People matter: Six ways to empower tomorrow’s workforce

The pandemic has changed the way we work forever. When we examined emerging work trends, we found that home working is the new normal for 40% of employees, 62% of employees are not engaged, and 45% of employees would leave their job if forced to return to the office.

While nobody knows what will happen in the coming months and years, we do know that uncertainty and the pace of change will continue. With so many employees not willing to return to the office and not engaged when working at home, employee experience has become a strategic priority. Simply put, people matter.
Facing uncertainty and a likelihood that many will continue to work from home, how do you empower your people? I would like to suggest six pointers.

 1. Design for people. Deliver a unique personalized service experience with the ultimate goal of achieving hyper personalization. That means focus on caring for people — and not just by serving them through or with technology. Make technology accessible. Ensure your services are inclusive by design as workstyles and patterns change.

2. Make Digital frictionless. One negative experience can need ten positive experiences to offset it. So, focus on the moments that really matter and the journey users take every day, guided by technology. Measure and use any data available to improve every step of that journey. Strive for micro experiences. It’s the small things that your users will remember — whether it’s humor that brightens their day or a new feature that saves them a few seconds so they can spend more time with their family.

3. Keep in mind that perception is everything. Ask people what they really think of your service. Do the technologies you’ve introduced make life easier, or do they add to the information overload? Listen to their answers, understand their sentiment and map their feedback to the operational data you gather. You may find that you need to change what you measure over time. Challenge every KPI, SLA or metric. Does it help you improve the employee experience? Consider experience level agreements to make that link between technology, operations and people.

4. Think about performance, not productivity. Put another way, performance and wellbeing are for people — leave productivity to the robots. So, what do I mean by that? I’ve seen many organizations become obsessed with productivity. While productivity may have reduced during home working, performance, innovation and the adoption of new ways of working are what really matter. So, how well are the people you’ve empowered with the latest technology able to perform?

5. Let’s remember that technology is the enabler. You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned technology yet, but it is a critical ingredient. While COVID-19 showed us we can transform — and transform at a lightning pace — providing the right platform for employee experience is a must. Building on modern cloud solutions is an absolute requirement, since they provide modern management and security. They allow users to securely collaborate, share content and ideas, and access information — all from anywhere, at any time.
It bears mentioning that you should embrace a zero-trust mindset among users as you look to holistically secure access, data and devices. After all, if you try to hide services on-premises, behind firewalls and VPNs, you’ll only frustrate users — which limits flexibility and performance. So, simplifying technology and adding small moments for users — passwordless authentication, proactive hints on how to work smarter, problems that are automatically remediated — is the way to go.

6. Last but far from least, I’d like to talk about how you go beyond the technology. The future is about more than just the digital platform; it’s also about wellbeing and sustainability. HR and Digital must come together to develop a roadmap for employee experience powered by technology and data. However, be mindful of the impact the last 14 months have had on our mental health when you design your approach. Put that technology at the heart of your decarbonized and sustainable workplace model, making it measurable and part of your policy for a brighter future.

Regardless of industry or organizational size, putting your people at the center of everything you do is a must. Empowering your employees is now critical. To empower them with technology, you must think beyond traditional digital paradigms and boundaries.

Consider these six recommentations as you build your strategy. It must be broad, challenging every aspect of employee experience. Only then will you succeed in riding the waves of uncertainty together. As I said before: people matter.

If you’d like to discuss employee experience in more detail, I’m here for you. In the meantime, please take a peek at how our Atos Digital Workplace can help.

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About James McMahon
VP, Head of Atos Digital Workplace and member of the Scientific Community
James is Head of the Atos Digital Workplace Practice boasting 10+ years’ experience of IT product management, strategy and solution architecture, targeted at enterprise customers. James is excited by developing and delivering transformational service offerings for enterprise customers, improving productivity, user experience and enabling new ways of working through cost effective services, including cloud, mobility, application & desktop virtualization, workplace as a service and BYOD solutions. Regularly meeting and working with customers (up to and including CxO level) is a key part of his role. He’s also a blogger on the Atos Ascent blog and member of the Atos Scientific Community for 5 years.

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