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Put your employees at the center of everything you do

Put your employees at the center of everything you do

By Stephanie Lofting, KPMG Australia

Robert Bolton

Head of Global People & Change Center of Excellence, KPMG International; Partner

KPMG in the UK


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People today are globally aware, socially connected and technologically mobile as never before thanks to an endless array of technology that’s transforming the way we live and work. It should come as no surprise to employers, therefore, that today’s employees expect the same modern, digital-age experience they’re having outside the workplace to exist inside the workplace as well. 

Unfortunately, many employers today appear slow off the mark in responding to this reality and the result is a lack of significant focus on modernizing the employee experience for future success. The problem? It begins, I believe, with employers in many cases failing to realize that the most-valuable asset in their organization is their employees. 

Companies that ‘get it,’ on the other hand, are well on their way to implementing strategic, holistic change initiatives aimed at creating a truly modern employee experience. These companies – today’s relatively few trailblazers on HR transformation – are identifying and responding intelligently to the individual needs and expectations of each diverse employee. They are eliminating the fragmentation of services and duplication of effort so common in the traditional workplace. And they are maximizing employee productivity and satisfaction – and eliminating employee frustration – by minimizing workflow that’s dedicated to time-consuming and less-productive administrative tasks. 

Unfortunately, we are seeing slow progress toward change amid confusion, or a lack of confidence, or simply a risky wait-and-see approach to reshaping the HR function and workplace culture. My view is that employers should recognize by now what is obvious to leaders on the change curve – and that’s the imminent need to drive transformational change that’s inevitable in the digital economy.

If not sitting idle, some organizations are implementing narrow, siloed initiatives instead of bold change strategies. The result? Their efforts to ‘transform’ the employee experience is fragmented. Beyond that, these half-hearted initiatives ultimately send the wrong message to today’s informed employees. The message? Your employer doesn’t care about investing in technology and new capabilities to engage employees and position the organization for future success.

I would add that treating employees as your most-valuable asset implies not just the need to create modern workplace cultures but also the need to fill those modern cultures with the top talent and skills that will define success in the digital era.

Unprecedented advantages are emerging through data and analytics, automation, artificial intelligence, predictive capabilities and much more. But for the HR function and their organizations to truly ‘go digital’ in this exciting environment, employers really need to make the investment in talent that will allow them to actually maximize their use of digital capabilities. Unfortunately, we continue to see many firms generating a wealth of timely data and potential business insights that no one knows what to do with.

Again, it comes back to investing in people as your most-valuable asset. Businesses everywhere are doing their best today to delight and engage customers. They need to do the same for employees the moment they walk in the door. Have a deep-seated understanding and appreciation of the need to place your employees at the heart of everything you do. They are your number one asset!


This blog series features consultants from KPMG’s People & Change global network and is part of our 2019 Future of HR global campaign – In the Know or in the No. Stephanie Lofting is an associate director in the People & Change practice at KPMG Australia.

© 2020 KPMG LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership and the U.S. member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”) is a Swiss entity. Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm.

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