Leading digitalization: Happiness pays off for Norway

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Happy employees are better employees, and digitalization provides opportunities to change structures that leave workers frustrated and unsatisfied.

Jennifer Vessels
Next Step—Silicon Valley & Oslo, Norway

Digitalization—the use of technology to streamline work processes, access information, and improve global productivity—can be considered the “next big paradigm shift,” impacting the way we all work, live, and relate to one another. As with all change, this brings both benefits and challenges.

Based on the recent Gallup polls indicating that less than 15 percent of workers today feel truly engaged and happy in their jobs, change is needed. Low employee satisfaction is often due to lack of challenge and opportunity—not feeling valued but rather trapped in traditional hierarchies and management structures.

Digitalization allows automation of repetitive tasks so employees can be utilized as true “value added human resources” analyzing and resolving problems, creatively developing innovative solutions, and enhancing customer experience.

In addition, successful digitalization involves use of technology to create and deliver new products and services, integrate complementary offerings from partners, and innovate continually to compete globally. This can provide many new opportunities for employees to collaborate, innovate, and grow in the workplace.

In the Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2016, 92 percent of the 7,000 companies surveyed say that today’s digital world of work has shaken the foundation of their organizational structure. As a company shifts from traditional functional hierarchies to project team approaches, values and culture, transparency of goals, frequent feedback, and free flow of information, and an employee’s contributions and accomplishments are valued more than position in the organization.

As seen by Adobe, GE, Daimler Benz, and other global corporations embracing technology, successful digitalization requires leadership to:

• Build project teams instead of hierarchies to dynamically achieve results

• Recognize, reward, and compensate people based on goal achievement and productivity versus activity and hours

• Develop and demonstrate trust and respect for all employees

• Define and communicate a clear vision for the future

• Innovate and engage employees in creatively and dynamically building solutions

With an egalitarian culture and inclusive leadership style, Norwegian organizations are well poised to make the transition to the new world of work and digitalization. As evidenced by Tandberg—in which the company culture was based on fun and innovation—by focusing on the people, profits will follow.

Known for a high quality of life and happiness for citizens and employees, Norway can provide many great examples of leadership in the new world of digitalization.

The article was provided to The Norwegian American by Jennifer Vessels, CEO of Next Step, based in Silicon Valley with Oslo subsidiary, which is bringing best practices from their leadership of Adobe, ShoreTel, and Precise’s digital transformation to Norwegian enterprises. She can be reached at jvessels@nextstepgrowth.com.

This article originally appeared in the May 19, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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