Welcome to the Age of the Employee

By Julie Rose | Employee Experience

Mar 18

Given all the forces at play today, there’s little doubt that we’ve entered a new era – what many are calling the Age of the Employee. What’s contributing to this? Too many things to name, but here are a few:

  • Record-low unemployment, with more jobs available than people to fill them1
  • A rapidly aging population, with 10,000 people reaching retirement age every day2
  • Diminished loyalty, with employees less willing to be loyal to organizations because only a little over half believe their company is loyal to them3
  • More freedom than ever in how we choose to work, with 4.8 million Americans now considering themselves to be digital nomads4

All of this reinforces that the War for Talent – first coined by McKinsey & Company in 19975 –  has only escalated in recent years, now ranking as the top challenge human resources professionals share in their discussion with LINX WorkForce Innovations. The battle will be won by the organizations that accept and adapt to the Age of the Employee.

Let’s look back at the evolution of employee strategies:

When we first transitioned from the industrial age to the information age, the focus shifted to how happy or satisfied employees were. This was well intended but proved to be insufficient for driving business performance and growth. Employers then tried to dig a little deeper by thinking about employee engagement, typically characterized by administering a quantitative employee engagement survey once a year. These surveys tended to focus less on employee happiness and more on employees’ level of commitment to the organization. After all, research shows that companies with high employee engagement are 17% more productive6.

As the War for Talent has required companies to look more holistically at the entire employee experience, many have only slightly shifted the strategies they used in the era of engagement; for example, simply surveying employees more frequently. Unfortunately, checking in with employees about their engagement – regardless of the frequency – has done little to improve actual engagement, with nearly 70% of the workforce indicating they are not engaged with their work6.

Why is this the case? Regardless of how often we check in with employees, engagement surveys aren’t enough. They give some initial information on the high-level what, but fall short on the insight needed to tell you why and how to transform your employee experience.

As we continue to progress deeper into the Age of the Employee, with an increasing focus on the entire employee experience, the Voice of the Employee will soon have equal footing with the Voice of the Customer.

At LINX WorkForce Innovations, we don’t just see this as a good thing, we see it as an imperative. After all, our employees are the face of our organizations to our customers!

Those who triumph in the Age of the Employee will:

  • Listen to their employees
  • Seek to deeply understand them
  • Solve for the right workplace issues in a timely manner

That’s why we help organizations uncover deep human insights that reveal the real issues to address, by going deep with their employees and talking to them directly. Then, we partner with our clients to develop custom action plans that combine those qualitative insights with their existing, quantitative engagement survey data to truly improve the employee experience.

The Age of the Employee is indeed a new era for organizations everywhere, with new challenges that can be tackled by knowing your employees better than anyone else. How are you addressing the Age of the Employee within your organization?

 1CNN Money: There are now more job openings than workers to fill them

2Pew Research Center

3CareerBuilder survey

4MBO Partners: Digital Nomadism: A Rising Trend

5McKinsey & Company: Attracting and Retaining the Right Talent

6Gallup: State of the American Workplace

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About the Author

Julie is an executive with a proven track record for brand building and team building. She is skilled at leveraging disparate resources to unlock new insights and create human-centric strategies. She has held several client service roles in her career and is adept at working collaboratively to set clear goals and deliver on expectations.

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