Share with your friends

Replace the cookie cutter approach and manage staff as a workforce of one

Replace the cookie cutter approach

By Sara Boulet, KPMG in Canada

Robert Bolton

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

KPMG in the UK


Related content

CN Tower

The HR function’s traditional ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to dealing with and managing employees is a thing of the past in the digital economy. I believe employers and HR leaders need to begin focusing – without further delay – on transforming their workplace cultures and individual employee experiences to remain truly competitive and successful in the emerging new era. 

How best to accomplish that? In my view, it’s a case of employers managing their employees as ‘a workforce of one.’

Your success today as a modern employer – in terms of attracting, developing and retaining top talent and crucial new digital skills – is largely defined by what you can provide to each employee to ensure they are adding value both to the organization and to their own lives as satisfied, productive, loyal employees.

We spend a huge portion of our lives with the organizations that employ us. Identifying, understanding and responding to each employee’s unique needs and expectations for success, engagement and continued growth should be a priority today for every employer. It’s the way forward with a global workforce that’s more diverse, informed and technologically enabled than ever before. Yet, it’s clear to me that while the need for change in this direction is inevitable, employers are not moving as quickly as they should to reshape their approach and redefine HR and the workplace.  

To be fair, there’s still plenty of uncertainly out there among employers facing unprecedented challenges as the endless wave of emerging technologies and capabilities dramatically transform their environments and the rules for success. I think businesses are, as a result, being quite cautious about what their next step should be to remain competitive. They may be painfully aware of the pressing need to change – but they don’t want to risk making the wrong move as they look to the future and the new investments and resources it will require of them. But there’s no time to lose.

How can employers and HR leaders begin managing their employees as ‘a workforce of one?’ Start by understanding that employees in today’s mobile digital world value autonomy and a personalized experience. That’s particularly true of younger workers who are digital natives. But I think it’s safe to say they we all have high expectations and unique preferences when it comes using technology to our advantage – whether in the home or on the job.

The future of HR, therefore, includes tailored, engaging, consumer-like employee experiences that are designed to support staff recruiting, retention, productivity and development. Employers should never lose sight of the reality that the digital economy’s workforce should be managed as a workforce of one.


This blog series features consultants from KPMG’s People & Change global network and is part of our 2019 Future of HR global report – In the Know or in the No. Sara Boulet is a consultant in the People & Change practice at KPMG in Canada.

Connect with us


Want to do business with KPMG?


loading image Request for proposal