SCMP: Demand for better skills is making staff sweat.

Published in the South China Morning Post on Saturday 19th October 2013

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Emma Reynolds, CEO of e3 Reloaded, a creative agency specialising in employer branding and employee communications, believes businesses have to transform their relationship with their employees and treat them as they would their customers.

All too often, however, this is not the practise, she says. “We find that companies are often brilliant at communicating with their customers, brilliant at segmenting them and understanding who they are and what they want, brilliant at helping these customers to change their behaviour, but terrible at engaging their own employees,” she says. “Too often change is something being done to employees and they are not in control of it and they don’t feel part of it.”

 

Reynolds encourages employers to design their internal systems and processes from the same perspective as the best computer and smartphone companies design their products: with the end user always in mind. To do this, she believes businesses should ask themselves a number of questions to improve their employees’ ever-changing working lives.

“Are we harnessing the skills of our employees and tapping into their ability to collaborate, or are we just designing things in the boardroom for people around that table?” she asks. “Are we totally transparent internally? Are we transferring control from the organisation to the employee? Can they personalise their experiences? Are we designing things for our employees so it’s easier for them to do great work? Or is the user the last person we have in mind?”

The Randstad report shows that 93 per cent of those surveyed believe employers and employees are equally responsible for ensuring staff have the skills that their job requires. Reynolds echoes this sentiment. “Gone are the days when an employee joined a company and then sat back and said, ‘Right, I’ll be here for 30 years and it’s your responsibility to manage my career,’” she says.

She adds, though, that businesses should create a learning culture within which employees can be proactive and take responsibility for their development.