journeys to sort of say, right, wow, this is where the bar has been moved to. And I think that’s one of the more refreshing things that you get to see with the member meetings is that when you’ve got a host organization that can sort of demonstrate elements of best practice within their own digital workplace, it really helps the organizations in the room get a feel for what might be possible within side their own enterprises. So I think there’s a huge lot of value that people get from that. And obviously, you’ve got the sort of individuals that led those programs in the room, so we were able to ask lots of questions and really get into the granular level detail, not just about the capabilities of the tech of the technology.
[00:17:25.760] – Nancy Goebel
Number four is Episode 109 How the metaverse is changing Avanade’s workplace. So in this episode, I had a chance to chat with Florin Rotar, Chief Technology Officer, and Patrik Löwendahl, Global Head of Metaverse Service Hub, both from Avenade, which, in case you’re yet unfamiliar, is a leading provider of innovative digital cloud and advisory services. And Avenade has adopted what’s called a client zero approach, such that in house learnings inform the way they deliver to their clients alongside the industry perspectives they share more widely. And this podcast really represented a candid conversation with Florin and Patrik wherein we explored the power, the purpose, the uses, and the early learnings around the metaverse inside of Avenade’s own digital workplace. And together, Patrikk and Florin shared some rreal-life experiences of immersive training and inclusive recruitment via the metaverse, revealing interactions and ways of working that previously haven’t been possible within Avenade. And in so doing, they discovered some important truths about collaboration and some things to watch out for in the metaverse, including creating digital divides and watching out for physical manifestations like motion sickness that can become a factor. So with opportunity definitely comes responsibility. And so one of the takeaways from this session was to encourage those venturing into the metaverse to take a deliberate and thoughtful approach to digital ethics and to use the metaverse technologies to encourage trust and to make the experience a humane one.
[00:19:32.090] – Nancy Goebel
I have to say this conversation was full of insight, advice and honest reflections, all of which were grounded in real-life metaverse adventures.
[00:19:43.250] – Florin Rotar
Somebody being able to do a job interview or just have a discussion with us as an avatar really yielded some very high quality candidates, more diverse candidates. And just actually for some people, it gave them a sense of feeling safe and being able to project a side of them that they wouldn’t have been able to project otherwise.
[00:20:09.910] – Patrik Löwendahl
People is pulling this into something kind of this is doing your workplace in VR and when you look at from that, of course it looks a lot like a hype and it looks like the next shiny thing. And people are thinking, does that mean I’m running around with a headset all day at work? But that’s not what it actually means. It’s much broader than that.
[00:20:31.580] – Nancy Goebel
And we are up to number three, which is Episode 101 Designing connected workplaces for tomorrow. If you said the word hybrid a few years ago, it’s more than likely that someone would have been talking about a car. Say the word hybrid today and it interestingly brings the workplace to mind. Following the great working from home experiment of 2020 and 2021 to the return to office, which is occurring in various shapes and sizes, one big question that keeps igniting passionate debates is where will people work from in the future? And so this episode really allowed me to tap into the great mind behind Shimrit Janes, our Director of Knowledge, so that we could explore the complex and multidimensional issues that arise from that question. And in theory, it may seem like a simple question with a simple answer. People who are desk based will either work from an office or from home, or flex between the two. The hybrid at hand is therefore simply a workforce that exists across both locations. Or is it? The episode is really worth a listen to hear Shimrit’s insights into things like structures and equity challenges and practices, along with lots of great advice to help you make the most of the hybrid workplace.
[00:22:06.330] – Nancy Goebel
Much of this conversation was grounded in research that she authored earlier this year entitled Hybrid work reimagined: Advanced practices for connected workplaces.
[00:22:17.280] – Shimrit Janes
One of the big things that’s come through for hybrid is this fear of surveillance. And if I can’t see you in the office, I need to make sure you’re working wherever you are. And actually, that can be counterproductive. The question for me is if we’re going to now evolve into something that is sustainable, how can we make it so that this idea of hybrid working is more organic, is more fitted to how people want to be working, is driven by our needs and our choices, rather than it being forced on us as something.
[00:22:51.530] – Nancy Goebel
Okay, we’re up to number two, which is Episode 108 A blueprint for success designing user experiences at Uber. In episode 108, Uber’s, Andrea Baltazar shared her blueprint for an effective 1st 100 days within any organization. I thought it was not only a powerful tool for those of you who may be stepping into new roles in 2023, but also those of you who are established but looking to take a fresh approach to your current role. The Blueprint, as shared by Andrea is really an approach for understanding people, processes and products in a way that allows you to create a baseline strategy for success. And in her case, it was as she was stepping into a new role as product design leader at Uber. Over the years, Andrea has used her employee experience expertise to step across into the user experience design space and the discussion uncovers some rich insights around this. We also had a chance to delve into the value of bringing empathy into the workplace, being a lifelong learner, working in a dynamic hybrid environment, paying forward your learnings as a mentor, and look at how active listening to user needs can really provide an edge in product design.
[00:24:24.630] – Nancy Goebel
I really love this episode because it’s centered around brave experimentation and the importance of building partnerships that underpin how Andrea lives leadership. So whether you’re a digital workplace leader or an employee experience practitioner, if you’re looking for some thought provoking and practical advice, this episode is definitely worth a listen.
[00:24:47.610] – Andrea Baltazar
I would say the first thing, especially as a product design leader, is create great partnerships of trust and transparency with your product and engineering partners. I cannot say enough how helpful that has been to me in even acclimating into any culture that I’ve been, and especially at Uber, because we move fast. If I don’t create those partnerships early and build that trust with that group, then I think I wouldn’t be as at least as successful to this point as I am without it. I would also say a learning that I have from Uber is be open to experimentation. I think that within the UX realm we are sometimes known as folks that might be a little bit more rigid towards experimentation and that could be putting something into the product and actually testing what it’s like in the real life environment. That is an example of an experiment. We might want to do it as a quote, a B test and essentially put it into product and test and sometimes in a fast moving environment being open to that is actually key so that we can get results fairly quickly and then pivot. I think the part that’s important is set a plan in place when you do have an organization that experiments to essentially pivot if something might have gone wrong with the experiment itself.
[00:26:04.230] – Andrea Baltazar
Not having that plan I think would be a little bit detrimental to the UX user experience.
[00:26:09.270] – Nancy Goebel
So at long last, drum roll, we can unveil the top podcast of 2022, which is Episode 111 How to feng shui enterprise social with Microsoft Viva Engage and more. I have to say it can be hard to keep up with developments across Microsoft 365, from Microsoft teams to the relatively new Viva suite and more. And over the years Microsoft has continually invested in its tools, pushed out enhancements, added new features, launched entirely new apps. Of course there have been some real advantages, lots of powerful marketing and Microsoft continues to extend the power of digital workplace teams to deploy effective solutions that impact the employee experience. At the same time, the sheer pace of change and the number of features to be considered in the Microsoft stack can be overwhelming. And so Episode 111 gave us a chance to catch up with James Tyer, who’s a Customer Engagement Leader at Microsoft and a co-author of book called Social by design, which is focused on how to create and scale a collaborative company. And core to this episode was really demystifying Microsoft Viva Engage, Yammer and enterprise social networking. I really loved this episode because it was such an absorbing conversation.
[00:27:44.550] – Nancy Goebel
James talked through the changing landscape of enterprise social, summed up top learnings on how to think about people before technology. I also thought it brought honest insights into creating authentic connections and opportunities to build inclusive cultures. We also had a chance to gaze into what could be some of the biggest enterprise social trends to come, alongside making sense of the Microsoft Viva Engage and Yammer paradigm that’s currently in place.
[00:28:18.690] – James Tyer
I think if they’re incentivized individually, you’re taking advantage of people’s good nature rather than going with it. We want to connect, we want to be social, but we just keep putting things in the way, especially as organizations get bigger. And that’s why it’s difficult sometimes for tools like Viva Engage and Yammer and others to really be successful immediately. Being open to change, being adaptive and not trying to control change, I think that’s a mistake that a lot of organizations do. But I think there’s an opportunity to think about what are we trying to control and why? Where can we give up control and what can we remove rather than add things?
[00:29:02.780] – Nancy Goebel
Well, Digital Workplace Impact fans, that’s my roundup of DWG’s top ten podcasts of 2022. I hope this eclectic sampler gives you a flavor for the topics that were central to both DWG members and our wider listening base, from the visionary to the aspirational, to the practical to the experimental. Of course, I have to extend our warmest thanks to all of our 2022 studio guests for sharing their insights, their challenges, their ambitions for the digital workplace, and, of course, their time. We are already gearing up for some terrific studio guests in 2023 and can’t wait to share them with you in the new year. Of course, if you know of any great stories to share in the studio, do give us a shout on LinkedIn. In the meantime, I think it’s important to extend DWG’s warmest wishes for happy holidays and all the best in 2023.
[00:30:07.330] – Nancy Goebel
As always. Digital Workplace Impact is brought to you by Digital workplace Group. 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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Book a free one-to-one consultation to discuss the current status of your digital workplace. Each consultation is followed up with a bundle of useful resources to help get you started.