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Jun 1, 2015

Is your organization skilled at creating a customized employee experience?

Are your managers skilled at tailoring their management approach and communication style to address each employee’s unique engagement “recipe”?

If you want your organization to have a chance in the talent war and survive in the marketplace of the future, your answer to these two questions needs to be a confident “Yes,” according to research coming out of the Hay Group.

Treating employees as individuals

According to their research, published in Leadership 2030: The Six Megatrends You Need to Understand to Lead Your Company into the Future, individualization – the demand by individuals to be treated as such in the workplace — is one of the most powerful megatrends shaping the labor market and workplace in the coming years.

Co-author Georg Vielmetter summarizes the source and impact of the “individualism and value pluralism” megatrend this way:

Under globalization 2.0, millions of people will discover a wider range of life and career options. And they will have the freedom to make decisions based on values, not economics. This will transform their motives as employees and consumers. Lifestyle, recognition, self-expression and ethics will take priority over price, pay and promotion. Organizations should no longer expect loyalty.

Firms will need to get closer to their markets and workforces than ever before. They must understand every worker and customer as an individual, or lose out on talent and business.

Agile organizations will seize on local market opportunities and the growing demand for customized offerings. Smart employers will design ways of working to suit individuals, not the organization. This will demand more flexible, less centralized and flatter structures.”

Employer takeaways

What does this mean to you as an employer?

It means the following:

1. Everybody in leadership and HR needs to have a working knowledge of key drivers of employee engagement and the fundamental human needs that a work experience must satisfy. This is just gets you into the game. Consider it the entrance fee.

Everybody in leadership and HR also needs to understand the different “engagement needs and driver recipes” for each profession and demographic. For instance, production workers will have a different recipe than will R&D scientists. Millennials will have a distinct recipe, as will Gen Xers and Boomers. This means segmenting your workforce and taking steps to understand each segment.

Beyond this, individuals will all have their own personal recipes. Jim may be interested in frequent challenge that stretches him, while Andrea wants to be involved in high-impact projects that are visible to senior management. This level of discernment and precision will allow you to address each employee’s unique engagement recipe, so that you not only have more engaged employees, but also employees who can generate far greater economic value to their employer. By individualizing the employee experience you deliver, you also create a powerful Employer Brand that spans demographic variations.

2. Managers need to understand that customizing an employee experience is not about indulging entitled workers. It is about recognizing that different approaches work for different people. It’s about recognizing that different people have unique motivators and a single approach doesn’t work for everybody. Customizing the employee experience reflects the same intelligence shown by companies known for providing great customer service. If you customize the customer experience, you are more likely to have a happy, loyal customer.

People raised in a culture of consumer customization — think Amazon, iTunes, and Starbucks — understandably expect it from their managers. If you want happy, loyal customers, or happy, productive, loyal employees, why wouldn’t you?

3. Managers need to develop the communication skills that enable them to have customized engagement conversations with their employees. These two articles will help get the process started:

If you hope to capitalize on the megatrend of individualization and not lose the talent ware to your competitors, the time to start is now.

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