In the days when the world was real, consumer facing organisations had mission statements often engraved into a piece of metal and screwed into one of each stores’ four walls.

The mission statement usually referenced helping a community, both by providing employment and services or goods to the populace. The emphasis was on quality, both for employees and customers.

Some would say both of these commitments were neglected by many in the age of globalisation. But digital transformation programmes now gain their impetus from the need to improve customer experience, enabled by new technology.

So what’s on the other side of the coin? Is cultural change happening internally with the aim of improving employee engagement and well-being?

This is the draw of startups, mostly low pay but with a small shot at fortune and with the guarantee of flexible working and no bureaucracy. Of course, these benefits mean a lot more than just business hammocks.

The latest Towers Watson survey, released last year, shows that over two thirds of UK employers plan to increase spending on health and well-being in the next year. So what’s important to consider when laying out the employee prong of your digital transformation programme?

I’ve been looking at Good Day At Work’s latest annual report, looking at wellbeing in the workplace, to see if there are ways technology can help.

Workflow tools to enable jobshare

Barclays’ digital transformation programme, Project Transform, actively encourages and supports flexible working.

One of the tools created for the purpose is a digital job share register. The register is accessible to staff that may want to jobshare, but is also monitored by our recruiters who may represent clients looking for part time work.

Rita Ross, who heads up Diversity and Inclusion at Barclays:

Just as we understand the importance of flexibility when it comes to offering services to our clients, we have realised the importance of reflecting this belief in how we treat our colleagues.

Project management software is one example of an ever improving capability (made more flexible through the cloud and cross-device optimisation) that makes job sharing easier.

barclays logo

Enabling flexibility through the cloud

Econsultancy’s Sales Organization of the Future report details the many ways in which sales teams, specifically, can be offered flexibility but also increased efficiency through social CRM amongst other tools.

Across broader teams, flexibility is being increased dramatically through the cloud.

Helen Sachdev, a director within Barclays, concurs:

I work at home on Friday. That would have been unthinkable a couple of decades ago. People came in at 8 and left at 5 (and if you were five minutes late or left five minutes early then everyone noticed). But advances in technology have made working from home a genuine option, even at the more senior levels.

In many sectors, not least banking, organizational culture is being improved with technology.

To take another example from perhaps a traditionally non-technologically enabled industry, The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) have used technology to increase flexibility. 

Tablet devices with in-built 4G connectivity and handwriting recognition software have been made available to all social work staff, allowing staff to enter case file notes on the move, and access the internal network flexibly.

An estimated 105,000 social work hours will be released, enabling further enhancement of services provided to children and families.

Having a nice working environment 

first direct provides one of the best case studies here, again in a sector one might not associate with great employee wellbeing.


Office services include:

  • A concierge desk in contact centres, allowing staff to give 100% focus to customers whilst they’re at work. The concierge will perform admin, such as posting letters.
  • Coffee shop and retail concessions in the HQ atrium.
  • On-site car valeting service that visits once or twice a month, and an ironing service. 
  • On-site gym.
  • Contact centres have an on-site workplace creche and nursery.

Many of these ideas have come from staff. Overall attrition at first direct is significantly lower than the industry norm, at around 6%.

The report recognises worker types in financial services, and how detrimental poor health can be to an employee’s and hence an organisation’s performance (see diagram). I’ve also included a table of positive business outcomes achieved by organisations pursuing well-being of their workforce. 

It’s clear that a digital transformation journey is about customers and employees. Getting it right means doing right by both, using technology where possible.

If you’re interested in reading more about well-being in the workplace, check out the Good Day At Work report. 

(Click to enlarge)

different levels of wellbeing in banking

(click to enlarge, references in original report)

advantages of psychological wellbeing of the workforce 

Ben Davis

Published 18 March, 2014 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (3)


Dylan Thomas

Nice article Ben. With LinkedIn, online job boards and recruiters so prominent now, I don't think businesses can ignore employee engagement any longer.

I mean, why do we have to hate Mondays? Work shouldn't be something we dread. At the very least it should be something that we are happy to do, even if we may prefer to be on a beach in the tropics sipping cocktails!

Liked your examples too. Great stuff.

over 4 years ago

David Sealey

David Sealey, Head of Digital Consulting at CACI

Scott Adams' take on employee engagement is worth considering:


over 4 years ago


John Fleming - Marketing Director Webtrends

Very Interesting insight and one which bigger companies as well as start-ups are very keen on. Somehow the ones in the middle tend to forget the importance of these and are less forthcoming with ways to attract, retain and stimulate their employees.

Many choose to implement internal systems such as SharePoint to broadcast 'the company message' and try to use them as support for employee engagement. The truth is that without proper understanding of how these systems should be used, user adoption is low.

Interestingly we have just commissioned an independent psychologist to write a white paper on driving adoption of internal systems such as SharePoint. You can download this report here.

over 4 years ago

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