Future Friday: The employee experience and the future of the workplace

Employee experience is a trend of the future

More and more stories are being written about “the employee experience” and the importance it has to the future of the workplace. In the book The Future Workplace Experience, Jeanne C. Meister and Kevin Mulchay discuss the employee experience. It is part of the 10 rules for mastering disruption in recruiting and engaging employees. Over the coming months I will guide you through this book as I take each of these 10 rules and discuss them on Future Friday. This book is being widely read so I will give you some exposure to it if you have not read it.

The 10 rules

The 10 rules that Meister and Mulchay discuss include:

  1. Make the workplace an experience
  2. Use space to promote culture
  3. Be an agile leader
  4. Consider technology an enabler and disruptor
  5. Build a data-driven recruiting ecosystem
  6. Embrace on-demand learning
  7. Tap the power of multiple generations
  8. Build gender equality
  9. Plan for more gig economy workers
  10. Be a workplace activist.

There are some trendy words and phrases in there which will have to be defined as we cover them.

The workplace experience

The movement toward the concern toward workplace experience is driven in part by a changing demographic and the use of rating sites. These rating sites allow consumers to rate their experience at a restaurant or entertainment venue. You are familiar with them and have undoubtedly used them. I did so today to provide feedback on a repair made at my house. I have written about the concept of “rateocracy” before, here.
For Meister and Mulchay the work place experience is divided into five principle areas. These include: Cultural, Emotional, Technological, Physical and Intellectual. In each of these are examples of organizations that are providing experiences, such as work with a purpose; ample learning opportunities; rethought and repurposed work spaces that provide flexibility; technology that provides connected opportunities, such as mobile apps for performance management; and lastly a great deal of transparency, in such things as compensation.

Sounds wonderful

This new world of work sounds wonderful, yet I wonder if we are not leaving behind and forgetting about a whole class of worker. Several statements make think this, such as “Clearly, flexible workplace policies allowing employees to work when and where they want are fast becoming employer criteria that cut across generations of employees.” Or “The survey found that 63% of survey respondents thought a fixed nine-to-five workday will soon be obsolete.” There are a lot of workers who work in plants or customer-facing positions that will not soon have that opportunity to choose where they would like to work or when. What happens to them?
There are also some statements that made me think. They say “According to the Future Workplace “Multiple Generations at Work” study of 1,800 multigenerational employees, almost one-half of each generation responded that a flexible working environment is very important to them.” That sounds impressive until you realize that means that over half of the respondents did not say it was important to them!
Certainly, flexible workplaces are a growing trend, but we need to find a way to make it work for a broader class of employees. Perhaps this mean that all manufacturing will be done by robots and all customer facing jobs will be kiosks where consumers put their own orders in for processing. We will have to see what kind of employee experience that brings.

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