- Organizations hoping to future proof their business need to prioritize employee centricity.
- Employee centricity is about deeply understanding who employees are and what their needs are in the hopes of intrinsically motivating them.
- Experience management can help companies improve the employee experience and make employee-centric decisions.
The future of work is about people; it’s about workers. To future-proof an organization, leaders need to make sure their policies, protocols, and practices will help attract and retain top talent. Companies that fail to cater to employee needs will inevitably suffer the consequence: losing their top asset.
Apple recently made the news because employees are threatening to quit “due to what they perceive as overly strict rules regarding remote work policies.” The news came shortly after Apple announced its hybrid work schedule, which would require workers to return to the office three times a week starting in September.
A few days after the announcement, workers asked for more flexibility, citing the various benefits remote work offers. That request was denied.
Apple argues that “in-person collaboration is essential” to its culture and its future.
Employees weren’t happy then. And they aren’t happy now. Reports claim that Apple is now “denying exceptions to the in-office rule that it once allowed.”
But, why is this relevant for the future of work?
Because organizations hoping to future proof their business need to prioritize employee centricity. Forcing workers back into the office is the opposite of this.
What Is Employee Centricity, and Why Does It Matter?
Employee centricity is about deeply understanding who employees are and what their needs are in the hopes of intrinsically motivating them. Without intrinsic motivation, employees are not likely to bring their best selves (and their best ideas) to work.
Without employee centricity, productivity suffers, and so does employee engagement. This is important because engaged employees are less likely to leave their organizations. Considering the scarcity of talent, companies need to be doing all they can to ensure that their employees are happy.
So, how can companies better respond to employees’ needs and desires in an employee-centric way?
Experience management (XM) is a process through which companies can measure and improve the experiences they provide. Many companies use XM to improve their customer journeys; but XM can also be a powerful tool to improve the employee experience.
Basically, experience management is about personas; about really understanding the people you are serving. When it comes to the future of work, companies aren’t only serving their clients and customers; they’re also serving their employees.
Employee-centric solutions need to be developed based on employee insights. Take, for example, Apple and the pushback it is currently receiving from employees. Their response to workers asking for more flexibility was anything but employee centric. A better response would have been for Apple to back away from its current approach and create a dialogue opportunity with employees.
A great example of this is Uber.
Uber originally planned for employees to return to the office; when the company faced backlash from employees, it revisited its decision and opted to allow workers to continue working remotely. Uber’s decision, unlike Apple’s, contributed to a better overall employee experience.
The employee experience is an ever-evolving process. An employee may start out feeling happy, satisfied, and engaged. However, as time goes on and as different corporate decisions are made, that same employee could then start feeling neutral or negative about his or her experience.
Let’s go back to Apple.
While working remotely, a significant percent of Apple employees was likely happy—and therefore engaged. Now, as a result of the company’s new take on remote work, they are feeling the opposite of happy; and they have voiced that discontent. That discontent could very well lead Apple to lose some of its top employees.
The future is about being able to attract and retain top talent. With the global shortage on talent and skills, employees hold the leverage. This means that companies need to be more intentional about catering to employees’ needs and wants—in the case of Apple, a good starting point would be to allow for remote work to continue beyond September.
There isn’t a one-size fits all approach. Different employees have different needs. So, just as companies create a set of customer personas for their products and services, they need to create different customer personas for their employees to better inform and drive their experience management strategy.