customer experience is the golden thread 


Whether buying shoes, booking a hotel or finding a job, how companies treat us matter. Those that use technology to delight customers, while maintaining the human touch, will thrive. 

‘We’re passionate about using technology in our business to ultimately help people realize their true potential. Work is such a big part of our happiness and we want to see people prosper', says Randstad chief digital officer, René Steenvoorden in the AI and the Future of Work podcast with Dan Turchin at InsightFinder.

the pandemic ‘pause’ and life pivots 

Until the pandemic gave us ‘pause’, people were largely focused on the busyness of daily tasks. But being removed from the usual work-life routine gave us the headspace to reflect and reconsider goals, leading to ‘life pivots’. This is according to Anthony Klotz, psychologist and professor at Texas A&M who coined the term ‘the great resignation’ to sum up the tipping point of a nearly decade-long trend of employment dissatisfaction. 

This gave rise to another phenomenon we’re witnessing - ‘the great enlightenment’. A byproduct of greater clarity around work and personal lives, people have emerged from the pandemic expecting their employers to be aligned to their purpose and help them reach their goals; flexibility, agility and purpose are the new standards. 

‘people are not machines’ 

‘People are expecting more from companies. The early days of the pandemic reminded us that people are not machines. If you’re worried about all the things that come with being human, you’re less likely to be productive,’ says Alison Omens, chief strategy officer at JUST Capital, in an interview on the importance of purpose at work.  

Successful organizations understand this new world we live and work in, and are adapting their talent strategies and finding #newways to accommodate this new world by taking deliberate action - to keep their talent engaged, motivated and happy. Attracting and retaining the right people requires creating an environment where they can prosper and contribute towards a clear strategy and shared goals. To get this right, the 'employee experience' needs to remain a priority at every stage, and not just a focus when onboarding new colleagues. 

Using technology to enable a more personalized career journey is what’s driving the future of work. AI and machine learning can provide an unprecedented depth of data to understand what talent want and need from employers. This data can be used to inform business strategy and design tools specifically intended to help talent fulfill their potential through, for example, upskilling, reskilling and matching with the right employer and role. 

a ‘tech and touch’ future

Companies that continually adapt and digitize while retaining a ‘human forward’ or ‘people first’ approach will be the most successful. This ‘tech and touch’ approach is the sweet spot that is shaping the future of work, says René. This is a world where technology is embraced, but within a very clearly defined set of openly shared principles, while human relationships continue to be nurtured and prioritized. This is contingent on continuous learning, development and education informed by active listening paired with deep market research and data insights. 

from ‘the great enlightenment’ to ‘the great delightenment’ 

Work will always remain a fundamental, emotionally resonant part of our lives that cannot be commoditized. In every market our research reaffirms that the number one driver of customer delight is humanness - this rings true whether in the market for a new pair of shoes or a new job. 

'Technology has enabled a world of opportunity - and accessibility - for continuous development at every stage of our lives and careers. There are so many ways to upskill or reskill, for example, by partnering with the right companies that recognize potential and have the insights and market knowledge to help you realize this potential,' says René. 

But real connections aren’t made from data and algorithms. They require human involvement, empathy, communication and instinct. When we bring together our passion for people with the power of today’s technology, we will enter a new era - an era of ‘great delightenment’. 

about the contributor
Rene Steenvoorden
Rene Steenvoorden

rené steenvoorden

chief digital officer and executive board member, randstad

René's passion lies where business and digital intersect to better serve clients and candidates. He believes that every organization can be improved if people collaborate, when strategy and operations are aligned and when there is a clear focus on innovation and renewal. As Chief Digital Officer, René leads on digital strategy and its implementation globally.

He was a supervisory board member of KPMG the Netherlands, taught cyber security at Nyenrode University, was a member of the global Advisory Board of IBM and a board member and president of the national CIO Platform. He was elected CIO of the Year twice in the Netherlands.