04 Apr Reshaping The Workscape For The Employee Experience
Written by Lena Ross, #changehacks
Disruptive times call for different approaches
We are hearing a great deal about new or agile ways of working these days.
While the term itself ‘new ways of working’ has been bandied around for a couple of years, adoption in organisations is still work in progress.
The HR Zone defines New Ways of Working (NWoW) as:
“an initiative looking to boost flexibility and retention, largely by removing many of the barriers and management styles of the past and bringing them into line with a modern multigenerational workforce”.
So what has brought all this about and what it does it mean for organisations, leaders and the employees?
New ways of working means new ways of engaging our employees
There’s numerous ‘forces’ at play that are reshaping the work environment. Firstly, there’s the game changers driven by numerous disruptive factors in the external environment such as digitisation, technology, mobilisation and automation.
At the same time we have a ‘gig economy’ – a frequently-used term to describe the increase of independent contractors and consultants, as knowledge workers, employed in organisations on short term engagements. These freelancers work side-by-side with permanent staff. For optimal productivity, all these people need to be enabled and feel empowered to do their best work. As traditional hierarchies and ways of interacting and working are changing, organisations will have to work harder than ever to attract the right permanent and knowledge workers and retain their talent.
In turn, the combination of these factors is shifting employee expectations in the way they interact with their employer, the space around them, the technology they use and how they collaborate with their team members.
According to a recent Forbes article quoting Jacob Morgan, a ‘future of work’ expert and author, organisations investing in the employee experience had:
“…four times the average profit and more than two times the average revenue. They were also almost 25 percent smaller, which suggests higher levels of productivity and innovation.”
Creating the ultimate employee experience
Jacob Morgan describes the employee experience as being made up of three environments – the cultural, the physical and the technological.
The cultural environment is about engagement, morale, sense of belonging and contribution, collaboration, psychological safety and leadership. Research shows that 60% of employees value culture over salary, reminding us of different levers to keep our people motivated.
The physical environment offers a sense of space, mood, aesthetics and design and this is supported by results that show 61% of workers say a conducive office design contributes to their motivation and happiness at work.
The technological environment is created by providing practical and contemporary technological tools for employees to engage, work and collaborate either on site or remotely with 92% employees typically saying that having the technology to carry out their work efficiently improves their job satisfaction.
To create a positive employee experience is to craft a sophisticated interplay of these three interdependent elements. You cannot have one without another.
Through the lens of new ways of working, this means that:
- SPACE is being redesigned and more fluid. You move around and work with teams where the work needs to be done. Work is more about what you do, less about a fixed place you go to.
- New TECHNOLOGY empowers employees by enabling best use of the workspace, along with reshaping collaboration, mobility and boosting productivity
- BEHAVOURS and MINDSETS need to shift as people are interacting differently with technology and space, it also means they are interacting differently with each other. It means letting goes of practices and artefacts that have served them well. Examples of artefacts are private offices, assigned, fixed desks and high-walled cubicles
By addressing these three elements, we are on our way to create a positive employee experience that will build a climate of transparency and trust in the workplace.
And we know a positive employee experience is beneficial not just for the employees, but for the organisation as it’s something that attracts and retains talent, improves productivity overall and employee engagement.
EX = CX
Organisations are starting to realised that the employee experience (EX) is just as important as the customer experience (CX). Happy employees translate to happy customers. Many businesses invest a great deal on customer-centricity and apply little or no effort in building employee engagement and morale. We need to remember that our employees represent our culture and ethos.
This is elegantly summarised in Richard Branson’s quote, where he says:
In the gig economy, workers are typically moving from company to company, easily taking their skills and knowledge with them. Employees, permanent and contractor, also want to feel empowered to do their best work. When we create a great employee experience, we retain talent, build internal capability and improve productivity, all things that cost a lot if they are not optimal in the business.
Our agilify offering, with our expertise in the three disciplines of people, space and technology that represents the three elements of the employment experience, is designed to optimise human performance and organisational productivity. All cleverly thought out by Michael Greaves, without even knowing about Jacob Morgan. So very clever indeed and kudos to Michael!