Steve Tonks of WorkForce Software: employers must adapt

Employers need to cater to multi-generational workforces with differing outlooks on work and think about how to handle the deskless.

employee experience


Last week we published a news story about a state-of-play report by WorkForce Software, which argued the need for putting company culture and employee wellbeing at the heart of any business.

To reflect on some of the issues raised in the report, we spoke to Steve Tonks (pictured above), EVP EMEA at WorkForce Software.

Do you think these new paradigms are purely pandemic-related, or would they have happened anyway?

As life expectancy grows and retirement ages rise, for the first time in history five distinct generations now wake up the global workforce: Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z.

Each group has unique personal, professional, and occupational needs. Traditionalists often prefer manual processes, for example, and crave in-person interaction. Gen Z is so comfortable with technology they’ll use their smartphones to check the weather rather than look out of the window. So, understanding each generation’s working styles is key to improving your employees’ experience.

Management techniques must be adapted to cater to the needs of each working generation. This would have been inevitable with or without the pandemic.

What do you think most companies are currently getting wrong as regards what you discuss in the report?

From delivery drivers and care home workers to hospitality and retail associates, those in hourly paid, deskless roles are ubiquitous but often forgotten in discussions around workplace innovation and employee experience.

These employees form the backbone of many organisations, deliver vital services, and work on the frontline of customer service. More needs to be done to support their work-life balance and make them feel valued and engaged in the wider business- after all they are often the public face of your organisation. It all comes back to understanding how they experience you as an employer, and what you can be doing to improve that experience.

Creating a better employee experience can feel like trying to complete a giant puzzle without an idea of the picture you’re trying to create (and often with missing pieces). The first step in building this picture is to explore how your organisation is charting the experience journey from start to finish and what missing pieces are stopping you from moving forward.

This report is designed to show the bigger picture, and help you understand what employee experience success could look like for your organisation. Helping you to build your overarching strategy, it explores tools and tactics that are proven to support superior employee experiences. With this approach, organisations can bring their vision of a brilliant employee experience to life.

How do you see the next five years panning out as regards the issues discussed in the report?

Though deskless workers make up the majority of the world’s workforce, they receive less than one percent of an average company’s software spend. To boost worker productivity and wellbeing, we all need to amplify this figure in the next five years.

After all, digitisation has a huge impact on employee experience. 78% of deskless workers (most of which are tech-ready Millennials and Gen Z) now say the technology a company uses will ultimately influence whether they even decide to join. This is no wonder, with the right workplace tech making it easy for staff to check their schedule, request time off, monitor pay, bid for overtime, and far more. And it brings big benefits for us business leaders, too.

Capture workplace opinion through surveys. Store files, such as SOPs, so our employees can access all they need to do their best work. And even deliver training so staff have the chance to expand their knowledge on the job.

Ultimately, companies with tech-enabled deskless workers will enjoy a happier, more productive workforce.

Read more:

LinkedIn report urges companies to focus on changing culture

How to get the most out of your employees

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