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Elevating the Workforce Experience: Part 5
Deloitte's Workforce Experience by Design practice uses human-centered, equity-based design to understand workers like we do customers and design experience solutions that cultivate trust and loyalty. We define workforce experience as "the sum of a human’s lived experiences at work and how they feel about their organization" and believe there are eight key relationships that influence a worker's experience at an organization - two of which have been newly incorporated into our leading practice perspective. These elements include a worker's relationship with the work they do, the people they work with, the places they work, the technology they use, the organization they work for, their personal well-being, their sense of belonging, and the growth that delivers value to their career. A worker's sense of belonging and their growth are two new additions to highlight how organizations can foster diverse, equitable, and inclusive communities for the worker (belonging) and portable value beyond a worker's lived experiences (growth).
Deloitte’s 2021 Global Human Capital Trends report highlighted that humans and technology are more powerful together than either can be on their own.1 Organization should evolve their thinking about technology replacing humans to using technology to collaborate with humans.2
The new way of working requires workers to use technology in innovative ways to accelerate work outputs and achieve new outcomes.3 Organizations need to reimagine the relationship between workers and technology by exploring the ways in which this relationship can be made more seamless.4 The question becomes how can organizations improve the relationships workers have with technology in the workplace?
This article focuses on the fifth of the core attributes for elevating the workforce experience—Technology. The Technology relationship pertains to the technologies that connect workers with their work, co-workers, and workplace. This relationship is affected by six influencers, which work in tandem to drive the workforce experience:
Collaboration and Communication—The promotion of teaming and knowledge sharing through technology
The increased prevalence of remote and contract workers is forcing leaders to engage a workforce that may not share a physical site or geography. To thrive in this virtual environment, leaders must create a teaming environment that fosters a culture of collaboration and setting clear expectations in communicating and getting the work done.5,6 Creating “superteams” that use technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and collaboration tools can create a positive workforce experience and deliver value to the human experience ecosystem.7,8The human experience ecosystem consists of the organization’s customers, its workforce, and partners. These kinds of technology can likewise be used to enhance social collaboration which is critical to driving a stronger sense of community.
Similarly, knowledge sharing is an essential component of workforce productivity in a remote work environment. An effective knowledge management approach can dissolve silos by enabling workers to build and share one another’s knowledge and expertise throughout the organization.9
An example of technology being used for effective collaboration and communication is a satellite television company that provides field technicians with a messaging application that enables them to connect with subject matter experts, receive real-time updates on systemwide issues, and look up parts in real-time which empowers them to quickly meet customer demands and cuts down service-call time.10
Design—How technology is designed in a human-centric way, resulting in intuitive, simple tools with minimal training
It has long been the case that workers’ experiences with technology in their personal lives are usually superior to their experiences at work. Social media, innovative mobile devices, and intuitive self-service applications are only a few examples of technologies that make people’s day-to-day lives easier. When it comes to the workplace, however, technology can present users with disjointed and frustrating experiences.11 Now, workers have come to expect that their workplace technology will mirror the experiences they enjoy outside of work.
Providing a high-impact technology experience requires a delicate balance between identifying the tools and technologies that will help increase productivity and efficiency while also maintaining a focus on the human experience. To do so, organizations need to look beyond the mere functionality of technology and put people at the center of the design. In other words, not technology for technology’s sake, but rather for the human’s sake.
Work Enablement—The ability to leverage the right technology to accomplish work efficiently
Organizations should strive in creating a seamless technology workforce experience for workers to enable them to engage with others across the organization.12 The use of a unified engagement platform creates a single and simpler user experience which helps workers improve service delivery, increase the speed of communication between workers, and accuracy across the organization.13
Many organizations currently use systems that are disparate on the back-end—systems that were not built from the ground up. These kinds of disparate back-end systems can lead to disjointed front-end experiences for users. Unified engagement platforms can provide seamless user experiences. These technologies integrate systems into single-service entities that can include chatbots, enterprise social platforms, and robotic process automation.14 In short, when technology works for workers at work, the organization is on the path towards an overall positive workforce experience.15
Personalization—The level of personalization that enables technology to cater to the needs and preferences of the worker
As is the case for workers’ personal and at-home technology experiences, workplace technologies should be customizable and personalized. This personalization can manifest in a variety of ways, from allowing workers to choose the specific kinds of devices and software they use to providing access to different kinds of technologies for people to try or experiment with that are within the organization’s IT parameters.
Organizations can also use technology to add personalization to important moments in the employee life cycle. A leading hospitality company deploys AI technology for the entire recruitment process—sourcing, screening, and interviewing candidates—to create a more streamlined and personalized experience for both the candidate and the hiring manager that increased the speed of hiring by 85 percent.16
Consistency—The usage of technology to enable a consistent work experience regardless of where or when work is done
Organizations need to provide accessible tools to equip workers to be able to work anytime and anywhere with minimal disruptions.17 To accommodate the future of work in a virtual environment, organizations need to expand on their technical capabilities and infrastructure.[xviii] This can be accomplished by providing workers with multiple mediums to collaborate and complete their work such as virtual meetings, video conferencing, cloud, and other technologies.18,19 Embracing virtual work opportunities and capabilities will enable technology and workers to do perform to their potential both independently and in-sync with one another.20
Data—The ability to access real-time information, dashboards, and applications to drive decision-making and complete work
By providing workers with the ability to access real-time data and resources, they improve the efficiency and independence with which those workers can do their work. Importantly, this kind of access to information can drive both productivity and employee engagement. An example of this is a large retail company that empowers its workers by providing them with devices that allow them to access inventory data and training applications and also communicate with their team. These kinds of devices and technologies enhance productivity, enable growth, and encourage collaboration.21
In summary, organizations need to reimagine the technology workplace experience and better leverage technology to drive social collaboration, knowledge sharing, and personalization to improve productivity and drive community. By embracing these innovations, organizations stand to greatly improve the relationship between technology and their workers—technology that makes work better for humans and makes humans better at work.22 Technology—when designed with a human-centered approach—can improve collaboration and communication, allow individuals to access necessary resources with ease, and enable workers to work more efficiently.
Michael MacLeod is a Managing Director in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital practice. Michael helps companies to transform their HR functions by linking business and HR strategy and leveraging digital approaches to HR service delivery. His global consulting experience traverses the HR landscape and includes HR strategy, HR service delivery model design, HR shared services and outsourcing, cloud HR systems deployment, enterprise transition, and change management.
Maribeth Sivak is a Specialist Leader in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital practice, where she helps clients implement design thinking to reimagine and redefine the workforce experience. What makes her unique is her ability to thread workforce experience through solutions from strategy to design through implementation to deliver a transformative workforce experience and business results.
Terry Porter, Ed.D. is a Senior Consultant in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital practice focusing on organizational transformations that equip the workforce to deliver on business strategy. He utilizes his research, coaching, and design thinking acumen to help clients achieve their strategic ambitions by elevating their workforce experience.
Seth Stancroffis an Analyst in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital practice. He is interested in helping clients design and implements programs to elevate their workforce experiences.
1 Erica Volini, et al., “The social enterprise in a world disrupted. Leading the shift from survive to thrive,” Deloitte Insights, 2020.
2 Erica Volini, et al., “Knowledge management: Creating context for a connected world,” Deloitte Insights, May 15, 2020.
3 Erica Volini, et al., “The social enterprise in a world disrupted. Leading the shift from survive to thrive,” Deloitte Insights, 2020.
4 Erica Volini, et al., “The social enterprise at work: Paradox as a path forward. 2020 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends,” Deloitte Insights, 2020.
5 Michael Griffths, et al., “Leading practices for remote learning during COVID-19,” Deloitte Capital H Blog, March 19, 2020.
6 Melanie Langsett, et al., “Elevating the workforce experience: The people relationship,” Deloitte, November 17, 2020.
7 Erica Volini, et al., “The social enterprise in a world disrupted. Leading the shift from survive to thrive,” Deloitte Insights, 2020.
8 Erica Volini, et al., “Superteams: Putting AI in the group,” Deloitte Insights, May 15, 2020.
9 Erica Volini, et al., “Knowledge management: Creating context for a connected world,” Deloitte Insight, May 15, 2020.
10 TJ Keitt, Harley Manning, J.P. Gownder, Craig Le Clair, and Angelina Gennis, “A good customer experience requires workers to be digitally enabled,” Forrester, October 3, 2019.
11 Arthur Mazor, “The digital workforce experience: Getting technology to work at work,” Deloitte Insights, July 29, 2020.
12 Arthur Mazor, “The digital workforce experience: Getting technology to work at work,” Deloitte Insights, July 29, 2020.
13 Arthur Mazor, “The digital workforce experience: Getting technology to work at work,” Deloitte Insights, July 29, 2020.
14 Arthur Mazor, “The digital workforce experience: Getting technology to work at work,” Deloitte Insights, July 29, 2020.
15 Arthur Mazor, “The digital workforce experience: Getting technology to work at work,” Deloitte Insights, July 29, 2020.
16 Rhett Power, “4 Ways to Enhance Your Employee Experience With Tech,” Inc., March 6, 2019.
17 Steve Hatfield, et al., “Elevating the workforce experience: The places relationship,” Deloitte Capital H Blog, December 8, 2020.
18 Erica Volini, et al., “Increasing organizational resilience in the face of COVID-19,” Deloitte, 2020.
19 Erica Volini, et al., “Increasing organizational resilience in the face of COVID-19,” Deloitte, 2020.
20 Michael Griffths, et al., “Leading practices for remote learning during COVID-19,” Deloitte Capital H Blog, March 19, 2020.
21 Erica Volini, et al., “Increasing organizational resilience in the face of COVID-19,” Deloitte, 2020.
22 TJ Keitt, Harley Manning, J.P. Gownder, Craig Le Clair, and Angelina Gennis, “A good customer experience requires workers to be digitally enabled,” Forrester, October 3, 2019.
23 Erica Volini, et al., “The social enterprise in a world disrupted. Leading the shift from survive to thrive,” Deloitte Insights, 2020.
A principal in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital practice, Melanie has more than 30 years of employee benefit administration and human capital consulting experience serving a wide range of Fortune 500, nonprofit, and public sector clients. Melanie consults her clients about the full talent life-cycle with a particular expertise in transforming the way employers recognize and reward their workforce to maximize business outcomes. Melanie is frequently asked to speak on total rewards and human resource topics and has provided numerous training sessions for plan sponsors on leading practices in benefit operations.