A 2017 study reported by Jacob Morgan in the Harvard Business Review, in many ways, was a harbinger of the changes needed in today’s workplace. The need for which is highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic shifts that resulted in worker isolation, distributed workforces, and wholesale updates to business processes.
Simply put, redesigning your cultural, technological, and physical environments to be more focused on employee experience can boost profit by 4X and revenue by 2X. The not so simple part is in answering the questions of where to begin and how far do you need to go?
In just a few minutes, I’ll tell you how Intelligent Automation can help provide comprehensive improvements. But first, let’s look at the ways companies have traditionally viewed the contributions of cultural, technological, and physical environments.
Ask most managers to define their company culture and you’ll get fairly typical responses centered around keywords like passionate, driven, dedicated, etcetera. The disappointing truth is many companies express most of their cultural values in terms of benefits to their customers, which makes the benefits to employees secondary. Seldom do companies dive deep into the strategies of how employees stay passionate, or how to maintain a driven workforce when we humans are not built to stay driven for indefinite periods of time.
Passion and drive are the results of so many factors out of corporate control. Cultural factors, including politics and interpersonal dynamics, have a significant impact on sustaining or impeding the levels of passion and drive in an organization.
Dedication also waxes and wanes for personal reasons outside of the corporate campus. External factors related to family, finances, community, and more can decrease anyone’s dedication over time.
Work cultures are unique to each organization, but if you aspire to improve company revenue and profitability, what adverbs and adjectives should describe the culture of an experiential organization? What if your cultural mission included terms such as empowered, valued, and heard? And, how do you provide the means to achieve those cultural objectives?
Technology and experience
Most organizations aspire to provide their workforce with everything they need to get the job done. Zoom can thank millions of business owners for that kind of dedication. The massive shift to teleconferencing during the pandemic is one example of organizations shifting budgets to platforms that support communication for a distributed workforce. Laptops, ergonomic chairs, collaboration platforms like Google Workforce, Asana, Workday, development, and application software...you name it. If you need it to do your work, you got it so long as there is a budget for it.
The experiential organization is going beyond that level of provision by asking a few more questions. For example, what is needed for employees to be empowered to do more of what they are passionate about, say speaking directly to clients? That could include software that automates other time-consuming tasks such as calendar automation software like Calendly, which eliminates the email scheduling back-and-forth, freeing up employee time to speak with clients.
Taking a deeper look into offloading mundane tasks is driving the development of solutions that empower employees. Employee engagement rises when each can spend more time on human-centric tasks. Going beyond helping them to “get the work done,” moves your organization into greater efficiency and a more valuable employee experience.
Let’s get physical
Long gone are the days when employee engagement was enhanced with trivial or short-term strategies. In-office scooters, slides, catered lunches and dinners, yoga, massages, endless espressos. These strategies would temporarily raise employee satisfaction scores, but would often fail as the workforce sees them as manipulative.
Those approaches were merely palliative - relieving the pain or stresses of high-pressure work, without addressing the underlying causes. Experiential companies today are turning to intelligent automation to identify and address the underlying issues contributing to lower engagement. For example, offloading and automating repetitive tasks such as data entry. Think of a highly skilled nurse that has to go through compliance checklists with clients, rather than focusing on patient care. Intelligent platforms that use sophisticated algorithms for predictive analytics to process massive amounts of data are improving outcomes and reducing the amount of time it takes to make key business decisions. Perhaps leading to fewer late nights, catered dinners, or espresso shots?
Automation and a better employee experience
According to the August 2021 report from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the number of people who voluntarily left their jobs was a record 4.3 million. The reason Americans are quitting in such large numbers is varied, but many left due to extremely high employee dissatisfaction. According to Pew Research Center, only 49% of employees are happy with their current job.
I expect this to be a lasting effect of the long months of working from home, in addition to the shift in employee expectations as the gig economy grows to include workers in every industry. Millennials and Gen-Z workers will also contribute to a more mobile workforce, putting increasing pressure on employers to provide a compelling employee experience that improves employee retention. Hiring and keeping workers is critical because losing an employee can cost up to twice their annual salary in lost time and productivity.
Organizations must turn to Intelligent Automation to identify opportunities to work smarter and integrate healthy or stress-reducing behaviors into each workday. Smartwatches are a good example of automation that monitors work-life balance, encourages activities for stress reduction, and reinforces personal and professional behaviors. John Hancock, for instance, now offers a life insurance policy that integrates with your smartwatch to track exercise and reward healthy behavior with lower premiums.
The next decade of automation is about moving beyond functionality to improve employee productivity and taking a proactive approach to health and satisfaction. It begins with understanding and mapping your employees’ experience. A better place to work leads to greater engagement, efficiency, and profitability.
Since 2007, Originate has been a leading digital innovation company composed of seasoned entrepreneurs and top software engineers. From startups to the world’s largest enterprises, Originate accelerates businesses with a value-driven approach to Experience Automation.
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