The world is changing, and fast. Our greatest fear in this fast-paced 21st century is what to do when everything changes. And yet, paradoxically, the future is already.here. Any company wishing to survive tomorrow needs to start preparing today by adapting to the new challenges present in the marketplace.
If you have read any articles analyzing the market recently, then you will probably have learnt a lot on how to prepare for a more secure future. You might have identified the areas that you need to focus on. But have you thought of how to improve them? Are you sure you are not just concentrating on the technological aspect? Experts have identified five different trends currently influencing the world of work: new behaviors in the workforce, globalization, mobility, changing demographics, millennials, and technology. An expert from the CrossKnowledge Academy, Jacob Morgan focuses his research on more than 60 organizations to find out how to overcome these five challenges. His solution? Concentrate on your employees. Give them more responsibilities. Create a company culture where people are seen as talent rather than productive objects. In other words, become a people-centered organization.
Now, this might seem like a risky bet. Who would take the enormous risk of completely changing their organization in order to better prepare for something you do not yet fully understand? However, why would companies such as Adobe, Google, Whirlpool, or Facebook already have done so, if it wasn’t effective? Such successful multinational companies might differ from each other, but they have understood that adopting new ways of seeing their employees and have spent a considerable amount of time and money on changing their company structure and culture.
SOLVE SPECIFIC ISSUES…
Thinking in terms of employee experience can mean solving very specific problems that you have faced within your organization. Whether organizational or individual problems, they must all be prioritized at some point if you want your company to move towards a better future:
Take the generation gap. One of the most pressing problems right now is the difference in knowledge between seasoned employees and millennials. To address this issue, some organizations have decided to set up reverse mentoring programs. So, what is this? Well, it’s simple. Both millennials and Generation X or Y employees can benefit from each other’s knowledge and skill set. While millennials can help the transfer to new technologies of generation Xers, the latter can in return provide useful tips on team building, project management, or delegation.
Of course, this is not the only problem within an organization that can be saved by changing the focus to what employees want. Take the example of the major issue some companies are currently having with the retention of information within the company. Indeed, as Baby Boomers baby boomers are retiring, the amount of information disappearing from the internal network is higher than ever. A decade ago, you might have still worried about what to do, but the current worldwide success of social media has made it clear: Companies must create an online collaborative space for employees.
Of course, there are many other issues that must be brought to attention. They can directly influence productivity and internal communication. Here are a few risk-free tips :
In order to boost productivity, have you ever thought about how connectivity affects your employees’ concentration? How much time do we lose checking our email, intranet, answering everyone’s urgent and non-urgent messages every day? Nothing would be simpler than to ask every employee to spend some time offline every day. Not only would it increase their attention span , but it would also improve the quality and quantity of the work they produce.
Everyone knows by now that internal communication is crucial for an organization to thrive in the globalized well-connected markets of today. And what better way to increase communication than to use social networks? Most of the time, the problem with the implementation of social networks comes from the fact that most people tend not to use them as much as they should. What better way to remedy that than to involve them in the process of implementation? By making a social platform that is not designed for employees but rather by employees, you will enable them to not only be involved in the development and usage of the network, but also to give you a direct feedback on how it helps or hinders their work.
There are therefore many things you can do to make sure that your organization is prepared for certain challenges, and they all boil down to one thing:
… BUT ALSO THINK OF RESTRUCTURING YOUR ORGANIZATION
Undeniably, these things won’t fully prepare the whole organization for what awaits it. Here are just pieces of the puzzle of how you think of your organization and your employees. Once you get all the pieces put together, it will be the key to your success, .
Firstly, as Jacob Morgan says, think of your organization as a lab, not a factory,. Instead of separating units from one another, try giving every employee the chance to come up with an innovating idea and a prototype. All they will need is access to funding and the opportunity to get immediate feedback on their project. By doing so, you might see the same results as Adobe, which, in the past 5 years, has had an outstanding level of innovation and has managed to distinguish itself as the top of brand for designing and editing software.
And, most of all, try to think of your organization as a place where your employees want to work. Indeed, nothing is fiercer today than the talent war that the market is undergoing. Being able to not only retain that talent, but to encourage them to innovate and to thrive within your walls. Of course, saying it is easy, but actually achieving it is another matter. In order to do so, here are a few things you need to know:
There are three different spaces that you need to concentrate on: the physical, cultural and technological spaces.
- The physical space is your office, the food, the different spaces available within it. Do you offer multiple ways to work for your employees? Does it energize and give your employees the incentive to do their jobs? Does it reflect the values of the organization?
- The technological space involves all the tools and social networks you make available for them. Is the technology available to everybody inside your organization?
- The cultural space is what you feel when you go to work: have you managed to create a sense of purpose? Do your employees feel a sense of worth?
However, as Jacob Morgan explains, we must avoid the temptation to view these spaces as separate. The key is to become an experiential organization. This is a company that focuses on all three of these spaces at once.
In order to take care of the well-being of your employees and good handling of these three spaces within your company, what you can do is to assign someone the responsibility of for building a positive employee experience. An example of an organization that did this is Airbnb, who has a “chief employee experience officer” responsible for the well-being of anyone is working for the worldwide brand.
Thinking of the future is something you might do every day, but beware of mere surface analyses of what you need to do. Think of your overall organization: how can you change it structurally for it to encompass the different challenges you need to address regarding pressing matters such as the generation gap, technology, or the talent war?. Thinking like an experiential organization instead of a aimless one will ultimately lead you to a point of no-return. When you seek to redesign what you do and why you do it, always remember your main objective: preparing for the future of your company and your employees.