Editor's Note: We would never dream of trying to predict the future—that's why we left it up to the futurists. In this series, we interview experts in HR, recruiting and the future of work to get their take on what's next.
"Employee experience" is a hot-button topic in the workplace. It's often what new hires crave, but, paradoxically, not what HR professionals prioritize.
In fact, studies show the majority of corporate decision-makers aren't prepared to improve employee experience. In Deloitte's 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report and survey, 59 percent of human resources and business leaders said they were either "not ready" or only "somewhat ready" to address the challenge of enhancing employee experience.
Futurist Jacob Morgan is all too familiar with the lack of action companies take to improve the employee experience. When Morgan reviewed 252 companies for his latest book, The Employee Experience Advantage, he found that only 6 percent of them were investing in employee experience.
Improving employee experience should be a business imperative. According to Morgan's research, regardless of size, companies that invest in employee experience have higher revenues and profits. We sat down with Morgan to find out how corporate leaders can rethink, improve and prioritize employee experience now and in the future.
Aim for Consistency—Not Standardization
There are many reasons why corporate leaders have a hard time changing their attitudes toward employee experience, but their tendency towards standardization is a leading factor.
"Standardization is an enemy for a lot of organizations," Morgan says. "In some ways, it's a direct contradiction to employee experience. Employee experience is about flexibility, personalization and customization, and standardization is when everybody goes through the same process and experiences the same thing."
One glaring example is annual performance reviews, which Morgan recommends replacing with ongoing, unstructured communication between employees, managers and leaders.
But can raises and promotions be given out objectively without a standardized process in place? Morgan says yes, as long as there are guidelines in place to make sure all decisions are fair. "Consistency is more important than standardization. Make sure you're doing things consistently across the board over time, as opposed to doing the exact same thing over time."
Morgan is also an advocate of feedback mechanisms that create clear lines of communication inside an organization. These systems allow for one-on-one conversations, surveys, focus groups, real-time feedback and company-wide communication and collaboration.
"Employee experience is not creating experiences for people—it's creating experiences with people," Morgan says. "And creating them with people means everyone needs to be able to share ideas and get feedback."
Use People Analytics To Steer Into the Future
Morgan suggests that to improve employee experience, forward-thinking companies should build a people analytics team responsible for managing employee data, including salary, employee engagement levels, team structures, demographics, performance levels and educational background. The team's primary task would be to consistently analyze this data and suggest actions based on its findings. For example, the team might find a correlation between where employees are based and how they perform, which could ultimately lead them to realize that low morale at a given office is the underlying cause of underperformance.
The team, just like any other future-focused team within an organization, should be encouraged to experiment without fear of failure. A test-and-learn approach will help generate innovative ideas backed by employee data.
Chances are, organizations already have people with the skills needed to be a part of a people analytics team. Tap existing employees who have experience with data, visualization and storytelling, and let them play around with employee data to see what insights they can generate.
In the beginning, the people analytics team might be considered part of an organization's HR team, but as the team grows and evolves, it could branch out on its own.
"It's not hard to imagine a not-too-distant future where people analytics becomes its own department that works with multiple other lines of business," Morgan says.
Header Photo: Unsplash
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Ten Dad-Friendly Workplaces
When we talk about the quest to "have it all," it's almost always in reference to working women trying to balance a stressful 9-to-5 with the equally difficult demands of family. To be sure, women face distinct challenges in the workplace and high expectations at home. But this Father's Day, let's not forget that dads are increasingly juggling work and home life, too. Single fatherhood is becoming more common in the US—a 2013 Pew report found that a record 8 percent of families with children were headed by a single dad—and 60 percent of households with children are dual-income as of 2014, putting added pressure on both working parents. While policies in the US do not mandate paid family leave of any kind—unlike parent-topia Sweden, which offers 16 months of paid parental leave and three months specifically for paternity leave—many companies are now thinking about how they can help their workers be "Employee of the Year," without sacrificing their "Dad of the Year" trophy. Here are ten excellent companies for working dads, based on a new report from parenting resource website Fatherly. 1. Google Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Mountain View, CA Number Of Employees: 53,600 Paid Paternity Leave: 7 weeks (12 weeks for primary caregiver) Industry: Tech Dad-friendly Policy Highlight: When you work with Google, your family is part of the family—really. If an employee passes away, the company provides his/her spouse with 50 percent of their salary for 10 years and immediately vested stock options, and children receive $1,000 a month until they turn 19 (or 23 if they're a student). 2. Facebook Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA Number Of Employees: 10,082 Paid Paternity Leave: 17 weeks Industry: Tech Policy Highlight: Procreating pays off. Facebook gives new parents a $4,000 "new child benefit," along with subsidized day care. Not to mention the $20,000 worth of supplemental insurance coverage for fertility and family planning treatments. 3. Bank of America Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Charlotte, NC Number Of Employees: 220,000 Paid Parental Leave: 12 weeks Industry: Finance Policy Highlight: Bank of America's twelve weeks of paid paternity leave is on par with countries likeIceland. Not too shabby. And, if you can handle the pay break, the company also allows for an additional 14 weeks of unpaid leave. 4. Patagonia Photo: Shutterstock Headquarters: Ventura, CA Number Of Employees: 2,000 Paid Paternity Leave: 8 weeks Industry: Retail Policy Highlight: Working parents don't have to stray far from their kids as Patagonia provides on-site child care for kids up to nine years old. The famously laid-back company will also provide afternoon transportation from local schools back to the office babysitter. 5. State Street Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Boston, MA Number Of Employees: 29,530 Paid Paternity Leave: 4 weeks Industry: Finance Policy Highlight: Flexible work arrangements are a must for the busy working dad (or mom). State Street's program helps take the stress out of setting up some work-from-home time by requiring their managers to approach their employees about flexible work options. 6. Genentech Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: San Francisco, CA Number Of Employees: 14,000 Paid Paternity Leave: 6 weeks Industry: Biotech Policy Highlight: Along with dedicated paid paternity time, Genentech also offers a sabbatical program for long-term employees. Every six years, you earn six months of time off—perfect for a long summer trip with the kids. 7. LinkedIn Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Mountain View, CA Number Of Employees: 6,800 Paid Paternity Leave: 6 weeks Industry: Tech Policy Highlight: LinkedIn likes to encourage employees to think outside their cubicle and, in addition to "special projects" time once a month, you will get a $5,000 stipend for job-related education expenses. Maybe "Childcare 101" would qualify? 8. Arnold & Porter LLP Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Washington D.C. Number Of Employees: 1,284 Paid Paternity Leave: 6 weeks (18 for primary caregiver) Industry: Legal Policy Highlights: If your spouse or partner is gainfully employed and you'd like to trade some of those work hours for family time, Arnold and Porter allows employees working at least 25 hours to qualify for benefits. The firm even has an expert panel on hand to help their lawyers make the switch to part-time. 9. Roche Diagnostics Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: Indianapolis, IN (North American HQ) Number Of Employees: 4,500 Paid Paternity Leave: 6 weeks Industry: Healthcare Policy Highlight: Roche employees have plenty of opportunities to teach Junior essential life lessons like how to swing a bat or grow a juicy tomato. The company spends $35,000 annually on sponsored extracurriculars like community sports leagues, and also offers an on-site employee produce garden. 10. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Photo: Creative Commons Headquarters: New York, NY Number Of Employees: 41,000 (U.S.) Paid Parental Leave: 6 weeks (plus an additional 2 weeks if have or adopt more than one kid) Industry: Professional Services Policy Highlight: Another company that values ad-hoc work schedules, PwC allows employees work-from-home options as well as ""Flex Days." So if you can cram 40 hours of work into less than five days and clear your schedule, you could end up with more frequent three-day weekends and more time with the kids. Photo: Shutterstock