Betsy Summers is Principal Analyst on the Future of Work at Forrester, the global market research company – and was a recent guest on The WFM Show, Quinyx’s webinar and podcast series.
(If you’ve not seen it yet, The WFM Show features inspiring content from world-leading experts in employee engagement and workforce management. We’re slightly biased, but it’s well worth a look.)
On the show, Betsy discussed workplace trends in 2022, offering vital insights on how leading organisations retain talent.
She outlined a host of ideas and processes other businesses can adopt to look after their own employees – here are some of the key takeaways from the episode:
1. Create an employee experience programme, own it (or make sure someone does!), and ensure it runs across your whole business
Betsy defines employee experience as ‘the sum of all the perceptions an employee has while at work’.
Different parts of the sum, separately, may not be a deal-breaker when it comes to a person’s job satisfaction. But if the sum includes, for example, an unappreciative boss and a difficult process for requesting time off, then a seemingly small issue – e.g., an IT glitch or incorrect paperwork slowing down production - could be the final straw that leads to the person looking for a new job.
In other words, the employee experience as a whole must always be considered.
Yet, as Betsy points out, “less than a third of [US] companies have an intentional employee experience programme”. As she says, in some companies, ‘employee experience’ is seen as the responsibility of the HR department, yet in others, it sits with marketing.
For an employee experience programme to be successful, it should go without saying that it needs to be properly managed; it should also be weaved into other business functions and considered across the entire business strategy.
2. Know that listening and capturing feedback – and acting on it – is crucial
Betsy underlines the qualities of curiosity and empathy in being a good people manager, and emphasises the importance of ‘listening and feedback mechanisms’ in maintaining a happy, motivated workforce.
She reiterates the need to regularly ‘check in’ on employees, and to ask them outright what they want from their jobs in order to stay. However, she says that follow-up on employee surveys is essential. “People don’t have survey fatigue, they have inaction fatigue.”
Betsy points to a need for making these ‘listening and feedback mechanisms’ as simple as possible for both employee and employer – potentially building them into IT or even workforce management solutions.
3. Open up a talent marketplace
Betsy highlights an emerging trend in forward-thinking organisations of establishing ‘talent marketplaces’ – online systems that record employees’ skills, qualifications and interests and then match them with career opportunities within their workplace; these might be temporary projects, mentoring opportunities or even new full-time positions.
Given that career growth is usually one of the top engagement drivers for workers across all sectors, ‘talent marketplaces’ provide employees with the potential to expand their experience and help managers to find the best fit for certain projects and roles – without having to look externally.
4. Consider ‘dismantling hierarchy’ by introducing self-governing teams
Innovative businesses are reaping the rewards from what Betsy describes as a ‘dismantling of hierarchy’ – a move away from micromanagement to instead enable teams and departments to ‘self-govern’. This means that managers act more like coaches, checking in occasionally rather than having day-to-day oversight, which empowers employees as a result, boosting confidence and job satisfaction.
It may be that teams are given control over their budget, or the allocation of specific tasks. An initial step might be utilising a workforce management tool that allows employees to swap shifts and cover sickness and other absences between themselves.
Find out how digital tools like Quinyx can revolutionise your workforce management. And for more employee engagement insights, stories and inspiration, watch the full episode of the WFM Show with Betsy Summers.