Transitioning out of survival mode: Strategizing for what lies ahead
Watch this EXCLUSIVE interview with Employee Experience Guru, Chris Voce, to begin to understand how you can re-imagine your organization's EX strategy to create the cultural and technological conditions for people to do their best work and to drive employee engagement.
Navigating this changing work-life reality, how can HR leaders develop their Employee Experience strategies to keep their workforce engaged.
How we work, where we work and expectations from employees and employers alike have entirely shifted, but what will work look like in 2035 and how can employers prepapre for this?
What’s more, thinking about the future, with more reliance on technology and automation, we can see a vast digital disconnect that is impact employee engagement and in turn, employee experience.
So, what can employers do in order to eradicate this disconnect, allowing their employees to do their best work?
Citrix has launched an exciting new study – “Work 2035: How People & Technology Will Pioneer New Ways of Working” – where they share some of the perceived threats, and opportunities, the future of work might hold for employees and employers. Off the back of this research, uncovering what work might look like, Chris Voce and his team at Citrix have delved deeper into the impact these changing realities have had already on the workforce, and how leaders can create a better Employee Experience (EX) strategy to underpin a more effective hybrid work environment moving forward.
Chris Voce leads a research and advisory service at Citrix for their customers, that is focused on enabling their work to be more experience-driven. His day-to-day is heavily centered around providing HR leaders with the tools to create a thriving employee experience.
As the pendulum begins to still, what workplace model will be our reality?
The first point of note, from our conversation with Chris, is that despite employee engagement and employee experience being used by the industry somewhat interchangeably, there’s an important difference.
Engagement is the outcome of a continued positive employee experience.
So, to improve engagement, we must improve the employee experience.
Chris shared some of the pioneering thinking that has led to his own attention and interest in the EX space and the backing for why employee experience provides the condition for engagement. Theorists such as. Dr. Teresa Amabile, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and Daniel Pink have all shaped his thinking of what matters to people’s day at work, and in turn how organizations and leaders can impact this for the better.
Even prior to the pandemic and this cataclysmic shift to hybrid working models, there has been steadfast attention around the benefits of an engaged workforce and what this means for the organization:
Reduced employee turnover
Improved customer experiences
Measurable productivity gains
It’s clear that there is even more of an imperative in today’s contexts to understand the engagement levels within an organization. Chris considered, “We’ve experienced the swing of the pendulum to both extremes: All in the office, and as a result of the pandemic, largely all out of the office. Now, we are looking at combining the benefit of both of these models towards a hybrid landscape.”
And, given these hybrid work realities, employers and HR leaders must now reassess the conditions they provide for their employees, in order to facilitate their engagement or “flow”. Understanding what matters to employees, and the autonomy they have been offered in these new working environments means that the state of play has changed, and organizations must adapt and reconsider what “good” looks like for the employee experience.
How does the future of work impact Employee Experience Strategy?
The ‘Work 2035’ Report: Models of Work:
From Citrix’s Work 2035: How People & Technology Will Pioneer New Ways of Working
The Digital Disconnect:
Considering these forward-looking models, of what work might look like, underpins the very real need to address the employee experience of the workforce today, and to continually assess and rethink the needs and expectations of the workforce. These models highlight the role automation could, and likely will, play in increasing what is possible for the global workforce, but in turn, highlights the disconnect between how this is perceived by the employees vs. the employers.
The conversation and arguable hype around robots taking over is something we are all – especially in the remit of HR – acutely aware of. The aforementioned work of Dr. Teresa Amabile looks at this gap that exists between employees and employers too, for example.
Chris shared that from the report, they too found a Digital Disconnect that exists now, and will consequently be extenuated by the shift to any of these forward-looking models that Citrix has scoped out – that productivity-boosting technology will be commonplace by 2035, according to the business leaders they surveyed. But the employees disagree. Instead, employees are fearful that automation is going to replace their jobs and their usefulness in the organization.
This boils down to the sense of safety that employees feel, as their organizations shift to utilizing more technology, Chris told us.
The paradox of technology – The problem and the solution for employee experience?
Citrix and Chris’ team have gone on to explore further what impact this sense of upheaval and threat that employees are feeling has on engagement levels and the employee experience. They’ve created a report, “Thrive with Employee Experience” where they uncover, through quantitative and qualitative research, what are some of the good behaviors organizations and their leaders can do, in order to do better and eradicate this digital disconnect.
So, what’s technology’s role in all of this? If it’s the cause of an employee’s sense of unease and threat, how can technology be the solution? We put this to Chris.
They outline three principles and actions in their report, that will help organizations operationalize employee experience and make a more effective hybrid experience today:
Empowering individual progress
Partner and foster a shared ownership of employee experience – ie. HR, IT, Real Estate etc. working together
No one wakes up in the morning and thinks, ‘I’m a spreadsheet user’ or ‘I’m a document creator’. They think about the outcomes that they’re looking for.
Chris believes it’s a two-fold approach of incorporating effective technology coupled with some of his cognitive science theorizings around empowerment, empathy, and providing the opportunity for employees to find their flow and feel autonomous in their work – leading to engagement, and thus, a great employee experience.
Technology, like Citrix Workspaces, can enable an employee with seamless, easy moments throughout the day. It can provide an employee with that all-important autonomy and flexibility, Chris told us, that means they can work where and when they want – supporting our shifting models of work.
He told us, the strategy to providing an amazing employee experience means that employers and HR leaders need to ensure that technology is helping, not getting in the way. Leaders need to be mapping what great looks like to them, their organization, and their individual employees. Knowing that the technology your employees use is “responsible, reliable, and secure” will mean you are giving employees to tools to do their best work.