Getting to the heart of the worker experience

Below we explore the world of the worker experience, examining how well organisations really understand the workforce, and providing our own thoughts on how businesses can best increase productivity.

A flaw in the current worker experience (WX) process

Before initiating any form of WX transformation, it’s important to step back and take stock of whether you actually understand what your workforce needs. Our own research, conducted in partnership with Forrester, revealed that 71 per cent of respondents see flaws in the way the current worker experience operates. This suggests a disconnect between what employers are currently offering and what workers demand.

We’ve all seen the ways trendy media agencies implement gardens, micro kitchens, sweet vendors and play rooms, but are these really the offerings your workforce demands? Property experts JLL would conclude not, revealing in research that 12 per cent believe recreational activities should be prioritised in the office. They also argue a “decent salary, support from colleagues and genuine career progression” are key ways to motivate.

Our Forrester research backs this up. It reveals that employees who are most likely to stay with their current employer are the ones that “feel most invested in the success of the company and recognised for the effort they put in”.

Creating work-life balance

If an effective WX in the eyes of the workforce revolves around recognition within the company, it is clearly crucial that businesses keep workers in the loop and make them feel part of the wider organisation. A great way to ensure this? The implementation of communication and collaborative tools such as Salesforce Chatter, Skype, and Workplace for Facebook.

These ensure that no matter the location, workers are kept up to date with the day to day goings on within the company and have regular access to fellow employees, whether they be peers, HR or management. They not only keeps workers in the loop, but also quickly opens the door for more flexible working, something which has been a regular demand for employees over the past few years.

The benefits of this? Well, workers receive a more productive work-life balance and access to their friends and family. What this means for the business is greater loyalty and a productive day to day attitude. It’s no secret that a flexible workforce is a happier one, and thanks to major advances in technology, those working away from the office no longer suffer from a productivity drain.

Remote workers, but not out of the loop

Getting company culture right starts with the worker experience – which can be a difficult element to perfect with remote workers. Indeed, the downside of remote working is that employees may feel like they miss out on the social element of an office environment. For businesses trying to keep workers engaged, this is certainly a challenge. By implementing collaborative tools like G Suite and Google Hangouts, businesses can facilitate employee groups and informal clubs.

Give your workers a voice

While initiatives such as greater flexible working and collaboration are great, the cornerstone of any WX strategy is a robust measurement program that feeds back data to management to ensure employees are happy and committed to the business. Whether it’s an employee survey, a monthly face to face or an informal catch up over coffee, businesses need to ensure staff are engaged with and made to feel special.

By implementing the right employee engagement program businesses can track the happiness of their employees quickly, ensuring workers are constantly kept motivated and engaged.

Happy workers mean happy customers

Why is the worker experience so important in modern day business? There’s a significant link between how a worker feels and the service they provide to customers. Our own research revealed nearly 90 per cent of respondents understand this relationship — what we at Appirio term the “Virtuous Cycle”.

Happy workers are also more likely to stay within your business, meaning your day to day operation remains more productive and employers can instead focus their time and effort on improving workplace culture rather than reacting to churn and sourcing new contacts.

Most importantly, implementing a strong worker experience trickles down to all the other aspects within your company, whether it be face to face interactions with customers, everyday actions within the physical or virtual office, or the relationships between senior and junior members of staff.

Greg Bohlen is senior director for strategy and digital at Appirio

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