Vicki Huff Eckert leads PwC's New Ventures and Innovations organisation. She joined us at Flow to talk about the global trends driving Workplace adoption, and the global consulting firm's own "phenomenal" experience on the platform.
Of all the people who joined us on stage at Flow, Vicki Huff Eckert, global New Ventures lead for PwC, might know Workplace better than anyone. And that includes the Workplace team. Why? Because the mission of her business is to bring technology and services together for her clients. That means she's familiar with Workplace on multiple levels.
"We work on helping our clients adopt Workplace", she explained to the audience, "but in my business unit we're also building solutions that we bring to clients on top of Workplace. And lastly, I'm leading our own pilot of Workplace internally, which has been phenomenal."
Spending time on the inside of so many large organisations gives Vicki a privileged perspective on the change agenda that many MDs are looking to drive. And two trends in particular have caught her eye.
Trend 1: Leading with employees
The first is cultural. "New MDs especially know that they need to make changes", she says. "They're looking to adopt technology, change the game, lower their cost structure, become more competitive in the market. And what you find is that a lot of them are realising that they can't do it alone. Employees adopt technology. Employees move the market. If you aren't leading with your employees, you won't be able to get the changes adopted that you require.
"That's why Workplace resonates really well with leadership teams", she continues, "because it allows them to lead with employees."
"Workplace resonates really well with leadership teams because it allows them to lead with employees."
– Vicki Huff Eckert, New Ventures and Innovations lead, PwC
How so? Firstly, because it's so easy to use that it gives everybody a voice. PwC has seen that firsthand. "We have a very big focus on what we call 'citizen-led' innovation. With Workplace, the ease of adoption meant that employees could lead the way because people don't want to miss out."
Trend 2: Consumerisation of IT
Then there's the second big trend that Vicki identifies. "Over the last 20 years, we've seen an explosion in the consumerisation of IT", she explains. "Now these consumers, especially millennials, are getting into management or becoming a bigger part of the working world. They want to communicate the way they grew up communicating. There's a real transformation happening across industry, which is smaller bites of communication on a regular basis to keep people engaged."
Vicki Huff Eckert on stage at Flow 2018
According to Vicki, not only is Workplace capable of delivering this engagement, it actually does so in a way that helps to reinforce the cultural shifts that are already taking hold. That's thanks to live video, which, says Vicki, "changes the game in your communications". Even if it means taking a leap of faith.
"I love social, I'm on social at home with my kids, I use it at work. But Live was a new experience, and the first time I had to quickly delete it", she admits.
"My whole team said, 'That was so authentic, why did you delete it?' It's because I come from a world where we're so scripted. But we all have to get comfortable with it. That's the new thing. And using it was phenomenal. It was about a big announcement that we had coming up and it got the whole team energised."
"The people in our organisation who are on Workplace are really showing their leadership in the world."
Beyond culture and communications, PwC is seeing Workplace deliver genuine business impact across its client base. "You start out with communications, you go to conversations and then you start realising the real business opportunity", Vicki says.
"We see clients using bots and doing self-help. We have clients working on employee onboarding solutions. We have clients that are looking at how we do eDiscovery on the platform. Increasingly, we're starting to work on how our clients see it over three, six, nine months, or over a two-year period."
Enabling leaders to show leadershipInternally, Vicki suggests that the most profound impact has been on PwC's leadership. "It isn't all about birthday parties and smiley faces and thumbs ups", she jokes.
"What I'm most impressed by is how the people in our organisation who are on Workplace are really showing their leadership in the world. And while, yes, they have some fun, the most amazing posts are them polling each other, asking each other for input, asking about different business problems. It's the viral effect because of the ease of adoption that makes it really interesting and exciting."
With huge thanks to Vicki Huff Eckert, New Ventures Lead, PwC.