(Editor’s Note: Today’s article is brought to you by our friends at Kronos, a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Managing your workforce just got a lot smarter with Workforce Dimensions, a solution designed to provide both a world-class employee experience and unprecedented levels of operational insight. Enjoy the article!)
In this series about the future of work, we’ve talked about how employees want to work smarter through the use of chatbots that can personalize responses (like “What’s my schedule next week?”) and work in the modern cloud to learn about an opportunity to pick up an open shift. There’s one more piece to this future of work series and it has to do with everyday interactions. Because when it comes to communication, employees want to “work their own way”.
So, what does it mean for employees to “work their own way”? It starts with giving employees excellent tools – like technology – that’s able to help them get the work done. Honestly, on some level, that’s the easy part. Then, it means for management to trust employees and get out of the way so they can get the job done. I believe that’s the hard part.
The Future of Work
Organizations that allow employees to “work their own way” aren’t promoting workplace anarchy. They’re still responsible for setting expectations, providing training, coaching performance, and giving employees timely information. The purpose of allowing employees to “work their own way” is to help employees make their work lives easier and more productive using modern technology tools. Because if organizations can make the day-to-day stuff employees have to do less cumbersome, then employees can focus on the real work. You know, the big goals that are going to keep the organization competitive. Which is work employees want to spend their time on and what the business ultimately wants. Here are a couple of practical examples:
Example #1: Allow employees to access work-related information where they already spend a lot of time.
During a future of work presentation at KronosWorks, I heard that by the year 2020, 25% of internet users will be mobile only. Mobile is no longer a nice to have. It’s a need to have business strategy. And what do people do on their mobile devices? Check Facebook.
Workplace by Facebook allows organizations to send messages like company announcements, recognition, learning/training, etc. through an employee’s newsfeed. It also gives employees the ability to collaborate in terms of sharing content, conducting polls and surveys, and participate in work chats.
Workforce Dimensions from Kronos can be accessed from within Workplace by Facebook. This partnership allows employees to work their own way by picking up extra shifts, requesting time off through a chatbot, or making a shift trade all within the business version of the social network that they use regularly. No more using multiple apps to coordinate schedules and collaborate on projects. Kronos has a similar partnership with Microsoft Teams, another popular enterprise collaboration platform.
Example #2: Allowing employees immediate access to earned wages
Did you know that 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck? According to a survey from BankRate, 29% of Americans have more credit card debt than they do emergency savings.
You can see where I’m going with this one. I’ve read all the same reports you have that money isn’t a primary motivator, and that might very well be true. But money still matters. And somedays, money matters a lot – when a family member has to go to the emergency room or when the ‘good’ car needs repair. Even what may seem like a good situation on the surface, like the opportunity to pick up an extra shift at a time-and-a-half pay rate, can be stressful if there isn’t enough cash tucked away to pay for a sitter for a few hours. Workforce Dimensions has partnered with several organizations like Even, Branch, FinFit, PayActiv, SalaryFinance, WageStream, and Hastee that provide financial wellness and earned wage access, meaning that employees can work their own way can get paid on the same day.
For example, Walmart gives their employees access to an earned wage app as a benefit. Over 76% of employees use it weekly to help manage and budget their money. They can get paid on demand as well as set up an auto savings deduction. And according to Walmart, participation has helped to drive employee participation in the company 401(k) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
And while the concepts of financial literacy and wellness aren’t entirely new, what I like about Workforce Dimensions is how they’ve taken it to the next level by integrating financial wellness with timekeeping. It seems logical to me that connecting earned wage access directly to timekeeping could simplify program administration for companies. If organizations can create a way to reduce an employee’s financial stress off the clock, in theory, will allow them to be fully present at work while they are on the clock.
Employees Want to Own Their Careers … And Work Their Own Way
What I love about these two examples is that they put the employee in control of their work life. Just the simple notion of being able to request time off in real time without waiting weeks for an approval, or to swap out of a shift at the last minute without having to jump through hoops to find a replacement and inform the manager, goes a long way to employees.
While everyone wants to be able to disconnect from work, the notion of “work is work, home is home, and the two shall never meet” is an antiquated concept. Employees don’t want separate phones, apps, and multiple systems to do the simple stuff. They want to have control over their personal and professional lives. That includes having greater control over their finances, regardless of how much money they make.
Bottom-line: Organizations can’t tell employees that they need to “own their careers” without giving them the proper tools. Owning your career is about more than simply training. It’s about being able to get work done the way that works best for you.
P.S. If you want to learn more about the Workforce Dimensions solution and how it can help your organizations and employees work smarter (and I know you do), visit the Kronos website and request a demo. Organizations that start using artificial intelligence and analytics to manage their workforce will have the clear advantage in the war for talent. That’s the real future of work. The organization wins through reduced administration, more effective scheduling and staffing, and better employee knowledge and skills.15