Mike Curtis, Managing Director
Happy employees lead to happy customers. More and more companies globally are realizing that their employees’ experience is just as important as the customer experience. The workforce management implications are fascinating.
Mike Curtis, Managing Director of MCR, says, “Business leaders often need help understanding the intersectionality of the various human capital management practices—including leadership skills, recruitment and promotion policies, reward and benefits, and HR systems, among others—to drive workforce engagement.” Curtis leads MCR, a multi-disciplinary HR management consultancy, head-quartered in London, offering services encompassing strategic workforce planning, reward and employee benefits consultancy, leadership and organizational development, HR transformation, sales reward, and more. Acknowledging the intersectionality of HR practices, MCR embraces an interdisciplinary approach in its consulting services.
“Across eleven practice areas, our expert team works together to address our clients’ workforce management challenges and opportunities from all of the relevant dimensions so that business needs and the employee experience are actually aligned. In today’s volatile business environment, having domain expertise in multiple areas makes it possible for us to develop practical and creative solutions for what are often novel problems,” Curtis adds.
One of the most important market trends that MCR has identified is the use of ‘Design Thinking’ by employers to create the employee experience which will attract, motivate, and retain the best talent and skills. As Curtis points out, “The traditional emphasis on ‘matching best practice’ or industry peer benchmarks is being replaced by a focus on creating and maintaining an employee experience which is unique to the organisation and which aligns with both employee and organisational values.”
The traditional emphasis on ‘matching best practice’…is being replaced by a focus on creating… an employee experience which is unique…
This includes treating employees as much as possible like consumers who expect intuitive and frictionless ways of working—for example, a single log-in to access all employee portals. It also means enabling a personalised experience which meets employee lifestyle needs and professional ambitions, provides regular feedback, and aligns working life with their ethical and social values. This involves everything from employer branding to recruitment practices, HR systems, career development, leadership styles, and reward and employee benefits arrangements—however, crucially, it is about alignment and communication rather than market matching. By definition, this means standing back and taking a look at existing human capital management practices to see where there is friction and non-alignment.
So what is driving the attention to employee experience? Curtis says: “Overridingly it is because employers need to ‘stand out from the crowd’ to attract and retain the key talent and other specialist skills that they need. Aside from niche skills, for example in the digital and tech spheres, our clients put special value on talent in the more broadly defined sense—those who are able to deploy their skills strategically in ambiguous contexts, and lead and inspire others to do the same in an environment in which change, uncertainty, and disruption are the norm.” Preferences for flexible working lives outside traditional employment and generational changes are further reasons for the growing emphasis on the employee experience. As is the trend away from job description hiring to project based hiring – buying results and ‘the person,’ rather than labour.
Moving forward, MCR anticipates further diversification and international growth for its business over the next couple of years in response to clients’ needs. One example is in the area of employee sustainability which, for MCR, is the ‘elephant in the room’ for workforce management today. Curtis says: “The challenge has moved beyond ‘Health & Wellbeing’. Employee sustainability is a strategic issue and an impending crisis which needs addressing openly and urgently by organisations in the UK and around the world.”