steve-jobs-2In keeping with my weekly Friday post looking at the lighter side of FM. I want to touch on where we are going with Employee experience. I was intrigued by the short embedded video (see below) from FM2Share entitled, ‘The Near Future of FM’. The video shows what I think most of us are aware is coming down the line in Workplace management with the Internet of Things (IoT). There are certainly some interesting propositions in the video and IoT will undoubtedly change our workspaces. I welcome IoT and its capabilities in assisting us managing the workspace but like all new technology, we should be careful how we adopt and use it.

Firstly check out the video and then please contribute to the debate.

The subheading to the video is “Customer Orientated Services” and it is this, which is the concerning part of the video. What we see is a man entering what is clearly a corporate space that is equipped with a sophisticated array of sensors. It is the technology that is being touted as enabling a better Customer experience. I applaud the objective but I question the method.

In these types of ‘Hi-Touch’ environments, it is precisely the ‘touch’ that seems to be missing. I am of course not referring to the inappropriate laying on of hands, but to some form of human contact. The essence of the human being is that we are pack animals and we crave the human touch particularly in what might be unfamiliar surroundings for an Employee or a Customer entering your premises.

As we travel further and are more exposed to the leisure industry in our personal lives, our workspaces and the FM industry that serve them, is becoming more and more hospitality focussed. In one of our major FM contracts with a client, we both refer and operate their corporate HQ as a ‘Hotel with Desks’

The video is a fascinating insight into the technology that is with us today. I am just questioning the application of that technology in certain instances where we appear to be disguising efficiency and cost reduction as improving the Customer experience. My experience, however, tells me that these two concepts are strange bedfellows. Creating a welcoming environment and having a friendly, knowledgeable and empowered face at reception or concierge with access to technology is still the departure point for a great Employee experience in the buildings we manage.

‘You’ve got to start with the Customer experience and work back toward the technology – not the other way around.’ – Steve Jobs (Apple Founder)

The late Apple visionary understood the importance of the Customer experience. By focusing on the needs and wants of Customers, Apple was able to create some of the most revolutionary products from the iPhone to the iPad. The genius of Steve Jobs was turning industries on their heads by starting with the experience.

Workplace Professionals need to create a brand that starts with the Employee as a Customer and aligns products, services and solutions with the desired experience first and then support this with the technology.

I am willing to be proved wrong and I welcome a debate around the issue of technology and the Customer experience, so my question to you today is How can we adopt technology but still keep the human touch? … please leave your contribution to the debate below…