Lead story - Employee experience deteriorates as organizations demand a return to the office - Stuart doesn't pull any punches in this review of recent
demoralizing data on the return-to-office. Particularly disconcerting: the gap between employees and their managers. Stuart cites a global study from the Future Forum, which found that 34% of knowledge workers are back in the office. But, and it's a big but:
Overall, the drive to get employees back in the building is having a highly negative impact on employee experience, with work-related stress and anxiety at its worst since June 2020 in every country, except France and Japan. Those who have been summoned back to the office aren’t happy, with 55% saying that they want to work flexibly at least part of the time.
The potential double standard makes it worse:
There’s an accusation of double standards at play with non-executive employees twice as likely to be told that they need to get back to their office desks than their executive bosses. The study found that 35% of non-executives surveyed are back to making the five-day-a-week commute, compared to only 19% of executives. Work/life balances among those non-executives is now rated 40% worse than their superiors, while their level of work-related stress is twice as high as that of their managers.
What do employees want? Flexibility, in both schedule and location:
"94% of respondents cite schedule flexibility as more important than location flexibility, although 79% are also looking for that."
As of right now, there appears to be a game of employment chicken going on, with each side calling the others' bluff. Will this standoff fuel a bigger wave - "Great Resignation, the sequel"? I'd like to believe that talent will vote with their feet, and employers with the most humane/inclusible/flexible models will win.
But I see problems with that (naively?) optimistic view. Perhaps only the top talent in an industry will have the flexibility to move until they get what they want. I'm not convinced the so-called "rank and file" will have enough employment mobility to compel employers to change.
Stuart raises another problem: do large-scale employers have an office agenda fueled by the expensive "skyscrapers" on their balance sheets? Buildings shouldn't get in the way of work futures, but it would be foolish to claim that financial footprint doesn't matter. I can see solutions involving shared/leasing space arrangements, but the fact remains that companies are carrying legacy(?) buildings that may be overkill for what is now needed - even if many employees do return, like it or not.
Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week
- Bank of America now selling more digitally than in person - tech budget increases to $3.6 billion - Derek digs into why Bank of America's fusion of traditional and digital is giving it a leg up: "Notably, Bank of America was the only US ‘mega bank’ to report an increase in revenue for the first three months of 2022."
- Data science myths and realities - do data scientists really spend 80% of their time wrangling data? - Neil bears down on one of the most enduring myths of the data science market.
- What’s missing in your marketing messages? Barb examines another marketing dilemma: "I have always understood the value of stories in marketing. But, like others, I have struggled to identify a process I could employ to build the right stories consistently."
Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:
- SAP turns in solid Q1, even as Russian withdrawal hits bottom line - Stuart on the results of a tumultuous-but-decent quarter for SAP. Though I believe SAP could have handled its Russian cloud withdrawal better, it's now arrived at where it needed to.
- DocuSign CEO Dan Springer on building the Agreement Cloud and the future of e-signature - Phil on his (virtual) sit down with Springer, as DocuSign looks ahead: "No wonder Springer is keen to change the perception of DocuSign from a provider of digital signatures to one of verified, authenticated identities within end-to-end enterprise workflows."
- Can employee experience move from buzzword to organizational reality? Oracle's Steve Miranda on why Oracle ME, and why now - Each quarter, I look forward to another spirited back-and-forth with Miranda. This time, Miranda fielded responses to my "employee experience" beefs.
A couple more vendor picks, without the quotables:
- Uncertain times fuel the need for Experience Management - Qualtrics CEO Zig Serafin on bringing more certainty to customer and employee experience - Stuart
- Putting agile ERP to the customer test - inside Acumatica customer CCE's award-winning project - Jon
Jon's grab bag - Chris raised one of the trickiest problems in the
overhyped field of AI ethics: AI ethics - how do we put theory into practice when international approaches vary? Derek put out a two-parter on the tensions between healthcare privacy, research demands, and the role of the NHS: Maintaining public trust in sharing healthcare data when commercial entities play a role.
Finally, I blew a gasket or two in Want to limit the impact of your next event? Make sure your hybrid structure is bland or non-existent. "Event planners are super-psyched about the return of on-the-ground events - but why are they dismissive of hybrid events? If you claim to be "customer-first," your next event better be hybrid."
Best of the enterprise web
My top seven
- Atlassian Outage - Thoughts on What to Do When Your Provider Goes Down - Constellation's Andy Thurai with a well-above-average blog post on the lessons we should derive: "Review SaaS vendor’s resiliency, backup, failover, restoration, architecture, data protection, and security measures in detail. Not just a claim of x hours of restoration time is good enough."
- Cloud computing has all the momentum, but we still live in an on-premises world for now - Joe McKendrick issues a (surprising) on-premises wake-up call: "At this stage, only seven percent of enterprises are truly all-cloud. This number is likely to more than double over the next two years, but still represents the minority of enterprises."
- Winning Differentiators - I have to admit, I didn't think I'd see anyone advise against a "cultural fit" with your service provider. But as per Gartner's Hank Barnes, that data shows that over-prioritizing secondary criteria can backfire.
- The impact of the supply chain on the customer experience - CX expert Thomas Wieberneit would have the CX crowd connect the back-end challenge to "customer experience" - our current supply chain fragility gives no other choice.
- Vendor Bake-off Reports and Professional Discourtesy: Why These Analyst Reports Can Cause More Harm than Good - speaking of blown gaskets, I'm not sure Greenbaum has any left after this. Greenbaum aspired to my "damning with faint praise" award - done, and he can have my "bridges burn sometimes, and that's ok" award this week too!
- “Algorithmic Destruction” Policy Defangs Dodgy AI - I'm still not sure how companies algorithms can be eradicated via outside rulings, but the tactic does have more potential than inconsequential fines.
- B2B growth is where it’s green - McKinsey fleshes out a bottom-line argument for sustainability, via this dialogue: "Our research shows that companies with more biologic, recyclable, or low-carbon products actually perform better than their peers on the capital markets."
Got a PR winner in my inbox this week:
email subject header:
Is SaaS the mini-metaverse?
Let me save some energy here on the promo -
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) April 19, 2022
I can't decide whether I'm rooting for Netflix against the deep-pocketed media giants or not. This week, I guess I'm rooting against:
Netflix hemorrhages subscribers amid increased competition https://t.co/by82uyUQxa
-> Wall Street just now figuring out that the content business is tough when you've quietly lost most of your good content (except long tail weirdness) and struggle with your original content.
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) April 20, 2022
And it looks like we have a trust crisis:
Get ready for your evil twin https://t.co/JqZ4EfWnGC
"consumers find AI-generated faces to be significantly more trustworthy than real faces."
-> if true, is that wrong?
— Jon Reed (@jonerp) April 23, 2022
Finally, for those of you back on the road again, and having all kinds of fun waiting out delayed flights, maybe this YouTube video of musicians taking things into their own hands at the gate will raise spirits. Until next time.
If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses - in a good or bad way - let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does. Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed.