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Cultivating creative and empowered workers

Bringing culture and HR to business transformation, is just as important as the technology that will support it.

In my first blog I wrote about how we are currently in the fourth industrial revolution -- the digital age. The amount of data being generated and put into the cloud is transforming the way organisations were interacting with their employees and customers.

However, for these businesses to truly stay nimble and agile, they also need to be able to let their staff become creative. Recent research from Steelcase revealed that 72 per cent of workers believe that their own future success depends on their ability to be creative. This suggests innovation is not good enough to do a base role;staff also need to be creative to get ahead in their workspace - that is linked to both the culture and environment.

While you get flexibility by leveraging the cloud,a key challenge is that there are still questions around workflow manageability. However, organisations are implementing ways to figure all of this out. One of our large banking customers with a typical organisational structure is using a program where they put teams into pods.

These cross-structure pods go after different challenges or issues they see in the market.For nearly a third of their time they are working in this dynamic pod and leveraging great cloud technology and reporting through that, as opposed to traditional organisational structure.

I think it's a great example of how a big institution is trying to be nimble, and agile through the human resources side, and coming up with ideas to enable that.It drives home the importance of bringing culture and HR to business transformation.

For an organisation to be competitive in their industry, theyneed engaged employees that are also empowered.Staff feedback is crucial in gaining insight so you can innovate products and services.

They need to be able to ask themselves what their plan is to get that going using cloud technology. That's a huge thing for us, because we are trying to make sure we are simplifying it and reducing the complexity, as well as making sure each customer has their own store and the capabilities to empower their employees and the benefits they want.

At Microsoft we look to leverage our own intellectual property around transformation so that we can help our customers with their transformation journey. For example, IT departments, just like any department, will benefit from diversity, across age groups. If I step back, I see someindustries are doing well. Others are slower, and I would say it's because they don't have diversity within the decision-making areas and they're not open to taking advantage of the modern workplace.

Organisations need to be able to attract people by assuring them they have a different type of workplace. They need to show they have a modern workplace where new employees can come in, have an impact, and be rewarded for making that impact.

They really need to throw away that narrow view of the working world, one where an employee comes in, sits at their desk, and doesn't move for a number of hours.

When an organisation really opensitself up to what other people are doing and helps others, it's critical to a modern workplace. The modern workplace, through digital transformation, is not just about the technology; a big part of what we talk about is culture and the tone from the top.

An example of this is havinghuman resource practices like pay for performance, as opposed to pay for attending the office everyday, combined with really healthy incentives around making others successful.This leads to a strong emphasis on the importance of teamwork and collaboration.It's not just your own pay performance impact, but your ability to make your team successful and leverage what other people are doing.

It's not just good enough to be a great individual, in your own bubble and doing well. It's about looking at whether you have access to other people through technology and whether or not you are leveraging it.

Make sure you get the best out of your employees, by transforming your organisation. Read more on Microsoft's voice in the cloud capabilities, to create a workplace of the future.