COVID-19 has given way to the rise of hybrid working - a move from full-time, on location to a fluid model comprising a mix of office-based, frontline and remote workers. Another trend on the rise is organizations needing to work harder for their employees and not just for their customers or shareholders. This belief requires the building of enterprise qualities like empathy and trust, with a sharp focus on workplace culture, both of which are bound to become more difficult as teams spend less time together.
The human enterprise
Employees are now giving more thought to how, where and when they want to work. They are paying more attention to the benefits that employers offer, prioritising their wellbeing and safety more than ever before. Leading organizations need to respond to the new realities of a hybrid workplace by building a strategy around workforce experience. But, it’s going to take more than just new perks or better benefits. It means dramatic changes to workplace culture.
Changes that demand the rise of a new kind of enterprise which plays a pivotal and stewardship role in the communities for their workers. Intensifying economic and social disruption should motivate organizations to put their workforce at the center of their business strategies, and learn to lead the ‘humane’ enterprise. While profit-making still holds top priority with the leadership, employee wellbeing, with its direct impact on talent quality and experience, is slowly becoming a critical performance indicator.
To bring a new purpose back into the workplace and a human identity back to the worker, it’s clear we need to reinvent traditional human capital programs. But how do we do that? The answers lie in curating our employee experience.
It’s not about influencing behaviors using traditional levers like perks, benefits, or employee engagement. It’s about the culture. It’s about putting concepts like trust, empathy, belonging, and purpose at the top of the business agenda. Employee experience isn’t just a surface-level leadership problem. Every major stakeholder in an organization has some skin in this game. Creating the perfect strategy will require initiative from various departments to connect and collaborate in executing a flexible and scalable plan. Think of this as building a systematic way of approaching workforce needs that creates a meaningful experience for everyone at work. With these things in mind, it’s time to turn sentiment into action.
Curating employee experience
Design onboarding experience: Many companies don’t have an employee orientation program, much less an employee onboarding experience, but this can be critical to new employee success. Programs that have clear objectives, are measurable and tailored to their audiences (i.e., marketing reps require a different orientation than sales reps) are the need of the hour. This can be beneficial in tackling early turnovers and helping employees build connections.
Improve internal communication: Internal communication channels can be used for much more than just disseminating company information. We should go above and beyond to foster a sense of community, encourage employees to work together for a common goal, and work on themselves to create a cohesive company culture that promotes growth and positivity.
Employee journey mapping: The journey map helps an enterprise identify critical moments and pain points of their workforce that require a reaction on their end. This is needed for modern enterprises in order to close the gap from a current to a desired state. This can go a long way in improving talent retention and workforce morale.
Invest in employee wellness: Healthy and active employees incur lower medical costs, saving companies time and money, but employee wellness is much more than just physical. Teams need to encourage mental and spiritual employee wellness of their employees to make them more attentive, rested, and productive at work. Workforce wellbeing will be a major agenda for curating the best experience.
Act on employee feedback: Organizations implement engagement and feedback surveys to gauge where the employees are in their careers, but not everyone acts on the feedback received. People are more likely to engage and share real opinions when they know they’re being listened to and may not even bother when they know they won’t be heard.
The hybrid future of work presents a new challenge for employee experience. With teams being dispersed and comparatively harder to reach, risks of miscommunication, an ‘us vs them’ dilemma around in-office biases will be inherent. The winning strategy for the hybrid work experience will enhance communication to reach anyone and anywhere with the information required. It will build a sense of belonging by focusing on diversity and community. Find ways to support collective mental health and make sure knowledge facilities are easy to find and share.