The APEX has tackled today’s workforce management challenges numerous times—how to keep your teams engaged, building a culture of innovation, and how to strengthen the relationship between business and IT being just a few examples.
A key theme that underscores these and other chief personnel and business headaches is productivity. Every function, department, and system is facing constant pressure to work smarter, better, and more efficiently—often with the same or fewer resources. As a result, organizations are investing significant sums in software and solutions that promise to address these issues, but are they actually successful? And who is to say what success even looks like?
In an enterprise environment where people are constantly pushed to perform better, anything that promises to deliver on the all important productivity goal looks like an attractive investment. But as more organizations deploy collaboration tools and other technologies designed to engender greater workplace productivity, should someone be tasked with reviewing these solutions to ensure they function as expected?
Paul Chapman, chief information officer for Box, says yes. In a recent InformationWeek opinion piece, he described the need for a VP of Workplace Productivity, a role he defined as, “Identifying not only software tools that make employees more productive, but also monitoring how employees collaborate, whether working remotely, utilizing conference rooms, or chatting online.”
Chapman elaborated that the ideal workplace productivity exec would also find ways to create interoperability across services, and help develop a workflow that takes advantage of all that the technology ecosystem has to offer with the least amount of friction and inefficiencies possible.
Chapman isn’t alone in advocating for this function. An Entrepreneur article from last year highlighted some other key drivers, including data analysis. To paraphrase the author: a productivity officer enables companies to analyze “small data,” like which tasks are taking employees an undue amount of time or frequent tech glitches that impede performance. The actions that result often lead to big productivity gains.
No one can argue the pivotal role technology plays in today’s digital environment. But people are the true key to making the most of these investments. Even the most cutting-edge software will fall short of its potential if the workforce isn’t optimized in its usage.
So, do you need a workplace productivity officer? It might not be a critical need today, but expect this role to gain greater prominence in the years to come.