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article imageConnectMe, a digital workplace for employees: Interview Special

By Tim Sandle     Oct 29, 2017 in Business
Employee disengagement is a looming issue and it affects everything from company productivity to profitability. To help businesses with this issue, Deloitte created ConnectMe, a digital workplace. We spoke with Michael Gretczko, the general manager.
Employee disengagement can cost organizations up to $550 billion dollars annually, according to estimates made by Deloitte. To combat this matter, Deloitte has created ConnectMe, which is a digital workplace that uses insights to connect the workforce to "what they need, when and where they need it". Applications include assisting employees with big changes to their benefits package, such as if they get married or have a child.
To discover more about this digital human resources initiative Digital Journal spoke with Michael Gretczko, who is principal at Deloitte and general manager of ConnectMe, to learn how the platform is improving human resources functions and tackling employee engagement inside many of the world's major businesses.
Michael Gretczko  Principal at Deloitte
Michael Gretczko, Principal at Deloitte
Michael Gretczko
Digital Journal: Michael, how did you get involved with human resources and learning?
Michael Gretczko: My interest with human resources started as an undergraduate where I studied Industrial and Labor Relations which included a heavy focus on HR. I then had the opportunity to work within an HR department for a small technology company and I just loved the focus on people and at the time technology (they were implementing an HCM ERP). I have always believed that People are the single most important asset for driving organizational performance and as such have focused my career on this area.
DJ: How important was understanding technology for your career?
Gretczko: Technology is a hugely important part of my career. I have seen the transformation it has brought to Client’s businesses and the tremendous power it can bring to change the way we work. I have also seen how it has changed the business of consulting and how I learn, connect with others, bring insights and work more efficiently. I have always enjoyed working at the intersection of technology and business and this has helped me continue to help my clients embrace innovation and navigate the disruption around them. I think it can be dangerous in today’s digital world to not fully consider and understand the implications of technology on how business gets done.
DJ: How would you define Employee disengagement?
Gretczko: I would start by first defining Employee engagement, and working backwards from there. In today’s digital world, Employees expect there to be consistency in what they are able to do at work with what they are able to do in the personal lives – this includes flexibility, convenience, engagement, and communication. Millennials are increasingly driving the workforce conversation and redefining the expectations of the workplace.
Engagement has become more important than ever as competition for skilled talent increases. Employees have their pick of jobs, and topics like an organization’s social responsibility, mission, and how they value their workforce are key points being considered by recruits. The workplace is more transparent than ever with social media sharing and digital connectivity, so factors like a business’ culture and Employee engagement have become public knowledge. Deloitte’s 2016 Millennial Survey showed us that mission-driven organizations surveyed have 40 percent higher levels of engagement and they tend to be first or second place in their market segment . Our research also showed us that of those surveyed who responded that they plan to stay at their organization for more than 5 years, 88 percent report higher satisfaction with their organization’s sense of purpose.
Employers can drive Employee engagement by creating a "Simply Irresistible Experience" for their workforce. Our conversations with hundreds of executives identified critical strategies that organizations can leverage so that their business addresses and meets the demands of their workforce. To create a “Simply Irresistible Experience," start by focusing on five strategies: meaningful work, supportive management, a positive work environment, growth opportunities and trust in leadership. Nurture a culture of collaboration and communication to create a workplace where people want to work.
Business block in central London.
Business block in central London.
Disengaged Employees, therefore, would be ones that do not feel like these 5 strategies that help make an organization “simply irresistible” are being applied at their places of work. They might not feel like they are part of small, empowered teams. Maybe they don’t have clear and transparent goals, don’t feel recognized or that they are being treated fairly, don’t have on-going developmental opportunities, and/or don’t understand or relate to a company’s mission and purpose. Whatever it is they feel like is missing or is being done wrong could be the thing that makes them leave. By prioritizing Employee engagement and satisfaction through a “Simply Irresistible Experience, organizations will find their workforce more engaged, more productive, and more likely to stay at that organization for a long time.
DJ: What are costs to Employees and employers from Employee disengagement?
Gretczko: A disengaged Employee is one who will likely be less loyal, passionate, and even less productive than an Employee that is engaged. A disengaged workforce can drag down performance and hinder efforts to drive change within an organization. In fact, a study by The Engagement Institute and Deloitte shows that disengaged Employees cost companies between $450 and $550 billion a year.
DJ: How can the digital workforce help address the problem of Employee disengagement?
Gretczko: The digital workforce and organization addresses the issue of Employee disengagement by not only meeting, but exceeding Employee’s expectations of what it means to be a part of today’s workforce. When digital is done right, it becomes the connective tissue running throughout an entire organization, improving most, if not all, areas and functions.
Being digital is more than just implementing tools and software but rather a mindset shift. It means being able to think digitally—both by Employees and the business alike. When the Digital Organization is activated, improvements to the business and for the workforce that powers that business can be made. Things like having the right networked teams and leaders to build desired experiences, getting Employees engaged in intuitive solutions, and creating a culture of agility and smart risk-taking that is embedded in Employee development, will begin to emerge—all which can improve Employee engagement and satisfaction. By nature, a digital organization is meant to address and solve for engagement issues by improving the overall business, starting with HR.
DJ: What does ConnectMe do specifically?
Gretczko: ConnectMe is a digital workplace that uses insights to connect the workforce to what they need, when and where they need it. ConnectMe helps improve Employee engagement by enabling Employees to communicate, collaborate, and make HR decisions on-demand. The streamlined and personalized dashboard eliminates the need to access multiple systems for information. Employees can also access HR content and get help from HR from any device using ConnectMe’s consumer-style mobile app.
DJ: How does ConnectMe differ to other digital HR solutions?
Gretczko: ConnectMe brings the collective wisdom of Deloitte Consulting LLP to the product, and helps clients accelerate the transformation of their organization into a truly digital workplace. ConnectMe was developed based on our experiences helping clients transform how they deliver HR services to Employees, and based on the recognition that Employee’s came into work with a set of expectations about how they would interact there – expectations set by the digital communities they are a part of outside of the workplace. ConnectMe was designed as a platform that easily integrates with existing technologies and to organize those disparate systems and the work Employees can’t do in them around what we call “Moments that Matter” – outcome based end to end tasks. ConnectMe is built on and takes advantage of the flexibility and strength of this SaaS platform to provide enterprise-grade features.
Office block in London.
Office block in London.
Additionally, ConnectMe’s ‘breakthrough’ is in continuously collecting data that can be analyzed to develop insights to help improve the digital workplace and HR service delivery.
DJ: How is the take up of ConnectMe growing?
Gretczko: The marketplace is recognizing the need for a simple, modern and consumer grade destination to access information, initiate end to end workflows, facilitate communication, and reduce time spent on manual, tedious tasks. The competition for skilled talent alone drives this need, as Employees expect this kind of convenience these days in every aspect of their lives. As automation and technology continue to become more advanced and wide-spread, eliminating unnecessary work, especially HR related work, will be essential to keeping pace with the new innovations coming down the line and to keeping Employees happy, engaged, and productive.
DJ: Are you able to give some examples of companies that are using the platform?
Gretczko: One example where an organization implemented ConnectMe is at a Fortune 50 manufacturing company—one of the largest in the world. They relied on ConnectMe to support an HR Transformation initiative supported by Deloitte Consulting and to start their journey towards a truly digital workplace that transforms the Employee Experience. The outcomes of this project will be more efficient HR operations, personalized information delivery, actionable analytics to drive continuous improvement in the service delivery model and a new approach to Employee Engagement. The project also helped integrate multiple existing HR systems to create a streamlined, consistent approach to getting HR related work done. Building on this digital success, the company will move next to change how they engage with their Customers.
Besides this story, multiple other Clients are using ConnectMe to enable different parts of their HR Service Delivery and Digital Journeys.
DJ: How do you see the digital workforce developing in the future?
Gretczko: For organizations to remain competitive in the future, they will need to consider implementing the organization of the future, which means becoming digital. Our 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report showed us that 90 percent of companies are resigning their organizations to be more dynamic, team-centric, and connected.
As technology continues to improve and become more widely available, the workforce and workplace will need to continue to change with it. New technologies bring disruption and to be fully prepared to manage and thrive throughout these disruptions, organizations should be agile, flexible, and communicative — in a word, digital.
HR will be in the middle of these disruptions and as such, in a unique position to take the lead and model how the rest of the organization can be successful by being digital. As technologies like automation become more widespread, HR can help further develop the digital workforce and workplace by committing to helping Employees appreciate and understand the changes underway and arm them with the tools and training they need to be successful in a new digital world, through improvements in engagement, flexibility, continuous learning, digital technology, and innovation.
Michael Gretczko is a principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP and General Manager of ConnectMe which delivers a modern solution for the digital workplace. ConnectMe simplifies HR interactions and connects employees how and when they want.
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