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The balance between employers and employees is shifting. A few generations ago, an employee could work at a single company her entire life and retire. That is not the case anymore. According to a LinkedIn study, up to 85% of the workforce is actively looking or open to a career change, including employees satisfied at their current job. This shift is making the workplace more employee-centric as management becomes less top-down and more bottoms-up.

This is a great opportunity for your business. In an employee-centric workplace, your worker is more empowered to make independent decisions, is more collaborative with her co-workers, and is closer to her customer. That’s why a new app ecosystem has emerged to take advantage of this new paradigm. The apps in this ecosystem range across the entire business, from project management software like Asana, help desk software like, to payroll software like Gusto (formerly ZenPayroll). In addition, this app ecosystem is cloud-based and sold as a service, which lets your worker choose her tools directly.

By giving your employees that choice, a business owner can create an environment that encourages an ownership mentality that sets them up for success. Many cloud-based tools can be used “out-of-the-box” without major installations so there is no need to do a lengthy technical audit. Furthermore, since most SaaS products can be purchased with a company credit card, employees can try out a product and see if it’s helpful without needing to go through a length company-wide review process. Even for some companies with more complex needs, many cloud-based B2B vendors have extensible APIs, which means their solution can work smoothly with the software tools that are already being used.

An important additional benefit to the empowered employee is connectivity. As your employees embrace an ownership mentality in the business and begin to take responsibility for different aspects of the company, it becomes even more important to create additional direct channels to the customer. Giving your engineers, product managers, or back office employees exposure to the customer not only helps create a better product, it also ensures your team has frequent, direct exposure to what makes your product stand out in the market.

At Gusto, we use as a platform to organize our customer service. Every team member has access and as part of our onboarding process, each new employee helps answer help tickets. In addition, each employee is randomly assigned customer calls based on recent NPS surveys. All customer interaction is documented so improvements to the software and service can be constantly iterated and improved. All of this is made possible through the use of modern software that focuses on treating the employee as an equal stakeholder.

Increased employee empowerment in the workplace is great for a business. The employee-centric workplace is a flat organization with open channels. An app ecosystem that supports an employee-centric workplace means your employees have more choice in selecting their tools, and more ways to speak to each other and their customers. This results in employees being more empowered and invested, as well as driven to help the company succeed.

Joshua Reeves Josh is the CEO and co-founder of Gusto, a startup that’s reimagining HR, payroll, and benefits for modern companies. Josh believes in the power of software to solve complex problems. Follow Josh on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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