The empowered employee: how to put the next generation to work

On March 24 we were happy to welcome over 70 attendees at Alfons Groot-Bijgaarden for our first live event in more than two years. And whether the world of work has changed since our workplace 2.0 edition! To get our audience up to speed on the challenges of today’s modern workplace, we gathered six industry experts each diving into one of the secret ingredients of offering an outstanding employee experience. A small recap.

Talk about a flying start! Dieter De Pauw, director B2B corporate sales at Orange, and Ulrik Van Schepdael, CEO and founder of mobco, set the scene with an introduction on the challenges in today’s modern workplace. 

A few years ago, there were not enough people to fill in all open positions on the labor market. The pandemic briefly overshadowed this issue, but today the shortage is more apparent than ever. For a lot of companies, it’s all hands-on deck to fill in their open positions. But as applicants have many options to choose from, they tend to seek out greener places when the company cannot meet all of their needs. Those who wish to remain attractive on today’s talent-scarce market must develop a customized work environment that prioritizes choice and flexibility. And let technology be key here. 

Connecting with employees in today’s modern workplace

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Next, we welcomed Rien Vanyzere, employee experience guru at SBS Skill BuilderS, on stage. If you’re a football fan, you might have already seen him passing by on television. But let’s not deviate too much, after all we’re here to dive into the psychological aspect of choice.

The nature of work has been changing through the impact of technological change, social transformation, the green transition and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic. As companies emerging from the pandemic take stock of the lessons learned, six main challenges are to be tackled: talent scarcity, talent retention, green transition, leadership/transparency and accountability, inclusiveness, and digital transformation. Speaking of a challenge as no less than four of these defiances are to be overcome by Human Resources. Challenges that can be summarized as the war for talent.

To attract and retain top talent, businesses tend to heavily invest in fulfilling extrinsic needs such as safety needs and psychological needs. Much needed, but those who really want to succeed must not lose sight of intrinsic needs as love, belonging, esteem and self-actualization. To engage the empowered employee, one must motivate actions and behaviors that make employees feel in control of their own behavior and goals, enable them to sharpen their competences and make them feel connected by creating a sense of belonging. In doing so, praise, recognition, flexibility, incentives, and purpose are key. 

Taking another look at flexible benefits, trends of 2022

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Now, let’s talk money with Olivier Vanneste, Head of People Services at KPMG. With a master in fiscality and law, and a degree in compensation and benefits management in his pocket, it’s safe to say that Olivier is an absolute reference when it comes to flexible rewards. 

The pandemic brought flexibility into the mainstream. As top talent can choose among potential employers, companies increasingly need to differentiate themselves by providing flexibility and choice. A challenge Olivier believes can be tackled by introducing a flexible reward package that gives them a say in the devices used for work, how they want to spend their training budget, how they want their bonussed to be paid out and how they want to fill in their mobility package. 

It’s no longer a secret that in today’s modern workplace employees want to have a say in when, where and how they work, an evolution Olivier also identifies as clearly noticeable in the compensation strategies of 2022. For instance, in mobility, the partial return to the workplace results in different mobility choices for the employee. Instead of a car policy, companies must develop a future-proof mobility policy that provides choice in the means of transportations used to get to work. The employee should be given the choice to, for example, lease an electric car or bike or use public transportation through a mobility budget. Who wants to go an extra mile can even introduce incentives to those using alternative mobility solutions.

Besides, this working from anywhere world has created new (mental) health challenges for employees. Therefore, it might be wise to provide tools to reinforce their well-being in your flex rewards plan. Not only (ergonomic) home workplace tools, but extra vacation days and insurances might do the trick.

How technology can help you become an employer of choice

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Next up was Kristof Rutten, Senior Systems Engineer at Apple – also known as the Apple bible of the BeLux region – who dove into how offering choice in the devices used for work, might unleash your employees’ full potential. Let’s dive into an example.

SAP, the market leader in enterprise application software, is constantly innovating and believes in motivating its people on an individual level – and that includes giving them a choice in the tools used for work. Since SAP launched its Mac as Choice program, more than one third of its employees has chosen a Mac.

Not only a personal, but a powerful choice too. Why? Ever since the introduction of the M1 chip in the MacBook gamma, employees have lauded its incredible impact on battery life and performance. On top, the devices are easily integratable into the existing IT infrastructure and work seamlessly together with other products from the Apple ecosystem. Icing on the cake? Having introduced Mac into its ecosystem, puts SAP in the driving seat in the competitive hiring market as new recruits want to use the tools they are familiar with and enjoy working on.

The key take away? The more choice your business is offering, the bigger the chance of hiring and retaining the best talent out there.

How to provide a flexible and attractive proposition to your employee

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By now, you’ve read all about why it’s important to provide flexibility and choice, but how you, as an employer, can enable more choice without it resulting in a heavy administrative burden, might still be a mystery. To bring it all together, Ulrik Van Schepdael and Frederik Bouckaert, Senior Product Manager Enterprise Mobility Solutions at Orange Belgium, dove deeper into some of the key features of the Hardware Comfort portal.  

Back in February 2022, Orange and mobco launched Hardware Comfort – the first fully integrated modern workplace management solution on the Belgian market. The platform aims at empowering employees with self-service actions in the life cycle of the modern workplace. From ordering devices and SIM cards over registering devices in a corporate infrastructure to changing mobile subscription options, Hardware Comfort enables it all. 

To provide maximum flexibility, the platform also offers the possibility of integrating with a flex reward plan. Initiating such a plan is usually very time-consuming and comes with a heavy administrative burden, but with Hardware Comfort, all administration is bundled in one tool and all workplace assets are being automated, making it easier than ever to offer the right benefits at the right time. 

On top, mobco vouches for the configuration, delivery, management, security and repair of all chosen workplace assets, freeing up the time of your IT team to focus on what really matters. Cheers to technology! 

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