Earlier this month, Jim wrote a post for this blog on Seattle’s “secure scheduling law,” aimed at creating more predictable hours at the cost of flexibility that some desire from those jobs. Then, there was this short piece on Inc., describing one startup’s move to eliminate hours tracking in favor of greater flexibility and a focus on results. According to the post, it’s a strategy with some positive results for major retailers as well.
It is interesting to see the divergence of solutions that address the same fundamental question: how can we improve employees’ experiences of work?
In practical terms, that question means meeting the unique expectations of workers while encouraging greater performance and meeting the needs of the business. No small feat given the rising pressures in today’s fast-moving environment.
It will take some time to know what type of approach will ultimately be successful, but there are some practices that are sure to play an important role.
The truth is the employee expectations-experience relationship will never be homogenous across the workforce or even among teams. Some employees will want more stability from their schedules and some greater flexibility to manage their own unique set of work and life responsibilities.
Approaches that emphasize individual voice and empowerment, as well as the option for flexibility, seem to be well-suited to meet a diverse range of expectations like that, while also encouraging employees to find efficient ways of working that fit their own personal style and preferences.
Organizations will also need to emphasize practices that replace the diminishing role of structure and hierarchy. Instead of formal processes, the role of continuous conversations around feedback, recognition, and coaching will become increasingly important. The startup’s CEO from the post above reaffirms that point:
We're not saying any of this is easy. Nor should it be. It requires over-communicating feedback, setting specific goals that are measurable, and vetting new team members that you trust will thrive.
Public policy will also need to evolve, to give organizations the flexibility to provide a positive employee experience rather than mandate a specific practice at the expense of another.
Perhaps a part of that evolution is legislation that can shift from metrics that have traditionally defined the work experience (such as hours worked) to metrics that more accurately capture a flexible and modern experience. We may not be there yet, but I feel that we may also not be that far off from such a possibility.
What are your thoughts on meeting the expectations that employees have of their work experiences?
As Globoforce’s Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting, Derek Irvine is an internationally minded management professional with over 20 years of experience helping global companies set a higher ambition for global strategic employee recognition, leading workshops, strategy meetings and industry sessions around the world. He is the co-author of "The Power of Thanks" and his articles on fostering and managing a culture of appreciation through strategic recognition have been published in Businessweek, Workspan and HR Management. Derek splits his time between Dublin and Boston. Follow Derek on Twitter at @DerekIrvine.