Building a business is not always easy – apart from worrying about economic conditions, sale trajectories, etc. – you also need to know how to manage people and how to keep them happy.
And the larger your business grows, the trickier it gets.
When Digicape was first established, it was the result of two smaller businesses merging together, in order to create a bigger impact in a dynamically developing market. We knew that if we wanted to create the impact we were looking for, we needed to invest in our best assets, our people.
At the time, South Africa had a shortage of skilled Apple technicians, therefore, creating a people-centric business was crucial. Each and every person became a valuable investment that we needed to retain for as long as possible. Therefore, we set out to build a company where our people would be happy, and proud to work. This may sound simple, but in reality, it is tough!
There are, of course, many ways to build a healthy culture at work – it all starts with your businesses DNA – the values, mission, vision and core purpose. Once you have this figured out you are able to put platforms in place to ensure this ethos is instilled throughout the business. This is also where technology comes in. Technology has had a big impact on business culture, and if implemented correctly, it could help support it.
How has technology impacted business culture?
Technology has introduced the convenience of mobility. The use of laptops and tablets in the office means that employees are no longer bound to their desks. A colleague of mine touches on this in an article focused on ‘Bringing Your Own Device’ to work. This new way of working has been made simple by the use of digital tools, which managers can use to measure their subordinate’s activities and performance ensuring all KPIs are met. This helps instill trust when a staff member is working remotely.
There is the use of digital tools to improve communications. Many businesses use Trello/Teamwork to streamline project management; Perdoo is used to execute strategies; and tools like Slack/Twist are used to improve internal communications.
Even the measurement of organisational culture has gone digital using tools such as OfficeVibe or TINYpulse. All of this results in elevated levels of efficiencies and productivity. Communication is at the heart of culture and it is fast expected that all of this be done digitally, especially amongst millennials.
So, what kind of impact could tech have on business culture for the future?
There are some very interesting developments happening in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) that I believe could revolutionise the way we operate in the workplace. However, I do believe careful consideration needs to be given to the impact of implementing machine learning, or AI.
Think about an automated call centre – this can often become infuriating when you cannot find the solution you are looking for because you are not dealing with an actual person. I believe that people prefer to deal with people, and while AI might work for certain business operations, there needs to be serious consideration as to what the outcome of its implementation will achieve.
Robin Olivier is the Managing Director at Digicape.