In the turbulence of the world today, there is one unwavering constant - change. Rapid changes in technology, economic stability, and society will only continue to accelerate and become more complex. It is a known fact that change is exponential, and the colossal change brought by COVID-19 clears a path to rethink, and ultimately improve, the world of work.
In the wake of COVID-19, much is being said about the need for a new operating model by which HR, or the people function of your organization, can support, empower, and deliver needed services to a distributed workforce. How to create order and assemble your workforce to achieve unified success amidst the chaos is the great challenge businesses must solve.
Operating models for HR already needed to be dismantled, even before COVID-19 slammed into our businesses, homes, and lives. Perhaps that’s what it took: a sudden and complete erasure of all we understood about where and how work could get done. This, alongside new policies and support for Work Your Way, reshaped the workforce experience as something that includes many touch-points intended to reduce friction.
Delivering a Digital Workforce Experience
Delivering a holistic, digital workforce experience is crucial to your business vitality. Over the past several years, there has been a strong emphasis on paving the way for the "Future of Work.” Now everything has changed, the NOW of Work needs a new operating model that can support all types of workers at “moments that matter” in a distributed (e.g., remote, hybrid work arrangements, office-based, field-based, front-lines based, etc.) work environment, one that offers personalization and relevance to every individual.
In 2019, Josh Bersin, Global HR Analyst and Founder of Bersin Associates, described an Employee Experience Platform as a new category of HR and workforce productivity software that includes middleware connectivity, case management, process management, and knowledge management to help companies give their employees a single place to manage work-related tasks, HR requirements, and job transitions. The demand for simplifying the complexities of the NOW of Work was clearly amplified, and the need for a unified employee experience platform was confirmed.
Today, for a growing number of workers, the digital workplace is the workplace. Therefore, the digital workforce experience is the workforce experience. This is a simple yet vital concept to unpack. Digital should not be siloed into a separate category for HR or IT departments to manage; businesses must embrace and design journeys that intertwine digital and physical experiences enterprise-wide. The seismic shifts workforces have experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed the business need for a digital workforce experience platform beyond what was considered an isolated digital workforce strategy; this strategy has become the overarching business strategy.
What is a Digital Workforce Experience Platform?
The technology marketplace can seem like an endless Venn diagram with so much product overlap that it’s impossible to draw clear boundaries between product categories and what solutions will genuinely meet your business needs. No doubt, the rapid innovation cycle of cloud computing has much to do with this.
To create an agile digital environment, the digital workforce experience platform delivers an adaptable, flexible architecture with vast extensibility for even the most complex operational architecture. In this platform, you can reimagine the moments that matter for your people and build individualized, interactive, and engaging connection points. Using human-centered design, the platform is intended to complement your current and future technology infrastructure to integrate multiple solutions through collecting data, initiating workflows, and managing cross-functional transactions in a centralized place.
Figure 1: A Digital Workforce Experience Platform
Let’s break it down:
- Cloud-based generally goes without saying and requires no definition, except that being a cloud-based solution avails the platform to integrations and capabilities essential in experience creation.
- Platform means a working environment with built-in functionality that allows workers to configure data-driven employee experiences. The platform is a central place for ongoing collaboration and communication. Think of a platform as a painter’s canvas. While some are more prescriptive than others (think paint by numbers), all are creation environments.
- Integration of personalized data, content, transactions, and interactions from multiple sources and solutions, in a nutshell, is creating a one-stop-shop, either by building tools into the platform or seamlessly integrating other platforms. This includes human interfaces so that a worker can search for content within the same platform and get human help.
- Supporting the execution of human-centered design simply means that there is sufficient flexibility within the employee experience platform for journeys and stories to be enabled for the variety of personas in play. Static, one-size-fits-all portals and intranets don’t qualify as human-centered.
Mindset for Success
It’s important to assemble a team of stakeholders responsible for developing the digital environment for the workforce. Before an organization can transform, these stakeholders have to think in a different way collectively. Maintaining a vision for a unified employee experience is key and should underpin your strategy. A well-constructed vision comprises of four components: vision statement, guiding principles, experience, and measures.
First, there’s a story, which should summarize what you intend your unified employee experience to be, how it’ll deliver value, and to whom. This is typically known as a vision statement. Second, the vision should be supported by guiding principles that your workforce experience seeks to uphold. They’re the guardrails that keep your employee experience program focused. Third, experience attributes are tangible descriptions that are concise summaries of how your guiding principles should manifest themselves to the workforce (i.e., what things look and feel like when interacting with service providers such as HR). Lastly, measures are the fourth component of a solid vision because they establish the standards against which to measure your progress.
Together, these four components comprise a Vision Map.
Accelerating a value-centric workforce experience in the NOW of work
Are you thinking of employing a digital workforce experience platform and want more information? Our latest guide, co-authored by Leapgen maps out the preparation and planning process step-by-step. It also includes industry-recognized frameworks and templates designed to help you achieve frictionless implementation across your workforce.