• Robert Bloom

Employee experience and Design Thinking – building the workforce of the future


Is the current skill sets inappropriate for the adaptive, agile changing nature of work?

Is your organisation misfiring? Or worse, backfiring?

Is there evidence of silo mentality and non-collaborative behaviour?

Are staff misaligned with the organisation mission and purpose?


If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, most likely, something should be done about it. Read on to learn more about influencing factors and potential strategies to build the work force of the future.


The world of work is transforming with new technologies and industries changing the landscape and affecting how work is being conducted. The fourth industrial revolution is a reality now. This affects how managers, from Human Resources to Line Managers, work together in collaborative groups.


Research last year (2018) from the Mckinsey Global Institute, has pointed towards automation and artificial intelligence (AI) as key drivers in changing the nature of work.


5 influencing trends affecting the world of work:


  1. Automation will accelerate the shift in required workforce skills we have seen over the past 15 years

  2. Some skill categories will be less in demand. Basic cognitive skills, which include basic data input and processing, will decline by 15 percent, falling to 14 percent of hours worked, from 18 percent.

  3. Companies will need to make significant organizational changes at the same time as addressing these skill shifts to stay competitive. A survey of more than 3,000 business leaders in seven countries highlights a new emphasis on continuous learning for workers, and a shift to more cross-functional and team-based work.

  4. Competition for high-skill workers will increase, while displacement will be concentrated mainly on low-skill workers

  5. Almost half of the companies surveyed say they expect to take the lead in building the workforce of the future, but all stakeholders will need to work together to manage the large-scale retraining and other transition challenges ahead.


The McKinsey Global report goes on to mention that a huge shift in Social and Emotional skills, as well as technology skills, will be required. On the Social and Emotional skills side, advanced negotiation skills, interpersonal skills and empathy and entrepreneurship and initiative taking are key skills that staff will need to develop and improve.


And so, the question arises: So what? How might this affect your work place and your current resource planning and staff experience strategies? How to ensure that current staff are appropriately upskilled? How might future recruits be onboarded and current employees upskilled with the appropriate experiences and employee engagement strategies?


So what is employee experience?


With the backdrop of Artificial Intelligence eliminating most basic functions and some higher cognitive functions, Employee Experience is one of the differentiators that will influence the war on talent. Employees who have great work experiences from onboarding through to retirement will lead to more engaged employees and brand advocates. Building an organisation of happy employees aligned with the organisations “reason for being” is a pre-requisite to delighted customers.


Employee experience encapsulates what people encounter, observe or feel over the course of their employee journey at an organization. Designing an improved employee experience involves defining key staff journey elements and identifying the complimentary structures that will support preferred outcomes. Given that significant time and resources are spent on hiring new staff, and training and developing curre