4 Ideas About What Human Resource Professionals Want From Operators

Dec. 7, 2017

Not long ago, I was invited to attend a webinar for human resource (HR) professionals about what really drives employee productivity. Because HR is the new decision maker for our industry's products and services (as we move away from it being the facilities manager), I decided it would be worthwhile to listen to the message HR is hearing and see how our industry could offer solutions. The webinar was titled "How To Build Employee Experiences That Really Drive Productivity" given by Paul Burrin, the vice president of Sage People, a global HR and people system. I learned a lot and took away 4 things that I think are truly important to the way our industry reaches out to HR.  

  1. Employee Experience is the new buzzword. There is a cycle called "The employee journey" that looks like a sideways figure eight. It's starts with the employee finding a job, applying, evaluating the company, joining the team, learning the role, contributing, growing professionally and personally, and then finding a job again as the person moves up in the organization. The combination of experiences on a day-to-day basis as the employee passes through this cycle is termed the "employee experience." The nature of these experiences will affect how engaged employees are and how they perform. Having a better employee experience is an economic argument, not a HR one, according to the research presented in the webinar. When employees report great workplace experiences, revenues increase two fold, revenue per employee triples and profit per employee quadruples. 
  2. Certain benefits work better than others. There was a time when businesses used gifts and the latest technology to woo great employees. However, now the latest technology innovations are often outward facing, focused more on the consumer experience. Today what is important to employees isn't this "stuff," but instead feeling valued and important for the effort and work they are doing. This can be as much about the space and food offerings onsite as it is about the internal management style. Workplace cafes, fancy micro markets, corporate lounges and even high-end vending machines can go a long way to making employees feel that a company cares about them and wants to reward their efforts.   
  3. Balancing a fluctuating workforce is a must. I call it transient rather than remote workforce or telecommuting, because it's about flexibility. It's about employees being in the office a few days a week, either on a standard schedule or as their job/duties require. This is important for HR managers when considering how best to elevate the employee experience (because employees want this type of flexibility), and it is equally important for vending, micro market and office coffee service operators who need to be able to find the right service offerings that allow for the ever-changing on-site employee number.  
  4. Human resource professionals need help. All businesses need good employees, but today many feel we are in the midst of a global skills crisis. Retiring Baby Boomers are leaving more positions to fill and the new generation has aspirations and skills that HR has to meet in order to compete in finding and keeping talent. Another problem is engagement. The webinar quoted that just one in three people at work are fully motivated and engaged. Productivity is stagnant. Disengaged employees cost the U.S. between $450 to $550 billion each year. The need to improve employee experience isn't going away.  

During the webinar, attendees (who were nearly all HR professionals) where asked if their C-suite executives were on board with improving the employee experience. Most, 33 percent, said they were, with 18 percent saying they were "very committed" to the idea. This is evidence that the move to provide a better employee experience is strong throughout the organization and will provide an opportunity for our industry in areas where we can help them achieve it.