Power of personalization in the digital workplace

Published on: August 21, 2018

A key measure that most organizations use to determine the success of their digital workplace is user adoption. After all the efforts into architecture, security setting, look and feel, the true test is in determining if they have created the central hub that employees keep coming back to.

It’s really about putting the employee at the center of your digital workplace strategy and delivering these “customers” of your digital workplace useful and relevant information to get their job done. The most sophisticated and award winning digital workplaces are leading the way in relation to employee centricity through personalization.

However personalization should not be exclusive just to organizations with big budgets and large teams. The good news is advancements in technology, specifically AI, means digital workplace personalization is within the grasp of every company, and there are steps you can take today.


Learning from personalization in the consumer world

 In Gartner’s own definition of the Digital Workplace it mentions exploiting “consumer-oriented styles and technologies,” so it shouldn’t be a surprise of where to look for leaders in personalization. Here are some of the companies who are making personalization an artform, leading to very happy customers:


Netflix truly is leading the pack when it comes to getting the right content in front of its members – all 130+ Million of them as of July 2018. Netflix has an immense catalog of titles, too many to present on the homepage, so it’s developed powerful algorithms that carefully curate each user’s Netflix experience based on their viewing history.

The Netflix tech blog summed up perfectly, “Netflix differs from traditional media offerings: we don’t have one product but over a 100 million different products with one for each of our members with personalized recommendations and personalized visuals.”


Yes, that does say “personalized visuals”. Netflix knows that one size doesn’t fit all, and this is certainly true for images and how impactful they are. So, Netflix doesn’t serve up the same image for a title to all viewers, but customizes it based on previous streaming habits. For example, the above collage shows just a fraction of the different images it serves up for the hit Stranger Things.

Recent announcements may suggest that Netflix thinks their algorithms are that good they have given away with the old 5 star rating system, replacing it with a thumbs up or thumbs down, and as of this month they have also removed the ability to read and write reviews. Based on the subscriber growth in the service, it appears Netflix knows what its customers want, so I’d expect them to keep pushing the boundaries when it comes to personalization.


A huge differentiator that Spotify has over its competitors is custom playlists, in the form of Your Daily Mixes, Discover Weekly, and Release Radar.

Each of these listening experiences has been collated by algorithms that track listening habits, followed artist, and song preferences, just to name a few. So, in other words Spotify is listening, listening to what its customer data is telling them

Spotify has been so successful that Apple Music has followed suit by introducing their own “My New Music Mix” and just this month the brand new “Friends Mix” has begun to roll out to users. There is doubt these two behemoths, will continue to fight it out for the top spot when it comes to subscribers and hopefully this means customers will win through more personalized experiences.


What Digital Workplace personalization is already possible?

Getting back to the corporate side of things, personalization can have a significant impact on individual employee and overall business effectiveness. Up to 25% of knowledge worker’s day can be lost by looking for the wrong information or by being overwhelmed with too much information.

Personalization comes into play in the digital workplace to deliver employees information that’s relevant, feeds they have opted in to, whilst filtering out all the noise.

So, what does that look like today?

Personalization of your digital workplace is already possible and there are a few ways that can take shape. Here are a few:

  • Personalized news feeds – segregation of news into separate feeds, e.g. global, local, my news - check out the personalized news feed available in Neon Circle, a full turnkey, customizable intranet-in-a-box.
  • Custom Event calendars – Calendars that are curated to reflect only events relevant to the employee’s specific location, department, projects etc.
  • Content based on profile information- including location information, department, job title, language preferences, skills, etc.
  • Employee Preferences - letting employees decide what information is relevant to them and what feeds they would like to subscribe to. Also allowing them to opt-out of content feeds.
  • Security trimmed – Providing only the content that employees have access to see.


But first … how’s your employee information?

Underpinning personalization is accurate employee information. Without up-to-date employee information including department, region, office location, you cannot effectively deliver targeted content to employees and drive their engagement with your digital workplace.


We know that keeping up to date with employee information is a struggle for most organizations. We’ve heard many stories about how companies have tried to tackle the problem, including:

  • IT Teams being burdened with support tickets for changes to phone, title, department, etc.
  • Utilizing interns to go around office with clipboards and collect the information from employees
  • Office Managers and HR department manually updating excel spreadsheets
  • Project Teams emailing the entire company – asking everyone to update their details
  • Profile information never being updated after on-boarding

Fortunately, there is a much easier way, by letting Hyperfish and our AI powered bot to collect and constantly manage your employee's information. You can even get started for free today with Hyperfish Lite - to collect and manage your employee's Office 365 profile photos.


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