We put employee experience and workplace flexibility at the center of that future, so it’s no surprise that the stories I explore below are all about EX and flexibility. Let’s get started!
1. NPR’s Fresh Air: Bad Employee Experiences (EX) Disrupt Global Supply Chain
Since the pandemic began, the global supply chain has faced numerous disruptions that have impacted the world economy, creating shortages of products such as computer chips, cars, toilet paper, cream cheese, and more.
These disruptions haven’t been caused by any technical difficulties with ships, planes, trains, trucks, or ports, but have resulted from bad employee experiences/EXs within the logistics industry, as NPR recently highlighted.
Author Christopher Mims, whose book Arriving Today delves into the global supply chain, discussed the EX problem on National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air.” Truckers, for example, work long hours under horrible working conditions for little pay, as do ships’ crews, port workers, Amazon warehouse workers, and many more.
The results of these bad EXs? Mims noted that attrition rates (employees quitting per year) is over 100% for Amazon warehouse employees, and the situation is even more dire in the trucking industry, where only 1 out of 4 licensed truckers even wants to work in the industry:
“We don't have so much a shortage of long-haul truck drivers in the United States as we have a burnout and retention problem,” Mims told NPR, “many people tried that job and said, "This isn't for me."
Global supply chains have long prioritized efficiency in technology and processes/workflows, says Mims, but the system has broken down because people need to be “deployed” and “utilized” differently than robots, automation, and business processes. Employee experience has been given little to no consideration, and there’s been a price to pay – or as Mims explains it:
“Supply chains are really made out of people. As much automation as there is in there, if you don't have the people to run all of that automation and to work alongside it, you cannot move those goods quickly enough or in sufficient quantities.”
The takeaway is clear: No ecosystem or industry that involves human beings (and nearly all ecosystems involve a mixture of technologies, processes/workflows, and people) can be made maximally efficient or productive without a good employee experience that engages the hearts and minds of human beings.
2. Visa, Starbucks, and LinkedIn: New EX Roles Shaping the Future of Work
New EX roles within global companies are clear signals of a business shift towards prioritizing employee experience.
We’ve explored these emerging EX job roles in a previous Robin blog post. Robin’s Product Marketing Manager Brendan O’Neil recently sent me the following job listings at multiple companies that reflect the EX trend (thanks Brendan!):
- Visa (London office): Workplace Experience Director. This role will have “ownership over the workplace experience strategy AND the [employee] satisfaction analysis The role holder will ensure that as we Return To Office . . . our colleagues’ experience of facilities services is measured and continuously improved.”
- LinkedIn (California): Workplace Experimentation Program Manager. With the introduction of hybrid work, and the increase of remote work, the Workplace Team has developed new workplace solutions to support the needs of our employees. To test new solutions and innovative ideas, LinkedIn has developed a global workplace experimentation program.
- Starbucks (Seattle), Manager of UX Design Employee Digital Products. Be part of our evolving Digital Transformation and bring the workplace of the future to our [employees]! Starbucks is seeking a Manager of UX Digital Product Design to lead our growing team of talented UX Designers. Come reimagine and perfect our productivity & collaboration digital products across our three platforms: iOS, Android, and the Web.
3. New York Times: No More Working for Jerks!
The New York Times recently published an article called “No More Working for Jerks!” confirming what employees and HR professionals have known forever: workers generally don’t leave a job or a company, they often escape a (bad) manager who’s making their work-life miserable.
While “jerk managers” were definitely a pre-pandemic thing, the Times explains that the pandemic has diminished employee tolerance for them: “people’s work routines have been upended by the pandemic, they’ve begun to question the thrum of unpleasantness and accumulation of indignities they used to shrug off as part of the office deal. Some are saying: no more working for jerks.”
A record number of employees have been resigning, according to the article, with many gleefully “turning to social media to celebrate their move -- "QuitTok — with its posts featuring Destiny’s Child’s Bills, Bills, Bills and Cardi B’s Money.
One prime example of the genre: A trio of women dance their way offscreen to text that reads: “the company would rather lose 3 reliable hard working employees than fix their toxic management.”
Thanks for reading Future of Work Wednesdays!
We’ll see you again in two weeks. We’re honored to partner with organizations like yours to provide the flexible tools and support you need to deliver a great EX for hybrid work!