The employee experience at the workplace was already going through epochal changes before the Covid-19 pandemic. Glorified overwork, prevalent cultures of presenteeism, politicized workplaces, underrepresentation of groups, rigid and archaic hierarchies, and thriving inequality were all being recognized as harmful deterrents to building a good workplace culture. When the pandemic hit, it upended work as we knew it, bringing into sharp focus the importance of engaged, productive, and healthy employees in contributing to the sustained and resilient growth of an organization. This in turn brought about a renewed focus on the need to care for and nurture the workforce, ushering in a new paradigm for the future of work – people-centric workplaces.
What is an employee-centric workplace?
An organization that fosters a people-centric culture values and treats its human capital as an asset. Such an organization commits to continuously improving its workforce’s everyday work experience, starting at diligently assessing existing culture, strategizing a vision for the future, taking inputs from all stakeholders, investing in tools, technology, and processes that will realize the vision into reality, and constantly innovating towards better practices.
Organizations that achieve people-centric cultures have normally been ones that prioritized creating better human experiences, recognizing that their people inherently want to be good at their jobs and the onus lies on management to create conducive environments in which people can thrive. In this environment there is a genuine commitment to learning, development, empowering teams to do great work, promoting diversity, and a strong focus on employee well-being.
What does employee-centric mean in the future of work?
In the modern workplace, employee-centric design and activity are intentional and deeply embedded in the fabric of the culture of an organization. As the nature of the workplace evolves into more remote and hybrid workplaces, people-centricity will become a defining feature of organizations that are equipped for the future of work.
In the post-pandemic world, as companies prepare to build the modern workplace, on one hand, employees are increasingly skeptical about returning to the physical workplace. On the other hand, both leaders and employees have adapted and succeeded in implementing remote work, displaying remarkable productivity and growth. These factors gave rise to the idea of the hybrid workplace, where employees opt for the flexibility to choose where they work from. Work, in itself, has been redefined as tasks that get done, rather than being viewed through the lens of when, how, or from where a person gets jobs done. This paradigm shift in thought-process will define the future of work, where tasks can be completed irrespective of employees being in an office or a cafe or on their couches.
To facilitate this location-agnosticism, companies should transform their digital infrastructure and the processes that run their workflows where successful transformations will be characterized by their focus on the people as protagonists and the IT processes as supporting actors.
Alongside developing flexible working environments, leaders and managers should also focus on assuring their workforce of job security in the new normal. Particularly in remote and hybrid teams, where some, most, or all employees will work in distributed locations, management must ensure that their people feel supported, recognized, and assured of growth and importance within their teams.