The experience of work has changed, and employee experience is more important now than it has ever been. There is much discussion about what workplaces will become – as such we have brought together a number of insights and opinions from leading commentators to help you navigate what will be best for your business.
Here is a practical guide on what you need to understand, consider, and address in order to look after your employees and foster a positive employee experience during this challenging time.
Employee experience – what is it?
Employee experience can be explained as an intersection of three factors:
- Employee expectations (my expectations, shaped by who I am and what I value)
- Environment (touchpoints, shaped by interactions within the organisation)
- Events (a sequence of moments in an employee’s journey, both scripted and unscripted)
Within these factors, culture, people and leaders, programs, processes, tech and physical workplace all culminate to equal ’employee experience’.
How to manage employee experience
Mercer conducted a survey amongst their employees and found that there were three key areas that employees were concerned about during this time:
- The negative impact of the media and changing work environments
- Feelings of isolation and disconnection
- Information overload – dealing with a huge influx of communication from increased amounts of emails, Slack messages and online meetings
- Low productivity – employees feeling they were making less impact on a daily basis
- Employees are concerned that the sense of community within the company isn’t as strong as it previously was
- How can employees experience a sense of belonging while working remotely, and how can the company ensure that people’s need to feel connected to the broader organisation is fulfilled?
- Sense of long-term transformation of work
- Changes that are happening now might be in place long-term, or permanently
- The long term impact on the economy and work behaviours. How will this effect them?
Creating the new and future normal, with pieces of the old
Since the way we work has had to evolve, it’s important to consider what elements of traditional working life need to be carried over into remote working, as well as what elements of remote working and the ‘new normal’ can be used to reshape the future.
There are some ‘constants’ that employees rely upon, and those need to be maintained while the workforce is working remotely. You need to know your team and what they want to do to maintain their company and team culture.
Friday night Zoom drinks may not appeal to everyone, so consider the myriad of ways you can connect. Maybe an after-work yoga session instead, or team debrief while you all go for a walk?
For reimagining what the future of work will look like for your business and employees, consider what has worked well during this time that you might be able to carry over into the new working environment?
Think about your organisation and what learnings you can take forward from this experience. Has your team responded well to daily stand ups? Have they enjoyed a flexible work structure during this period? What will you be able to take from this to benefit your employees in the post-Covid environment?
The importance of managers in maintaining engagement in a remote working environment
Managers are in a unique position of understanding their team culture, separate of the company culture. Some strategies for effective management within the three employee experience factors above include:
- Employee – Managers should make sure they’re making efforts to understand the needs of their teams and their direct reports. Having empathy and the ability to stay on top of psychological welfare is crucial.
- Environment – Are your managers showing up for you people? Are they seeking new ways to be effective, and how is their mindset – open to new ideas or blockers?
- Events – Things like team rituals, daily, weekly, fortnightly events that are in line with your team culture are great for creating a positive employee experience.
Using surveys to measure employee engagement and satisfaction
Listening to your employees is the best way to understand their experience, and given the current situation it’s important to check in and listen to employees even more regularly. Surveys are a great way to do it.
Think about what you should be asking of who and when. Keep in mind that the more you ask, the more the expectation for action increases.
Come out of this crisis as a smarter business
While there is no positive spin on the global pandemic, as it is the reality it’s a time for your business to learn and try new things. Think about your organisation and what learnings you can take from this moving forward.
Focus on employee experience and building resilience for survival – you want your people to be engaged and productive, not disconnected and overwhelmed. Update goals, incentives and expectations to align with the current reality and decide how your business will transform to be better.
At RedBalloon we have designed thousands of engagement programs for our clients – if you would like to call on our experience please just click on the button below.