In today’s digitalised, data-driven world, we work faster, learn quicker and absorb more information on a daily basis than previous generations would have ever thought possible.
This influx of technology into the workplace means that, by 2030, HR departments will be increasingly focused around people analytics, making decisions based on data collected from their workforce. Unum’s Future Workplace report identified this as an “Intuitive Workplace”, where employees can share more information and in turn, access more information about others.
So how can employers create an environment in which the exchange of knowledge between workers creates a lean and agile work culture?
Creating an intuitive workplace
This type of workplace is driven by a desire for total transparency across the business, where salaries, targets and the company’s financial status are available to all. In return, employees say they would be happy to share personal information so their employer can tailor their role and benefits accordingly.
If done correctly, it’s a win-win situation. Employees benefit from technology that saves them time, and employers benefit because the right workers are selected for the right jobs, with productivity and staff wellbeing increasing as a result.
Look after staff wellbeing
We’re all aware that adopting technology has created an ‘always-on’ work culture which is having a noticeable impact on staff stress levels and wellbeing. While encouraging workers to recharge mentally and achieve balance in their hyper-connected, digital lifestyles is essential for a more intuitive workplace, establishing this type of environment isn’t about getting rid of technology altogether.
It’s about setting a balance and, somewhat counterintuitively, using technology itself to manage employees’ reliance on it.
Staff need to understand what is and isn’t expected of them in terms of working hours and practices, line managers need to be able to spot the signs that an individual might be stressed and know what action to take, and there needs to be tangible support in place, for example through an Employee Assistance programme.
Driving the trend
The growth of personal technology and more digitalised ways of working means a wealth of information is being generated about our work behaviour every day. Wearable tech such as Smart Watches and Fitbits are becoming mainstream and with that, self-quantification is becoming sociably acceptable in order to track and improve health, wellbeing and habits.
With this trend set to continue, by 2030 the data collected could be used to deliver a lean and agile work culture with no wasted energy, people or resources. This will be a truly intuitive workplace which creates a confident, clear and concise working environment with the introduction of self-quantification tools so all employees are more informed and aware of their wellbeing, working habits and mood.
Ensuring a fair exchange of information
Currently, one of the biggest barriers to making this a reality is the need for privacy controls, but if employers can reassure staff of the advantages, everyone can benefit. Many of the people we surveyed said there would need to be a fair exchange of information between employer and employee. They would happily trade personal information if they are in turn offered more of an insight into the company’s workings.
Experts believe that in the future, employees will be even more open to this style of working thanks to a younger, digitally savvy generation maturing as workers. In fact, our survey showed there is greater appetite among younger employees who are already familiar with sharing information through social media and digital channels.
Becoming an intuitive employer
Being intuitive means understanding employees’ wants and concerns, and then taking action to address them. By looking at an individual’s age and situation (for example have they recently become a parent) as well as wider factors such as their role and job demands, employers can provide tailored benefits packages.
In fact, an open relationship between employer and employee is arguably the most important aspect of an Intuitive Workplace, and a key approach that HR departments must adapt to in order to retain staff. Among British workers 21% feel a bad relationship with their manager is the number one trigger for stress, burnout, depersonalisation and emotional exhaustion which can lead to them leaving their job.
The workplace is changing, and becoming increasingly people-centric. People stay with companies that take steps to protect their wellbeing, so companies competing for talent will need to be more supportive of their staff than ever before. A firm that looks after its staff and makes them feel valued in this way will be an employer of choice – driving recruitment, retention and productivity – and in turn, boosting growth for the business.