3 “Simple” Business Decisions That Impact The Future Of Your Employees’ Work

March 1, 2015

Decision making and running a business are synonymous no matter your role, the size of your company, or industry in which you compete. Some decisions can be as difficult as determining whether the timing is right to enter a new market. Others can appear to be simplistic in nature; however, they deserve more of your attention than you think.decision making


It can be easy to quickly judge, address, and dismiss issues such as employee engagement, continuous learning initiatives, or the office layout and décor. But, don’t be fooled by the so-called “simplicity” of those decisions. In the Future of Work, these decisions can actually have a direct impact on the long-term health of your business.


Employee engagement: Are you giving employees a reason to stay and grow?


For the past couple of years, the term “employee engagement” has been a hot topic not only with CHROs, but also CEOs.


According to the latest “Workforce 2020” research from Oxford Economics, sponsored by SAP, leaders are finding that a tempting compensation package alone is not enough to inspire their talent to join the company and stay. In addition to being compensated well for their time, employees want to break free from the restrictions of a traditional work arrangement to better integrate their professional and personal lives. Plus, they want the opportunity to learn how they want and when they want about topics that are meaningful to their responsibilities and ambitions.


If companies deliver on these expectations, employees are more likely to be engaged, loyal, and full of positive energy. And when employees are engaged and motivated to give their level best every day, they become invested in the success of the overall business.


Continuous learning: Is it education or your competitive edge?


In this day and age, it’s nearly impossible to keep pace with the evolution of technology and how they are applied to work. As a result, continuous learning has become powerful in the quest for building the workforce of the future. But it only works if both sides of the learning equation are considered: formal learning and experiential learning.


Workshops, classes, seminars, and Web-based learning are all great in their own right. However, if employees do not put that new-found knowledge into practice, they will quickly forget it and keep moving along as before. For example, Oxford Economics reports that only 42 percent of employees know how to extract meaningful insights from the data made available to them, while only 47 percent believe their company fosters a culture of continuous learning.


By integrating informal, experiential learning, many companies are moving toward more concise, informative training formats. This type of learning may come in the form of mentoring, coaching, action-based learning, shadow assignments, and access to educational resources presented in a way that mimics our favorite social channels such as YouTube and Facebook. And while employees feel more empowered and invested with this learning experience, they are really helping the company become more successful.


Your office workspace: Do your employees want to work there?


Look around, does your office look like it did 10 years ago? Most likely not. If fact, most of us may not even be physically in the office!


For years, I worked in a cubicle fishbowl. Even though I had “walls” around me, there was always someone looking over me, peeking in my plexus-glass window, or just barging through my invisible door. In fact, I met my husband because he literally walked into one of my so-called walls! There was no protection from distraction. But it was my space with my pictures and knick-knacks.


Now, companies are disassembling the notion of walls and cubicles in the hopes of increasing collaboration, generating continuous innovation, and heightening engagement. Unfortunately, this approach does have the potential to backfire. In the article “Workforce of the Future”, Emily He, chief marketing officer of Saba Software, observes that “employees may spend more time collaborating than ever before, but this constant discussion will inevitably delay the end result. Such environments have already chased some employees back to their home offices in an effort to complete high-focus tasks, thereby reducing engagement and collaboration – the exact opposite of the open office’s intent.”


What do you think? Are there any other business decisions that could impact the success of your workforce now and in the future?

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