Putting employee experience at the forefront is key to success at BMC Software
Flexible working, a better employee experience and keeping people connected is the recipe for attracting more and diverse talent, according to Monika Fahlbusch of BMC Software.
How do you run a company successfully and productively and attract more and diverse talent when many of your employees work remotely?
For BMC Software, the answer is to put employee experience front and centre, supported by digital workplace technology that enables people to stay connected, wherever they are in the world. The company employs approximately 6,000 people around the globe and approximately half of those based in the US work from home. Outside the US, this figure varies.
At the helm of making BMC an attractive organisation that is easy to work in is Chief Employee Experience Officer Monika Fahlbusch. It’s a new position that is all part of a co-ordinated vision for IT, HR, Communications, Facilities, Real Estate, philanthropy, (BMC Cares programme), global security, and the digital workplace.
She says the job is, in some ways, equivalent to a Chief Operating Officer (COO).
Although the term ‘employee experience’ is new, Monika says the idea is gaining ground on platforms, such as Linkedin, as well as among journalists and customers.
There are two different ways of looking at it. Firstly, most companies concentrate solely on the customer experience, whereas they should be equally accountable to that of their employees. Achieving it depends on having the right technology and processes.
“My job is to make the trains run on time,” Monika explains. “Are the executive teams, particularly our business units, getting their needs met in order to execute on selling and developing software? So, I’m in service to the organisation to help us to grow.
“Secondly, we are not yet where we want to be as a branded employer. We compete for talent with Amazon, Google, Facebook and the like. BMC is not a known name like that.”
Becoming a talent magnet
In a bid to attract more top tier talent, BMC is working hard to promote itself as being a modern and innovative brand. And, one that makes a positive impression on those who engage with the organisation, as potential employees and after they are hired.
To this end, the company has carried out initiatives involving making sure BMC is using the right communication platforms that work efficiently and are unified. A second project looked at making sure all employees had access to information.
Monika explains: “Some of the complexities of that are as simple as device security and sign-on authenticity. There’s a normal tension between access to data and security protocols, so we’ve spent a lot of time navigating between those two.”
This has culminated in the biggest initiative of all – the digital workplace. “We’re trying to ensure that we have this ownable position around hiring from wherever and letting people work from wherever,” she says. “The digital workplace is the way that we back it up. It is our architecture for how we manage our very remote, modern, efficient workplace and we’re constantly connecting to it.
“Now you can do any kind of provision management. For example, if someone needs a new device, has moved or needs a different desk, all of that is being managed through our digital workplace technology.”
The next step will be to add cognitive artificial intelligence capabilities, which will provide an even smarter way of supporting the employee experience. Feedback from employees has shown that BMC is on the right track.
A diverse workforce
Allowing people to work wherever they want is a big win for BMC, particularly those who are leaving some of the big tech companies because of the high cost of living in Silicon Valley. “We’re able to say they can live where they want, which has made a big impact in terms of opening up who we can attract and land,” Monika says.
She believes that such a flexible approach will help to increase the number of women in the organisation, currently at 25%. It is also an attractive proposition for people from diverse backgrounds, the disabled and older people.
More diversity in the workplace is an important global issue and should fully represent the communities in which companies operate. Also, technology companies are changing the way we live and work.
“The stakes are really high,” says Monika. “We’re seeing this with data and privacy issues and I firmly believe that the more diverse viewpoints that are opining on those critical issues, the better.”
She talks to CEOs in Silicon Valley on the importance of having a diverse workforce that is representative at every level. The key thing is for companies to achieve this voluntarily, rather than responding, involuntarily, to a requirement.
Giving workers more choice about where and when they work is preparing BMC for the workplace of the future.
“The more they [employees] have the choice, the more those employers who aren’t doing it will get left behind,” Monika argues.
She accepts that some people like being in the office for the water cooler talk and to feed off each other but points out that some sort of hybrid is the way forward.
“I think we’re going to come up with a model that is instead of constraining capital in gorgeous high-rise buildings,” Monika adds. “Smart companies are going to say, ‘instead of that $10 million a year, we’ll have more people work from home and we’ll spend $5 million a year getting them together for a really important training or branding session.’ You, know, use that money wisely to pull people together and drive a totally different experience.”
Finally, she feels that talent is going to become much more international which, in turn, will lead to a more diverse workforce.