Mon, 28 November 2016
Monika Fahlbusch is the Chief Employee Experience Officer at BMC Software, a company in the IT management space. BMC Software has over 6,000 employees around the world and the Experience Team has 450 people focused on employee experience. Fahlbusch has a background in both IT and HR in high tech companies for the last 30 years.
What is employee experience? According to Fahlbusch there isn’t a cut and dry answer for what it is; the answer will be different from company to company. This is because it is dependent on the employees in the company and the culture of the company. Fahlbusch says it is important for companies to listen to their employees to find out where the “pain points” are and to find out the breaking points that inhibit productivity and innovation. Listening to employees and asking for where they think the company could improve can seem daunting to executives because they may feel that they have to implement all the ideas or risk letting people down. Fahlbusch says “sometimes you listen and that’s enough, sometimes you listen and learn, and other times you listen and have to make changes immediately”. So listening to employees doesn’t mean you have to implement every single idea, employees like to feel that they have a say and that they are being heard.
There is no doubt the workplace is changing and that the future of work will look different than work today or in the past. Fahlbusch talks about four main areas in which the workplace is changing. One area is the physical workspace. Recently companies have started to move away from a physical space where employees have to report for work all day every weekday. Now companies are allowing employees to have more freedom to work remotely for a majority of time and then have a space where employees can come together once in awhile when they have to collaborate on projects in person.
Another area the workplace is changing is how employees connect to the values of their company. Values are extremely important to the incoming generations such as the Millennials and it is important to them that their company reflects its values in real ways daily in the workplace. Its no longer good enough to say a company value is to “do the right thing”, nowadays you have to be sure your company is showing how to do the right thing, maybe by getting involved in community outreach or by operating in an environmentally responsible way. Other areas where the workplace is changing include the blending of personal and work lives and thinking outside of the organization.
So what does the workplace of the future look like? Some things that Fahlbusch sees happening in the future is a move towards doing work while standing vs. sitting all of the time. She also thinks that physical work spaces will evolve from working in one big office building, to working remotely from any location. She believes companies will be more globally minded, closer to customers, and closer to communities. Fahlbusch hopes that the future of work will include a stronger collaboration between education and tech companies for mutual benefit and that there will be a real impact with information technology in the ways of AI and wellness/health.
When it comes to employee experience Fahlbusch says that while some companies will say they don’t have the budget to impact employee experience, it is a choice. There is a cost, but there is also an opportunity cost for not doing it. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but if you want to be satisfied with the employees you have and the employees you are attracting to your company you can’t afford not to budget for employee experience.
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(Music by Ronald Jenkees)
Mon, 21 November 2016
Teresa Carroll is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Global Talent Solutions for Kelly Services. Kelly Services is a staffing agency that has been around for 70 years and now it is a $6 Billion company that has 10,000 employees operating in over 40 countries around the world. Carroll, who is actually an engineer in the automotive industry by trade, has worked with Kelly Services for 24 years in several different roles.
Gig/Freelance economy is a huge topic of discussion these days. It seems like the gig/freelance economy is growing daily. Why are we having such a shift away from traditional, full time work? Carroll believes it is due to three key factors. First of all, it is due to demographics. We currently have four generations out in the workforce and as Carroll points out, “2 out of the 4 have clearly stated they don’t want to work full time for the same company”. The two generations she is talking about are the Baby Boomers, who are at retirement age but who don’t want to fully commit to leaving the workforce yet and therefore are doing part-time work, and the Millennials who have grown up with technology since birth.
The second factor that plays into the move from traditional, full time work is technology. The advances in technology have allowed us to get work done in so many different ways using various platforms such as Upwork, Etsy, Uber, etc... It used to be that employees would have to go into the office where they were trained in one specific job, however now you can work from anywhere and jobs are more task driven. And finally, the third factor is psychographic, or how we think and make decisions. Today’s workforce realizes they have certain skills and they are in demand, and therefore they get to work how they want to work.
When looking to figure out the true size of the gig/freelance economy it is hard to pinpoint due to challenges, such as the fact that there are so many different terms for this type of work. People use terms such as Gig workers, freelancers, independent contractors, entrepreneurs, etc... However, as Carroll points out, regardless of what name you use it is a fact that one third of today’s workforce does not work full time. According to a study done by Kelly Services, there are 600 million workers in the developing world and out of those workers 115 million work as independent contractors, 50 million are freelancers/business owners, 40 million are temp workers and 30 million are a hybrid of several different types of work.
One thing you cannot deny is that this space is substantial and it is growing all the time. So what does this mean for companies? According to Carroll it means that companies need to continuously educate themselves on trends and they need to be able to adapt to a new type of workforce. We are going to see a move towards employing a mixture of full time, traditional employees as well as gig/freelance workers (depending on the needs of the company). With this shift in workforce it is important for HR and procurement personnel to work together and to sit down together to make a strategic plan. If companies choose to ignore this change they will not be able to attract and retain today’s top talent, and therefore they will stunt the company’s growth.
What does it mean for individuals? Carroll encourages young people who are just entering the workforce to try three types of internships; one with a large company with a well-known name brand, one with a small entrepreneur, and one as an independent contractor in order to get a sense of the different ways to work. She also says it is important for workers to “get a specific skill set and keep adding to it” and to stay educated about business trends and the different ways people are finding work.
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(Music by Ronald Jenkees)
Mon, 14 November 2016
We explore the people strategy Adidas has been implementing with chief HR officer, Karen Parkin, and we talk about how things might be changing in the world of work.
Karen Parkin is the chief HR officer at Adidas, a global sporting goods company headquartered in Germany. Parkin has been with the company for 20 years and with her background in sales she has been able to bring a unique perspective to the company’s new people strategy.
Adidas has been going through a lot of changes including the arrival of a new CEO, which will bring about a change in culture and strategy in itself. Another change that has been taking place is in the company’s people strategy. Adidas understands the importance of evolving with the ever changing world of work and the importance of employee experience and engagement. Parkin says, “to be successful we need the best people sitting in the right seats”, so when they were developing their new people strategy they had four pillars in mind. These four pillars dealt with attracting and retaining people, inspiring role models, fresh and diverse perspectives and creating the right environment for employee talent.
Adidas recognizes that the world of work is changing and they knew they needed to develop a strategy that allowed them to adapt over time. They also feel that diversity in the workplace is very important and that welcoming in the new generations while still respecting the generations that are already in the company is essential. Adidas acknowledges that the competitor landscape has changed and they are no longer just competing with other sporting companies such as Puma or Nike, but they are in competition with all large global companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon. As Parkin states, “the war for talent is over”. Companies cannot afford to just sit back and assume people will want to come work for them. In this day and age Companies have to work hard to attract and retain talent.
Adidas traditionally conducted surveys every 2-3 years to look at employee engagement, however they are now bringing the focus to new management and a feedback culture where they can measure the experience employees are having everyday. Parkin brings a fresh look to these measurements as her background is not in HR, but in sales. She believes it is important to measure from a brand perspective, asking employees on a quarterly basis about how likely they would be to refer the company to peers, friends, coworkers and family. Parkin is constantly thinking about what her consumers want, need and think. She believes “people are the heart of the company, and HR is the head”.
Another change Adidas has implemented is “moments that matter”. Parkin believes that in today’s workplace there is no longer a one size fits all model. The experience that one employee has is going to be completely different from someone sitting right next to them. Adidas brought a diverse group of employees into room and HR led an interview process where they asked the employees what moments mattered the most to them. From there Parkin and her team plotted several different employee experiences to see what the key moments would be.
Some key moments that are common across the board to all employees would be the recruitment process and what the first conversation with Adidas looks like. Another key moment would be the first day in a new position. Some moments that matter that are not necessarily common to all people would be someone that wants to take a sabbatical, someone who wants to start a family or someone who wants to leave the company to work for another. All of these moments matter to employees and they are moments that Adidas is focusing in on to make sure they are great, memorable experiences.
While keeping up with the changes in the world of work, It is important to be sure that your company is not just following any and every trend that pops up. Companies should understand their goals, culture and employees and make sure the trends work with their overall big picture before implementing any changes. The key, as Parkin puts it, is for leadership to understand that “people, products and brands matter equally”.
According to Parkin, one of the most fundamental changes in the world of work is that it is “about the people, and it starts with the people”. The new role of HR needs to be the “table where the changes begin and a voice on behalf of the people”; HR is about people.
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Mon, 7 November 2016
Diane Hoskins, the Co-CEO of Gensler explains the importance of workplace design and what organizations can do to improve employee experience, productivity, and innovation.
Diane Hoskins is the Co-CEO of Gensler, which is a global design firm that focuses on creating a better world through the power of design. The company started in San Francisco 50 years ago and they now have about 5,000 employees and 46 offices all over the world. Hoskins has degrees in Architecture and Business.
Over the past 10 years Gensler has been conducting research on workplace design and how it affects productivity, innovation and competitive dynamics. In all of their research they came to the conclusion that workplace design does in fact contribute to innovation and productivity. When Gensler gets an initial call from an organization wanting to update their workplace they start by getting an understanding of what the core needs of the organization are. They have to get a sense of what the organization’s current culture is like, what its values are, and where the company is going in the future. During this process they interview employees, give out surveys, observe day to day activities and collect data in order to best serve the needs of the company. There are no two companies that are exactly the same, so it is important to design a workplace that uniquely fits each one.
One topic in workplace design that has been debated a lot over the past few years is open vs. closed office spaces. Some people think it is better for everyone to have their own offices or cubicles and they believe that meeting spaces should be closed off and private. Others think open workspaces creates a better working atmosphere where people are more creative. Hoskins believes that it is all about a diversity of spaces and giving employees choices in their workplace. She says it is not about choosing either open or closed spaces, but having a mixture of both. For example, an organization could have closed meeting spaces of various sizes, open informal meeting areas with soft seating, and coffee bars and cafes for working and “unplanned chance encounters”. Hoskins says it is all about “unlocking the pathways that allow employees to step out of a routine”.
Business leaders have begun to see that there is a relationship between their workplace design and the performance of their employees and their company as a whole. They can see it in examples such as Airbnb, Facebook, and Etsy. The most innovative companies are not using the office spaces of the past where the whole building had one static floor plan that was built with the job in mind instead of the employee. Now, organizations are realiizing that their workplace needs to be more fluid and adaptable and one that is designed to create an atmosphere where employees can do their best work. Hoskings says ideally companies would be adaptive, making small changes to their workplace all the time to keep up with their employees and the current technology. However, that is not always possible monetarily or physically, so she suggests that companies take a look at their design every 2-4 years to make sure it is the most effective use of the space.
So what do employees want in a workspace? Based on Gensler’s research, the things that employees want are pretty basic and not anything over the top. The four main things that employees want are individual spaces that have a functional layout, adjustability that allows them to adapt their workspace to their current needs (sitting down, standing up, etc..), noise management, and access to the resources they need. After those four basics the next things on the list were food related such as a cafe or a coffee shop. Things that were not high up on the list were the over the top additions such as slides and ping pong tables.
The fact is that most of us spend the majority of our waking hours in our work environment and that is why it is so important to have a space we can go to that allows us to feel connected, be productive, and stay focused. This also in turn helps the business because as Hoskins says, “healthy, strong people do great work”.
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(Music by Ronald Jenkees)