How HR Leaders Can Put Employees at the Center of Their Strategies and Why It Matters

Allison Mandel
May 2, 2017

At the center of the most forward-thinking, dynamic and successful workplaces is people. Multinational corporate leaders alike can benefit from facilitating human-centered organizations and creating optimal experiences for their employees.

Employee experience encompasses everything from the physical work environment, interactions between co-workers, recruitment, onboarding and evaluation. Research shows that satisfied employees make companies more efficient and productive, positively impacting a business's bottom line.

To ensure people are at the center of their business strategies, HR leaders must embrace agility, flexibility and human-centered design thinking.

Agility and Flexibility

When business leaders embrace workplace agility and flexibility, they're investing in employee experience and thereby creating a collaborative environment that yields creative insights and innovative breakthroughs.

Research shows that flexible work environments correlate to higher levels of engagement, happiness and trust in certain workforce demographics. As a result, some companies have moved towards hybrid work models by utilizing talent marketplaces to hire independent on-demand workers. As employees continually move away from traditional 9–5 work experiences, HR leaders must embrace this new way of working.
Additionally, decision making does not always need to be passed down from supervisor to employee. Organizations should employ a collective pursuit of excellence by empowering all workers — those who work in-house and those who work contingently — to make decisions that aim to enhance the overall resilience of a company. From senior to junior, full time to on demand, the entire workforce should be involved in discerning, designing, creating and iterating in the workplace. Furthermore, creating genuine connections by encouraging open communication and inviting employees to speak up increases motivation and overall employee experience.

Human-Centered Design Thinking

Today's employees are different from those of the past. As employees continue to evolve, so does the need for HR to do the same. Human resources departments must adopt human-centered design thinking. The overall goal of design thinking is to improve productivity by removing complexity and implementing simple and enjoyable solutions that ensure employees do not feel overwhelmed at work.

One aspect of human-centered design thinking is embracing new learning and development programs that match the desires of current employees. For example, businesses can implement efficient online portals, such as Lessonly and LearnUpon, to reduce the amount of time being spent on traditional HR processes. As a LinkedIn learning report explains, "mobile devices have reshaped how employees access and consume learning resources, and have actually helped increase adoption of learning." For instance, employees at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group manage their time, attendance, benefits and vacation schedule all via a mobile app. They can even collaborate with colleagues using the same app.

Organizations do not have to start from scratch with design thinking. Instead, inspiration lies right in the company itself. HR leaders and their teams must study employees and observe their behaviors to determine what they want most out of their work experiences and environments.

Employees are not cogs in a machine. On the contrary, successful leadership must work hard to ensure optimal employee experience by creating work environments where everyone sings in perfect pitch. Employee experience is about value, appreciation, transparency and collaboration. Businesses must be willing to proactively respond to changing expectations and focus on their most fundamental asset: people.

Enterprises must get creative with how they manage their talent supply chains. Ensure access to highly desirable experts with Catalant's on-demand talent platform and learn more about how to win with a flexible workforce by clicking on the banner below.

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About the Author

Allison Mandel

Allison Mandel is a Boston-based freelance writer, and contributing content producer and editor to the Catalant blog. Her writing can be found in both digital and print contexts, and includes articles, blog posts, creative nonfiction, and school rankings. From storytelling tips and tricks to news reports in the digital marketing space, Allison creates engaging content across varying strategies. A 200-hour certified yoga instructor, Allison is also deeply committed to healthy living, mindfulness, and personal development.

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