“The future of work is all about employee experience” – Dr. Woerne, MIT
We ran a disruption workshop in Stockholm Epicenter with MIT / Sloan Management in late 2019. The backdrop was one of the hottest startup scenes where Swedish disruptors plot to threaten or gain the major revenues and margins of our target clients. In the room we had representatives from the country’s largest employers facing digital disruption.
After the workshop, Zalaris reached two conclusions:
- To define Zalaris’ role as an ecosystem driver (which is another story)
- To define if & how Zalaris can empower HR to drive a compelling employee experience
We decided to sponsor CEMS / Copenhagen Business School to do a research report, and the outcome is more than compelling.
When it comes to employee experience (EX), the reality is that not everyone is on the same page. There is no silver bullet. This should come as no surprise, because it’s impossible. It’s about personalization and full inclusion. It depends. If you can’t satisfy them all, you can at least manage their expectations up front: “Yes, our beds are great, but please note our front office is unmanned after midnight,” etc. (if you are in the hospitality industry).
At Zalaris, we live and die by being entrusted with and simplifying extraordinarily complex processes for any company: payroll outsourcing, across countries, to secure compliance and “perfect pay.”
It’s a never-ending triathlon challenge, and we know that payroll is a demotivator if not done right: If you don’t master the “plumbing and utilities” of the house, who cares about the nice living room?
“No matter what, getting paid as expected on time for work done is the ultimate employee experience and peace of mind for everyone. Monthly. Weekly. On demand.”
If payroll is the plumbing and utilities in a house, the rooms and their layout represent the different HR domains, increasingly in the cloud. Are they even connected? Do you have to leave one house to get to another room or the bathroom? Is there a kitchen, or do you eat take-out every night? Zalaris delivers a fluent and integrated “whole truth”. We empower a compelling experience. Nice piano, but can you even play it? etc.
The EX drivers represent the way people interact and behave – and feel – in different rooms, and how the rooms are decorated with point solutions for a personal fit. The same room looks different for a teenager, a toddler and a retired. So does the UX with HR across domains. They have different personalized decorations and ways of using the rooms. The lightning and water may be shared and integrated (read payroll) unless you must manage three different utility companies with different power outages. If the fuse goes or there is a leakage of some kind, hell breaks loose and you call the expert, or fix it yourself. If you are one of the rare experts in the plumbing and utility business, you do it yourself. If not, why not outsource to achieve peace of mind? etc.
Every driver is important for someone, but will personalization lead to discrimination?
For example, what matters most to one employee may not matter very much or at all to another. So how to get started? What is my baseline? Where do I aim? What should be the general direction? So, what should guide HR and other corporate leaders to the EX promised land? Assuming you already know what EX drivers to master but do not know your baseline, (how good you are at it), well, that is your baseline. Baseline may be: I have no clue how well I master these drivers. The white paper provides guidance on establishing a baseline – and illustrates an agile approach that also gains stakeholder commitment. The easiest way is to understand your family. Talk to them.
The drivers that come out as the top x “most compelling” may be the drivers that represent your company’s core offering, assuming your workforce values are important to you and your colleagues. The drivers that are “most relevant” for a few may actually be part of a personalization services catalogue (or freedom), delivered by 3rd-party providers, as long as it does not discriminate or is limited by union agreements.
It’s obvious that certain criteria will always stand out for large segments of any enterprise’s employee population. Still, those EX factors may vary dramatically from your company to the next or from one industry to another.
What if the lowest-ranked EX drivers for future workforce are simply “assumed”?
Let’s look at the summary table of EX drivers the future workforce prioritized (e.g., the young talent that are who the talent war is about)! The lowest-ranked drivers imply “taken for granted”, like plumbing and payroll being demotivators if not perfect. For people like me who work with established large companies, these drivers remain far from mastered. The BigCo still battle to deliver a great EX here. Knowing that the young talent will be likely to deselect a company along these “hygiene drivers”, I would say both parties will be in a for big surprise
The future workforce expects future employers to master employee experience.
The lowest-ranked priorities as shown above are expected and taken for granted.
Let’s not believe for a moment that disregarding any employee’s expectations isn’t without risks or profound consequences, perhaps legal or otherwise. Obviously, at least to most, it’s bad management practice among other negatives such as adverse effects on reputation in general.
EX should always be at the top of any company agenda and specific to everyone working for the business, whether in office settings, on the road or remotely…and with potentially limited access or direct interaction at any given time. We are ready at Zalaris to help you navigate what can be rather murky EX waters, especially if you’ve not waded into them yet – or have to lackluster effect. We represent a proven agile approach to get started.
What’s in it for Zalaris?
Without going into details, Zalaris knows that mastering EX is a data-driven exercise. No data, no insight and no execution power. Zalaris’ core competencies, from payroll to HR/HCM solutions, with “one integrated truth” in the cloud – with related best practices – fully extends into EX value, making us an ideal partner for these and other people-focused initiatives.
Why? We process most of the data HR, the business and/or the workforce needs to master employee experience. In the end, it’s all about helping you engage and retain people to drive productivity. In that process you want to compensate fairly against expectation for your own workforce as well as the contingent workforce. You do want people to succeed and feel included, right? The transactional data is a gold mine combined with talent data, neurological psycho-social data and qualitative data capture. We are all in this together. The CPO and HR are not yet there when it comes to the contingent workforce, but we believe they will meet soon and master EX the same way. Why make it difficult for anyone to be successful if you have decided to compensate them?
We aim to support business awareness of the trends from global, regional and even local perspectives. The employee-employer relationship begins very fundamentally, on an EX platform or strategy, whether formal or informal, digital or more personal, direct and indirect. Combinations of factors come into play, and how well they’re addressed will make or break any EX strategy.
Do you have a baseline target model in mind and/or a map to take you there?
If not, then it’s time to realize what’s at stake: The future of your company is not a safe bet if you’re not advancing how you recruit, hire, retain and develop people – particularly given how dynamically workplace expectations are shifting along with the rapidly changing profiles of workers across the world.
Regardless of all the challenges, you should never lose sight of the importance of individual contributions and what they collectively represent. And if one employee has relatively esoteric or remarkably unique “EXpectations,” don’t forget that this individual could turn out to be your most-valued-contributor of all time.
Although much has already been published and/or analyzed regarding evolving workforce trends, every employer still has their work cut out for them in a big EX way as these tides shift.
Be methodical, informed and creative on all EX fronts. Start with a qualified solution and service provider. Get input. Collect feedback from management and staff. Leverage technological innovations instead of winging it and hoping for the best.
Employees expect an integrated, high-caliber work experience focused on empowerment and productivity. It’s time to move beyond predominantly focusing on “cost and compliance” to also encompass stronger attention on business productivity, keeping in mind that the future of work is all about a compelling experience – one that delivers the full potential of your total workforce while securing ethics and trust.
Download “Employee Experience for the Future Workforce” white paper.
Sven’s responsibilities at Zalaris focus on global advisory relationships. He joined the company in 2014 and is regular speaker on HR transformation matters. Reach him on LinkedIn, @klingerii, by phone at +46-72 544 42 61 or e-mail at email@example.com.