The Pandemic Made Digital Workers Priceless

Image credit: iStockphoto/Rapeepat Pornsipak

It’s time for the digital worker. 

As companies become more flexible on workplace requirements and move toward outcome-based remuneration, the digital worker is well suited to perform well. 

The digital worker is he, she, or they who can take advantage of the rapid digitalization and automation currently occurring within their company to solve critical challenges. 

Two such challenges during the pandemic were collaboration and resolving conflicts. The annual Adobe State of Work report noted that digital workers could work with their colleagues across geographies and tackle work-related conflicts remotely.  

Part of their success lies with their heavy use of technology to drive creativity and innovation. For digital workers, working remotely is just a change scene. They can also spark inspiration during brainstorming sessions over video links. 

Engagement goes both ways

Digital workers also stand out in engagement. As companies went remote during the lockdowns, engagement tapered off. Digital fatigue and isolation also played a role.

However, the report noted that the opposite is true for digital workers; they’re engaging more. And as a result, they feel more invested in their jobs.

The number of employees who reported feeling invested in their jobs grew from 79% to 81%. The number who said doing their best work was more important than pay jumped by nearly 10%.

Employers’ challenge is to appreciate this engagement, which requires a shift from a hands-off management approach to positive reinforcement. 

The report highlighted that digital workers want to make a difference at work and need to feel valued. Feeling unappreciated was the top barrier to employees feeling invested in their work cited in the report, highlighting the importance of employee engagement.

Rising expectations 

Employers need to acknowledge that their digital workers have new expectations. Part of the reason is many digital workers translate their digital customer experience into their work. So, they expect the technology, applications, and services on par. 

In fact, digital workers are more willing to walk away if technology makes their jobs harder or limits their success. In the report, 49% of respondents said they would quit a job if the technology was out of date or hard to use.

It makes investing in the right tools and creating a robust digital environment essential. Employer digital experience is now seen as part of their employer brand.

Managing the generations

Not all digital workers are the same, and employers need to know the differences between generations. They also respond to challenges very differently. 

Gen X digital workers (41-56 years old) are more confident around communication, said the report, making them ideal for conflict resolution and building and reinforcing trust in a new environment. Millennials (25-40 years old) adapt at a slower pace, particularly about trust. 

These suggest employers needing to address both the technological needs and the life-situation barriers impacting individuals and teams, especially in millennials who face an uphill climb when building collective resilience and absorbing the corporate culture’s nuances.

It shows that employers looking to build a resilient digital worker culture will need to balance the differing strengths across different generations.

Image credit: iStockphoto/Rapeepat Pornsipak