The Department of Now vs. The Department of No: Improving Workplace Culture

By Ashley Leonard, President & CEO of Verismic Software

In the short span of a decade, innovative electronic devices such as laptops, tablets, smart phones and internet engagement channels have made an indelible impact on everyday life, revolutionizing the means and speed in which people communicate, socialize and purchase goods and services. Combining the personal and business use of high-tech devices and applications, however, is a more recent phenomenon that’s blazing an irreversible trail.

While this growing movement of versatile devices in the workplace provides flexibility and offers a wide range of options to increase employee productivity, it puts the modus operandi of back-office technology in peril, leaving IT departments precariously teetering on the edge of falling from hero to zero.Culture vs. Technology: The Chicken and the Egg

While some argue that corporate cultures are shaped by the influence of developing technologies, I find merit in reports stating that technology evolves much more quickly than most robust cultures. In fact, technologies can be seen as a reflection of existing workplace cultures where each advancement is developed to meet a need that challenges teams.

For example, a new cell phone app sidesteps corporate HR departments and publicly shares information on local venues to provide corporate team-building activities. Employees from numerous companies throughout the community find the app, share postings on it and select diverse activities to discuss with their management. What they select might depend upon the nature of a particular company’s culture. For example, a sporting goods company may hire more active employees who seek out physically demanding activities while a high-tech company could find its employees prefer an indoor venue offering group problem-solving games.

However, an issue of security arises when each of these companies are inundated with emails and online sharing of a site that has not been vetted for data privacy. If IT were to attempt to circumvent the use of such developing technologies, additional challenges present themselves when recognizing that these are more than just blind technical developments, they are reflections of the needs and interests of the company population. Such black-hole circumvention will bring with it increased security at a price: Transgressing upon the developing technologies fuel the lifeblood of the company — the people working there.

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