As I have seen our company grow, I have been thinking a lot about the best way to serve its employees. One lesson that I have repeatedly learned is that people are very complex and different. I am continually taught new lessons about how what works for one person does not work for another. Every effort I have made to treat a group of different people the same way has backfired. I am slowly, but surely, beginning to respect the complexity of human beings.
So, as I got to reading about this topic, I realized that a lot of really smart people have thought much more about this than I have. I came across a really interesting book titled “Workforce of One” by Susan Cantrell and David Smith. I am pretty excited because a lot of ideas in it really resonate with me.
What is a Workforce of One about?
The core premise of Workforce of One is that you treat your workforce like your customer. For executives and leaders, your employees really are your customers. And just like we have been doing in e-commerce for years now, the key to success is to segment your customers so that you can provide a personalized experience that strives to give everyone what they really want.
There are six core trends that drive the need for customization for the talent management organization:
Ok, Ok, I get it. How do I customize my People practices?
There are four core ways that an organization can customize its people practices.
The core takeaway for me is that you really have to customize your approach to the dynamics of your workplace. A segmentation scheme that works in one organization may not work in another. Furthermore, you should only start thinking about this kind of personalization when your organization is above a certain size (I’d say it starts getting relevant at about 200). Finally. you have be sure that you are staying within the confines of the law, particularly if you are segmenting your workforce.
Why should I care?
Driving a customized approach to people practices is more critical today than ever. In today’s knowledge work economy, people really are your largest asset. If other companies start to offer these kinds of customized benefits, you are already one step behind. As your organization grows, you will find that a one-size-fits-all strategy simply won’t be good enough. (That’s what I am learning more about every single day.)