Employment and Jobs

Summer Workplace Jammin’: Less Strobe Lights & More Dance Partners

June 18, 2024  • Chris Trout

Picture the scene: a beautiful summer night, everyone gathered for a great concert. The band comes on, lights blaze, pyro erupts – the crowd goes wild! But as the show continues, a sense of detachment sets in. The performance becomes more about the technology and less about the music and people sharing the experience. In short, a high-tech show that misses on genuine connection. It’s a similar feeling to a workplace filled with flashy HR tech, but don’t work on creating genuine connection and engagement. This disconnect becomes even more concerning when we consider recent surveys showing just 30% of the workforce feeling engaged, and over 50% report feelings of loneliness.

People Before Platforms

The potential of workforce technology is immense, and more advancements are on the horizon. The latest Bersin Talent Intelligence report highlights the promise of new Talent Intelligence Systems, which can help identify and close skill gaps. This advancement drives moves like Cornerstone’s recent purchase of SkyHive. Companies creating these systems tout their potential to transform everything, and business executives love to hear this because it promises solutions to costly problems related to recruiting, turnover, and talent pipelines.

However, these complex challenges are as much about people and ingrained ways of working as they are about technology. The latest PwC CEO survey underscores important realities: 70% of CEOs believe AI will significantly change how their companies drive value, and over 50% acknowledge a lack of skills in their workforce, which inhibits their ability to capture this value.

If we focus solely on technology and its promise, we miss the very area it should benefit: people. This means the broader workforce, not just the C-suite. Effective technology integration begins with rethinking and aligning the people ecosystem. Research shows that companies struggle with skill approaches and career development options, not with a lack of fancy talent management systems.

When I led the roll out of a skills program to 90,000 employees, we centered and built it around people. Technology was a part of it; but so was investment in internal career coaches to help participants bridge what they were learning with their aspirations. Further still were the durable skills gained from the journey – resilience, problem solving, adaptability and more. All of these complemented technical skills being built in areas like Business, Technology, Organizational Leadership. With intention to people and technology, we were able to connect a very diverse group of people and their career aspirations and helped thousands to advance their careers.

Concertgoer forms heart shape with hands at beachside music festival, crowd enjoys live performance in sunset, love symbol gesture at summer event, youth celebration of art outdoor entertainment.

Plan The Setlist

To keep the human element at the forefront, consider the following:

  1. Grasp Current Realities: Strategic investment in technology requires clear-sighted conversations to identify roadblocks beyond technology. Understand how leaders are currently conversing with employees about their aspirations and needs. Gain first hand perspective to create true benefits for those who matter most—frontline employees and leaders – not just those writing the check.
  2. Invest in People: Ensure that development options exist for employees and leaders to grow their skills.
  3. Prioritize Key Areas: Avoid trying to revolutionize everything at once. Focus on key areas needing improvement before and during the introduction of technology.
  4. Establish Measurable Goals: Set initial success metrics focused on improving people practices. This includes identifying measures such as skills being gained and internal movement. Ensure that these are broadly communicated and used to track, recognize, and reward progress.
  5. Build Organizational Conduits: Redesign HR and adjust the business ecosystem to dismantle bureaucratic silos and cultural barriers, ensuring effective technology integration that builds human capabilities.
Making Memories

In the workplace, similar to a great show, the people are what bring the energy, and make it memorable. We should be investing in people and developing human skills with as much we invest in technology. Then technology becomes a powerful tool for business growth driven by human growth. This approach is the real game-changer, not the latest HR buzzword. And it’s the real recipe for a summer workplace jammin’ that lasts all year long.