In our post-pandemic world, businesses are under tremendous pressure to make sure their employees can work from home or almost anywhere else as part of the need for talent retention in the midst of the Great Resignation. Happier workers translate into a steadier workforce and higher productivity. Therefore, companies are expanding their recent focus on the “omnichannel” concept, where customers want seamless service anywhere and through any channel (online, in stores, etc.), to a similar focus on an “omni-workplace” for their employees.
The initial push during the COVID lockdown days was on making sure the technology was in place for remote work. Today, companies should also be looking at boosting worker satisfaction and productivity. This requires a fresh look at everything from new tools to better diversity programs to work-life balance support. We recommend three ways to better understand and improve your workforce experience…
1. Learn Where Your Company Falls on the Workforce-Experience Spectrum
Understanding your workforce’s daily experience can help you make positive changes. Start by using existing satisfaction data and look for key performance indicators (KPIs) that can effectively measure workforce productivity and needs. You can also launch an independent survey to learn how your workers feel about their current software, tools and services. You want to truly know what your workers are experiencing, rather than guessing. The data and survey will help you prioritize where you focus. Leveraging data will also help educate senior leadership to enable funding to act on the items that will best boost productivity.
Likewise, you can set up a continuous-feedback loop to ensure ongoing improvement once you pinpoint issues, strengths and opportunities. Using this feedback will show the workforce you care and help with retention. You can create and utilize mechanisms to share what’s being done, and you can keep tabs on the workforce experience on an ongoing basis. Be sure it’s not just a one-and-done thing as workforce needs constantly evolve. You can also supplement this with tools that measure employee satisfaction.
Some of our clients routinely monitor their workforce experience through assessments and other KPI metrics and leverage this data for transformational efforts. One example is a well-known pharmaceutical company that runs assessments to keep an eye on its transition to a new IT provider of workforce services. Another is a manufacturing giant that recently adjusted its target operating model to support different business units and regularly utilizes its assessments to help prioritize initiatives and measure how changes are supporting its workforce experience.
2. Tap into Internal and External Partnerships
Your providers and partners may not all be living up to your workers’ expectations. Blind spots may also exist between internal shared services and the business, which can inhibit productivity. Doing an analysis of these critical partnerships can shed light on whether your workforce really has the support it needs and allow you to diagnose what to do about it.
Understanding the health of your partnerships with both internal and external groups can help you address the workforce’s pain points, in particular. You need to dig into strategic, operational and tactical touchpoints with the partnerships that support your capabilities in delivering on workforce services. These assessments can assist in diagnosing why the pain points exist and should be periodically done to help with surfacing gaps.
We have a global-fund-manager client that conducts relationship-health studies annually with its key investors around complex issues to ensure the firm is constantly evolving with its clients’ needs. This includes tailoring communications, refining strategies and optimizing its engagement model as it expands into new regions. Another example where relationship-health assessments have been effective is at a large energy provider that recently transitioned its workplace services from in-house to external and reorganized its internal shared-services work with the business units. The company used a relationship-health assessment to help inform and optimize a more collaborative operating model with the business and reviews this with an annual assessment.
3. Balance Long- and Short-Term Strategy
Once needs are identified and strategies are established, prioritize easy wins along with actions that will help you reach your most crucial long-term goals. Make sure your workers can see the commitment with both short-term improvements and an emphasis on how you can collectively take the business into the future. Plot out and assign ownership of recommendations, actions and initiatives to leaders who have the ability to move the needle and stay the course. Actively manage the accountability that comes out of regularly scheduled relationship-assessment findings. Be ready to pivot and course correct.
It’s important that everyone understands that defining and improving the workplace is a journey, not just a sprint to a specific destination. Companies need to have an adaptive culture and a focus on innovation and feedback for further advances in workforce experience.
ISG has an Experience Assessment Center to help you evaluate how your enterprise is doing in this area. We offer Partnership Experience Assessments, Shared-Service Experience Assessments and Workforce Experience Assessments to assist with analysis of your company’s unique situation and concrete recommendations for improvement. These independent assessments have resulted in Net Promoter Score boosts for providers, sole-source renewals by happy enterprises, and the key to shared innovation that can boost productivity and the bottom line.
ISG has the expertise in digital strategy, organizational change management (OCM), adaptive organizations and other related areas to make a real difference for your workforce and your company as a whole. Contact us for more information to assist you in achieving your “omni-workplace” goals.