In the latest episode of “LDS On”, CEO Mimi Brooks focuses on the strategy and vision for a digital Employee Experience aligned to the transforming operating model of digital age businesses. With the operating model as our line of sight, we imagine Employee and Worker Experiences that drive productivity, encourage adoption of new work practices, and invoke engagement in new purpose and culture models.
Welcome to the fifth video in a series of LDS thought-leadership dedicated to the discussion of transformation management.
In each bi-weekly video, we’ll address a topic of strategic interest to business leaders who are guiding their organizations through transformative change.
In this video, I’ll focus on the strategy and vision for a digital Employee Experience aligned to the transforming operating model of digital age businesses. With the operating model as our line of sight, we can imagine Employee and Worker Experiences and platforms that drive productivity, encourage adoption of new work practices, and invoke engagement in new purpose and culture models.
So, this is LDS ON…Employee Experience Strategy. Let’s get started…
Even as contemporary businesses transform from organizational siloes and fragmented technology stacks towards horizontal, interconnected business ecosystems, so too must the Employee Experience morph. Our current content-heavy, link farm intranets need to be reimagined as smart, adaptive platforms that connect the diverse assets of the enterprise into a personalized, seamless, and insightful experience for individuals.
The overarching goals of the Employee Experience are aligned to critical business goals – mission and purpose, growth and performance, culture, and human-centricity.
Employee Experiences should create and reinforce a culture of participation and shared learning. They should drive employee productivity through new work models, assessing greater value on human time and attention while lessening low-value tasks and repetitive processes via automation. Necessarily, the Experience should create opportunities for employees who now ‘work everywhere’ to connect and collaborate. Workers should be able to “see and move” across the business landscape to mine and contribute to knowledge, ideas, and expertise. In a transforming state, a productive Experience models the future – for workers and leaders alike – and helps people to adopt practices and build capabilities ahead of their needed timeframes.
Consequentially, the Employee Experience Strategy is an exercise in anticipating and supporting the new Human Operating System in digital age businesses. To do this, a holistic, top-down approach is needed.
With the business and operating model as the consistent “North Star”, the strategy looks at external Market & Industry trends to understand the competitive landscape and any disruptive factors shaping the emerging business ecosystem. Key business insights are contributed by leaders from across operating units and geographies. Their roadmaps are assessed to understand how automation and modernization are expected to affect the organization and its people, and the timeframes associated with change. These enterprise-common and business-variable plans are distilled and prioritized as needed organizational capabilities with milestone dates.
Talent and culture strategies provide the “glue” in new business models and we need to “action” these as capabilities in the Experience just as we would other business requirements. To do this, these strategies are interpreted as new ways of working requirements or the “horizontal commons” as I often refer to them.
Lastly, management systems and structures – leadership, change, and governance – will be the “river that runs through” the Experience. Underestimating these can make any Employee Experience strategy flimsy or risky. Plan early to support these structures in the Experience Strategy process in order to ensure adoption and sustainability later.
As business context emerges, Strategy turns to the workforce and observes the attributes of workers, the nature of their work today, their unique work environments and tools, their teaming and participation behaviors, and their trusted sources of knowledge. With this data, we can divide workers into segments that can be observed across BUs and departments. For each segment, we can look ahead to the work of the future and the changing nature of work. We can define the new capabilities and skills needed there and understand critical gaps and likely challenges to remediate. We must anticipate not only the human-machine relationships that will dramatically change the nature of work but also the new, human-only skills needed in new work.
This creates a human picture of the future workforce in digestible segments. When we later move from Strategy into Design, this knowledge informs a personalized experience as a path for workers to the future of work in their particular organization, and the norms and practices that commonly guide work within and across those domains.
Business and workforce insights understood against the backdrop of the emerging business ecosystem provide the context needed to create the vision, value proposition, guiding principles, and framework for the Employee Experience.
We can also now align the business roadmap and its critical milestones to the strategic workforce plan and its milestones…creating a rational Human operating model and Employee Experience Roadmap that serves both business and workers in transformation.
Technology runs in parallel throughout the Experience Strategy, providing “digital muscle”, innovation and leapfrog opportunities. And in the final Roadmap, we must carefully rationalize technology readiness to business and worker priorities to ensure that new digital systems and capabilities are available when needed.
In summary, as this second wave of the Fourth Industrial Revolution creates change at an exponential pace, we see companies reinventing their approach to employee engagement and the workplace itself…while the effects of COVID accelerate digital work practices and create permanent changes to working relationships and social contracts.
A holistic employee experience strategy provides a thoughtful plan to accelerate the organization’s journey to the future workplace. In so doing, we not only future-proof the business, but we also anticipate the employability and readiness of workers either within the transformed business or via a plan for a smooth transition to another career journey.