My team and I recently attended INBOUND, the mother of all marketing conferences, sponsored by HubSpot.
Addressing a crowd of over 26,000 people, HubSpot co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan spoke about the “experience disruptors” rapidly changing the business world and customer expectations. They’re also changing the workplace experience.
Halligan defines ‘experience disruptors’ as companies with a frictionless, customer-focused experience.
Here are three of the most significant disruptions and what they’ll mean for workplace experience managers.
3 Disruptions Transforming The Workplace Experience
1. A Focus on Experience Market Fit Over Product Market Fit
The experience of buying a car has largely stayed the same for generations. While we have the benefit of researching our options online, most of us still visit a dealership when it’s time to buy—just like our parents and grandparents did. We still have to negotiate with a dealer, sift through a large stack of documents and drive away hoping we made the right decision. But our kids probably won’t buy their first cars the same way.
Carvana has transformed the buying experience to take dealerships and salesmen out of the equation entirely. You can browse a selection of cars online, finance a purchase and sign your paperwork in as little as 10 minutes. Then you can have your vehicle delivered or pick it up at one of their car “vending machines.” Meanwhile, the company handles registration, insurance and everything else you need to resolve before you drive away.
“They’ve taken out the cringeworthy part of buying a car and made it awesome,” Halligan said. “How they sell is why they win.”
What This Means For The Workplace Experience: Companies like Carvana are disrupting the workplace as much as they’re disrupting the buying experience.
They may be eliminating dealerships and traditional salespeople, but they’re still hiring in droves. They need automotive technicians, fleet operators, software developers, brand ambassadors and car vending machine operators. Many of their positions are distributed across the country, rather than in one location. Rather than working at a single office every day, many of their employees travel frequently between locations or work remotely. They may have dozens of team members they’ve never met in person.
And when they travel, they need to be able to locate team members quickly, find a place to collaborate with them and be notified about important announcements while they’re on the go.
2. A Desire To Eliminate Friction
Just as Carvana is transforming the car-buying experience, Halligan said, other successful companies are reinventing the process of buying software. They’re ditching lengthy contract negotiations with painful terms and conditions in favor of faster, more customer-friendly deals.
What This Means For The Workplace Experience: To make deals happen faster, teams need to work closely together. The product development, operations, sales, marketing and customer service teams need to spend more time together to make sure everyone is aligned. They need to eliminate any barriers to collaboration. And in our experience working with large and mid-sized corporations, that can be as simple as making it easier to reserve a meeting room.
3. An Emphasis on Personalization
“The biggest disruptors are like ultramodern hospitality companies,” Halligan said. “Their background is in service. And the more we use their products, the better the experience gets.”
If you use Lyft, Spotify, WeWork, Amazon, Stitch Fix or Netflix, you already know this.
Rather than catering to a few narrow personas, these companies focus on creating a personalized experience for each individual. The more you listen to Spotify, the more your recommended playlists reflect your unique music preferences.
And their business model is tremendously successful. These companies continue to grow as some of their more established competitors languish.
What This Means For the Workplace Experience: The more we become accustomed to personalization in our everyday lives, the more we expect it in the workplace. Employers are recognizing a bland, one-size-fits-all approach to office design and technology in the workplace isn’t enough to keep employees coming back, especially when many of them can work from anywhere.
In response, they’re creating an agile work environment with a mix of private and collaborative spaces. They’re making it easier for employees to make service requests that make them more comfortable, whether it’s adjusting the temperature or adjusting the height of their desk.
Designing A Workplace Experience That Adapts To Disruption
In this era of disruption, change is one of the few certainties we can count on.
Rather than fighting against it, workplace experience managers must embrace it.
They may not know what’s coming next, but they can prepare for anything by designing a workplace that adapts to what Gartner refers to as “the continual next.”
Here are a few practical ways to do that:
- Adopt a cloud-first strategy that prioritizes software-as-a-service (SaaS) over on-premise platforms, which are expensive and time-consuming to update
- Integrate and simplify your workplace technology to improve the user experience for everyone
- Relentlessly eliminate friction with mobile apps that connect employees to the people, places and information they need to work smarter
- Mobilize your workforce with an agile work environment that supports remote employees, contract workers, and activity-based working
- Optimize the workplace experience using analytics and real-time data collected by IoT sensors
Disruption is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be scary. The possibilities are endless, and it’s incredibly exciting—as long as you’re prepared.