The last blog uncovered the significant drivers shaping the workforce’s employee experience in 2023. Each driver was followed with a simple tip that can help you adopt and adapt them for your workplace as strategies to support the employees that are not as engaged.
In case you have missed it- Master employee experience in 2023: 5 big drivers revealed!
In this edition of exploring employee experience, we will look at some key learnings from Great Places to Work in 2022 that can be borrowed for this year.
These learnings can help you plan, guide and establish some of these learnings for your employees and boost the employee experience at your workplace.
Let’s dive right into them.
The pandemic has been the biggest teacher of them all!!
2022 has been a year of relative normalcy post Covid. However, while life seemed to have returned to normalcy, the same cannot necessarily be said about work. 2021 and 2022 have been years that have seen unprecedented human resources exodus.
For example, organizations worldwide have been struggling and working hard to ensure that talent can be managed well to avoid issues of shortage and disengagement.
While different organizations have taken different approaches to handling the matter, a detailed secondary analysis of methodologies adopted by organizations classified as Great Places to Work provides insight into certain practices that have worked for them in 2022.
Some of these insights will continue to shape the employee experience in 2023. Perhaps, picking up greater momentum as we move along.
Let’s take a look at some of the overall themes emerging from these insights.
- Holistic well-being of the employee
“If the organization only sees me as an employee and not as a person, it means that there is a very transactional relationship between us. It means I’m only valued for my skill, not my personality” (Samar, Operations).
Apart from job-linked soft skills and the physical health of its employees, an organization today needs to focus on engagement and the overall well-being of its people to boost its employee experience. This is no new news, but the degree of sensitivity to this has increased more than ever because of the pandemic.
This is why a growing trend is to focus on a ‘beyond work relationship’ among employees. Organizations today realize that employees who relate to each other at a personal level are also more likely to connect and work productively together as a team.
The concept isn’t new. Team building initiatives and exercises have always been a part of enhancing the employee experience. It’s just that their form factor has been continually changing for the employee.
- Work that’s known to be driven by purpose
One of the biggest problems with boosting employee experience in hybrid work is the choices about where and when to work. It allows flexibility but impacts company and team culture negatively.
A Harvard Business Review article highlighting the outstanding results of collaboration claims, “Purpose is collaboration’s most unacknowledged determinant.” The key to remember is that rituals and interactions are not the only way to drive the collective. For example, in the workplace, a shared purpose will work as a stronger glue to add meaning to work for the employee.
This makes it even more critical for leaders in hybrid to share and reinforce stories that showcase what the company stands for and its purpose. As people, we are all guided by stories.
Additionally, leaders need to find newer ways to bring employees together based on their interests and commonalities in driving this purpose. Tech can be the action hero in this how we will see this in the next section.
- Agility in the midst of uncertainty
If there is one big lesson that humanity has taught mankind, workplaces included, it is agility. In a world where the markets are changing faster than ever, organizations need to extend skills towards the business and the employee.
This agility can take different factors for the organization and its employees. It can refer to mobility across different verticals, geographies, skill sets, or even switching between different work modes (hybrid/ remote to in-office, for example).
Whatever its form factor, agility will continue to play a significant part in boosting retention and building workforce skills.
“When that one announcement in 2020 about the lockdown happened, our lives were changed forever as people, businesses, and organizations. Those who have managed to survive and thrive are the ones who realized that changing with times in terms of tech, processes, and capital alone wouldn’t be enough.
We will also have to change our people’s game; in that, ‘agility’ will have to switch from being a word in the vocabulary to become a company value for its people” (Utkarsh Jain, Founder).
Within HR, ownership of internal mobility can often be fuzzy; hence L&D and talent acquisition can drive success for them and the employees by sharing insights and innovating to develop and source internal talent.
Develop a culture and processes that support internal movement – hiring, prioritizing and promising existing talent to choose their career paths and skill-building journeys.
Aligning the business needs and employee career development is key to creating a pipeline of internal talent to match opportunities and increase the productivity of employees. A win-win for everyone.
- Innovative collaboration
“One way in which remote or hybrid working is different is that many cues that one would otherwise observe and experience in in-person interactions now have to be created or manufactured. I feel tech can play an important and interesting role here” (Vaibhav Jain, Co-Founder).
It is true. How do you organize or manufacture a virtual water cooler setting? The whole idea behind these settings is to spur conversations around the experience. So how does one do that in a context when people are not only in different spaces but different time zones?
The statistics below show that employees satisfied with social connectivity are more likely to maintain or improve productivity on collaborative tasks in the workplace:
Data indicate that these watercooler conversations and the like are important because they give the “required breaks” to the employee, help them connect, lift their spirits, cheer them up and basically refresh them to become more productive.
While virtual meetings and catch-ups are there, much debate is also about whether they actually de-stress or stress people more. After all, online virtual meetings alone do not automatically imply connection or bonding among the employees.
The ones who get the short end of the stick are deskless workers; in addition to being diskless, they are also cut off from the company intranet.
In this case, employees may not stay connected through conference calls or training sessions like other employees. They may be relying on tools like their mobile devices to stay connected, which is not the best in providing security anyway.
This is where innovative collaboration tools can play a role in ensuring that the employee is not only connected online but is also engaged and able to participate on an equal footing. Innovative collaboration is not just about using ‘fancier’ tech; it is instead about leveraging the existing tech in a creative, intuitive and fun way to support employee experience.
Stay tuned for more!
In the next blog, we will continue exploring employee needs as we look at some simple strategies that employees can leverage at different levels in their workplace. If you can’t wait any longer, feel free to download our full e-book below.