The compelling workplace

11 Aug 2017

The compelling workplace

Jeanne C Meister on how organisations can ensure their workplace culture matches the best experiences of their customers

Job candidates and employees expect the workplace experience to mirror their best customer experience. We are seeing the ‘Yelpification’ of the workplace, where former, current and prospective employees can rate a company’s culture and management just as they rate a hotel, restaurant or movie.

This mandate to create a compelling workplace experience is the focus of The Future Workplace Experience, in which 2,147 global HR leaders and hiring managers were surveyed across seven countries and 10 industries on how they are redefining the employer-employee relationship.

Three practices are critically important for organisations and their boards to prepare for the future workplace and workforce. These include a focus on making the workplace an experience, understanding the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace, and creating opportunities for enterprise learning to be personalised.

1. The essence of making the workplace an experience is to integrate all the components of work – emotional, intellectual, physical space, technological and cultural – into one seamless employee experience. Companies are using marketing techniques such as focus groups and sentiment analysis to understand employee needs. They then make adjustments based on employee feedback.
One example of this is the Empathy Lab at Facebook, which gives Facebook engineers the chance to experience how people will use their products. This is just one way of creating an emotional connection between the company and its employees and customers.

2. AI is transforming homes and workplaces: an ever-increasing range of intelligent assistants is helping us work smarter. Senior executives must challenge their HR leaders to examine how AI is transforming HR functions such as talent acquisition and career development. ‘Chatbots’ (conversational algorithms designed to perform key HR functions) are rapidly being introduced into the workplace. HR leaders will need to develop a plan to experiment with these, and insist HR team members add AI awareness to their skill set.

3. According to the World Economic Forum’s ‘Future of Jobs’, 65 per cent of children entering school today will work in jobs that do not yet exist. This will require corporate learning departments to think beyond content, which is a commodity, to provide more context for employees. Instead of investing in e-learning courses, forward-looking companies are creating ready-made ‘learning playlists’ with the ability to rate and recommend learning resources, each addressing a challenge in an employee’s development. These playlists will become the norm as serial learning becomes a requirement in today’s workplace.