What it’s like to be a Digital Workplace Consultant

A unique role at Habanero

We’re hiring! So I’ll just say it: we want you to consider us. The thing is, we want you to have a well-baked idea of the role you choose to apply for, and job titles don’t always say just what we mean. This is the case for a role we call Digital Workplace Consultant (also known as Office 365/SharePoint Analyst). For some companies, a role by this name means one thing. For us, it means another. So, I sat down with a few of my colleagues at Habanero, and we talked about what being a Digital Workplace Consultant is all about.

What a Digital Workplace Consultant actually does

A Digital Workplace Consultant at Habanero has to have technical skills—true. For example, they work with clients to determine how organizations can use Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365 most effectively, and they work on things like information architecture, analytics, and governance.

But that’s not all. In fact, the digital stuff isn’t necessarily the most important part of the job. Describing what they do, Chris, Osama, Natalie, and Ricardo all drive home the same point: this work requires a fine balance between having technical expertise and being oriented to human needs.

Chris explains it like this: “A Digital Workplace Consultant is a consultant who understands collaboration and communications needs. They’re also a solutions specialist who understands how to create strategy and configure solutions that will help drive great experiences.”

The consulting side of the role is not to be underestimated, says Natalie. “Our work in organizations is quite disruptive. Digital transformation really changes the way people work, the way things are managed, and the operations around digital systems. Because of that, the consultant leads the education process. You bring people together for conversations. You help them see that what they’ve done isn’t what they’ll do in the future.”

And not only is there the need to shape a vision, but there’s also the need to know how to take practical steps toward achieving the vision, adds Osama. “You have to understand what kind of work needs to be done and how to get it done. You have to know how to make sense of ambiguity.”

Skills to rely on

Making sense of ambiguity requires empathy, says Ricardo. “An important part of what we do is listening to people’s needs. We walk a mile in their shoes as opposed to just grabbing requirements for a solution.”

Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes means being on the ground. “We don’t pontificate from on high. We roll up our sleeves and do stuff. We’re real practitioners in the trenches,” explains Chris, noting that consultants are responsible for research, running workshops, creating deliverables, and facilitating conversations (sometimes quite tricky ones).

Being attentively and empathetically in the trenches, on one hand, requires careful sifting, sorting, and analyzing data, on the other. “We read a lot, and we have to be comfortable with lots of different sources of information,” says Natalie, including the latest developments and trends in employee experience because the space is rapidly changing. Staying on top of these is critical, Ricardo adds, “because it’s impossible to boil the ocean, so you have to know how to focus on the right problems. And finding those right problems a matter of being both informed and instinctive.”

You’ll thrive in this role if…

You are genuinely curious. Our ideal Digital Workplace Consultant is an empathetic, experience-focused practitioner and analyst. Rigid thinkers with been-there-done-that attitudes will likely be quite uncomfortable.

“People with an engineering mindset, by which I mean people who think there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things, aren’t going to do well in this role. You have to be open to emergence,” says Osama.

“Yes, and you have to be willing to learn,” adds Ricardo. “This role doesn’t suit people who are set in their own ways and who have big egos.”

“This stuff is messy. It’s not for the faint of heart,” says Chris. “If you’re not good at handling politics, or if you need a lot of direction and structure, this work is not a good fit. Because it’s all about structuring a fuzzy domain. You have to be able to see something others don’t, and you have to get people fired up about that.”

How being a Digital Workplace Consultant at Habanero is unique

The group suggests that “Digital Workplace Consultant” means something unique at Habanero. “Many companies situate this role in operations as a junior, tactical, or implementer role, and the crux of the job is to create new SharePoint team sites. Lather, rinse, repeat. We’re giving the role a much bigger mandate,” says Chris.

If our vision for the role is unique, it’s because Habanero is, too.

"Here, it’s like one big brain,” says Ricardo, and Natalie extends the metaphor: “We’re always learning in the organization, so you have to be willing to teach. You have to be willing to give some time in spite of the fact that you’ll have a million priorities. Here, we all get pinged from colleagues who need help. We’re all asked to be part of many conversations. You have to be willing to do that.”

I’d add that you have to be willing to want that, too. Because if we want to change the world of work, then, as the old adage goes, that change starts with us.

Want to learn more about taking on this role? Let’s get to know each other.


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