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Elevating the Workforce Experience: Part 6
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).
When organizations think about elevating the workforce experience, they might imagine worker perks, learning opportunities, flexible working schedules and workspaces, innovative technologies for collaboration, and building a positive company culture. Although these are indeed important aspects of the workforce experience, none are as fundamental to the worker as their work.
This article focuses on the sixth core attribute for elevating the workforce experience—Work. The Work relationship pertains to the work workers do, the norms, methods, and tools they use to get work done, and how their work strengthens them. This relationship is affected by six influencers, which work in tandem to drive the workforce experience:
Meaning of Work—The alignment and adaptability of work to the mission, values, and purpose of the worker and organization that strengthens the worker
For many workers, work is no longer simply a means to an end. Although many workers work to earn their paychecks, they also want work that is meaningful, fulfilling, and contributes to something bigger than themselves.1 Today’s workers seek to identify with an organization’s purpose, longing to connect at a deeper level to align their personal wants and desire with the organization’s mission.2 Notably, organizations whose workers feel connected to their work enjoy greater business growth and customer satisfaction than those whose workers do not.3,4
When workers can see how their contributions lead to a positive impact on their organization, their work feels more meaningful.5 Author and Wharton Professor, Adam Grant, posits that work can be made more meaningful by simply helping workers see the connection between their day-to-day tasks and the overall outcome and mission of the organization. In his research, Grant found that workers who interact with satisfied customers for even just five minutes were reminded of their larger purpose at work and performed better as a result.6
Work Objectives—An understanding of expected outcomes and measures of success
Clearly stated objectives and expected outcomes are foundational to driving a positive workforce experience. When workers can strive to achieve predefined measures of success, it instills a sense of direction and progress that will foster greater fulfillment with the work. Further, by connecting workers’ success in achieving stated outcomes to the overall success of the organization, the value of one’s work becomes more meaningful as they see the connection it has to customers and the greater community.
Moreover, virtual work environments are challenging leaders to be explicitly clear in communicating the purpose and individual worker roles to the big picture to demonstrate how one’s efforts contribute to the mission of the organization.7 By combining workers’ expected outcomes and measures of success with those of the company, personal triumphs become collective triumphs.
Work Enablement—The access to and efficiency of the processes, tools, and information required to complete work
Workers’ relationships with their work depend on the efficiency, ease, and effectiveness of the technology that allows them to be more productive and deliver value to all stakeholders. As such, organizations should strive to create a seamless digital workforce for workers to engage with others across the organization.8 Organizations should strive to create a seamless digital workforce for workers to engage with others across the organization. Unfortunately, many workers in the workplace encounter a disjointed and frustrating experience with technology.9 It has long been the case that workers expect their relationships with work technology to resemble their experiences at home, yet there remains a divide between consumer-grade technologies and employer-based platforms. By taking a human-centered design approach, organizations can elevate the workforce experience by providing workers with a variety of technology options from which to choose, easy-to-access online resources and tools, and seamless collaboration and communication platforms. In addition to improving the experience of their workers, organizations who take these steps also benefit from higher productivity and efficiency.10
Growth—The impact of work that aligns with the personal goals and development of the worker
Opportunities for growth and development are what motivate many workers to take and stay at their jobs.11 Workers seek opportunities to help them learn new skills, expand their professional networks, and grow personally. As a result, organizations can improve the workforce experience by providing resources for learning and development, developing programs dedicated to mentorship and coaching, and building networks to bridge communications across the organization.12,13
Ways of Working—The norms and methods established by the team and organization to complete work
The new way of working requires workers to use technology in innovative ways to accelerate work outputs and achieve new outcomes.14 Creating superteams, embracing a teaming environment that encourages, collaboration, accountability, flexibility, and purpose are attributes organizations can use to elevate the workforce experience for their workers. Regardless of the technology that is used and the workplace environment an organization implements, it is important for workers to focus on clear communication, constructive collaboration, trust and support, and accountability across all members of the organization.15
Flexibility—The ability of workers to complete work with autonomy to address their needs
Empowering workers to determine how, when, and where they get work done is an indicator of a positive workforce experience. Flexibility improves worker performance, reduces workplace stress, and increases job satisfaction.16 Organizations can show support for their workers by allowing greater flexibility to attend to well-being needs, mobility, flexible work arrangement options, and access to tools and technologies anywhere and anytime.17,18
In summary, today’s workforce increasingly seeks work that is meaningful and purpose-driven, connecting personal values with the company mission. Organizations that focus on creating environments that foster purpose-driven work, flexible work arrangements, collaborative ways of working, and mutual trust will enable an engaged workforce to advance new sources of value for future growth.
Anne-Claire Roesch is a Senior Manager in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital practice, where she led the launch of Deloitte’s Future of Work program in the U.S. and has worked across the firm’s global network to scale and develop new approaches to defining future workforce strategies with some of Deloitte’s largest clients.
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 Stancroff is an Analyst in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital practice. He is interested in helping clients design and implement programs to elevate their workforce experiences.
1 Melanie Langsett, et al., “Elevating the workforce experience: The people relationship,” Deloitte, November 17, 2020.
2 Michael Gilmartin, et al., “Elevating the workforce experience: The well-being relationship,” Deloitte Capital H Blog, December 1, 2020.
3 Melanie Langsett, et al., “Elevating the workforce experience: The people relationship,” Deloitte, November 17, 2020. l
4 Michelle McQuaid, “How to make work more meaningful.”
5 Don Miller, et al., “Elevating the workforce experience: The organization relationship,” Deloitte Capital H Blog,
6 “Putting a face to a name: The art of motivating employees,” Knowledge at Wharton: University of Pennsylvania, February 17, 2010.
7 Melanie Langsett, et al., “Elevating the workforce experience: The people relationship,” Deloitte, November 17, 2020.
8 Arthur Mazor “The digital workforce experience: Getting technology to work at work,” Deloitte Insights, July 29, 2020.
9 Michael MacLeod, et al., “Elevating the workforce experience: The technology relationship,” Deloitte Capital H Blog,
10 Michael MacLeod, et al., “Elevating the workforce experience: The technology relationship,” Deloitte Capital H Blog,
11 Michael Gilmartin, et al., “Elevating the workforce experience: The well-being relationship,” Deloitte Capital H Blog, December 1, 2020.
12 Michael Gilmartin, et al., “Elevating the workforce experience: The well-being relationship,” Deloitte Capital H Blog, December 1, 2020.
13 Melanie Langsett, et al., “Elevating the workforce experience: The people relationship,” Deloitte, November 17, 2020.
14 Erica Volini, et al., “The social enterprise in a world disrupted. Leading the shift from survive to thrive,” Deloitte Insights, 2020.
15 Melanie Langsett, et al., “Elevating the workforce experience: The people relationship,” Deloitte, November 17, 2020.
16 Steve Hatfield, et al., “Elevating the workforce experience: The places relationship,” Deloitte Capital H Blog, December 8, 2020.
17 Michael Gilmartin, et al., “Elevating the workforce experience: The well-being relationship,” Deloitte Capital H Blog, December 1, 2020.
18 Steve Hatfield, et al., “Elevating the workforce experience: The places relationship,” Deloitte Capital H Blog, December 8, 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.