The world of work in 2022 is ripe with changes, both in operational models and evolving HR policies. And with it comes the shift in how we define and prioritize Employee Experience (EX). The Human Resource department is a significant stakeholder leading these changes from the employee’s perspective.
The latest edition of the ‘Future of Work’ conference in London tackled these issues, especially focusing on the hybrid working setup, employee wellbeing and the central role that organizational purpose has for the overall employment experience.
I have pulled together some of the key insights learned during this conference and share them from the employees’ viewpoint.
Employees feel the need to be valued as individuals and have their efforts recognized as major drivers and contributors to an organization. This brings a sense of purpose, energy, and drive to the employee, boosting their engagement and productivity in the process.
Lack of appreciation or recognition is one of the top reasons people leave their jobs. A considerable portion of employees say they want more recognition from their managers. But these tokens do not have to be in the shape of shiny trophies. Kudos, badges, public shout-outs or a few kind in-person words will work. What matters is they are authentic, personal — and most importantly — clear and simple.
However, in the age of hybrid and remote work, extending such appreciation can pose a challenge. The employees are not always in the same physical office, so celebrating socially is out of the question. Employee communications platforms that are intuitive, social and mobile-first will go a long way to provide meaningful human connection virtually.
Employees will always want to be heard. Giving them a voice makes them feel that their input is valuable, and it significantly matters from a cultural and innovation perspective. Countless studies have confirmed that employee surveys are extremely useful in getting feedback from employees and in creating good company policies. A recent Gallup poll showed that employees feel more secure and comfortable when they are allowed to speak and be heard by the managers.
While surveys, questionnaires, pulse-checks and polls are effective tools in gathering employee inputs, they reduce the employees’ opinion to mere statistics. And if we want employees to be truly heard, we need to see them as human beings and not just mere numbers. Dedicated leadership channels such as “Ask the CEO” in your digital workplace, as well as virtual suggestion boxes allow employees to express themselves without taking away the personal touch of these inputs.
Workers all want to contribute their talents and skill sets. Therefore, creating a network where everybody can see “who can do what” is always critical in a collaboration-based workplace. This not only fosters teamwork but social connection as well.
Employment visibility has always been underrated. But its benefits are well-known and well-established. Well-connected workers are always ready to work together, their productivity is boosted, and their collaborations lead to efficient results. But finding the talent you need with the right knowledge at the right time and connecting to these experts to create serendipitous moments remains a challenge.
Utilizing Q&A community groups as part of your employee comms platform can be one of the means to bridge this gap. Through such groups, employees can freely post their challenges and questions to which any person with the appropriate skill sets can respond, creating a free exchange of information that benefits everyone. Digital Training Hubs also provide the same advantage with a more structured approach.
Unknown to many, employee experience starts even before the hiring process. Portraying a good employer brand attracts respect from candidates, even if they are not hired. A Career Builder report says that 42% of candidates will not apply for a position in the company if they have had a bad experience in the hiring process, and one in five will actively advise their peers to not apply as well. On the upside, if the applicant had a great experience even if not hired, their overall interaction with the company will create a good outside impression which can be shared through word of mouth.
These days, word of mouth has taken a more virtual approach, as many conversations happen online. We can take advantage of these by sharing contents in secure but open forums where outside users can access without the need for a corporate email for example. This way organizations can share topics and information that will help to build employee branding in the future.
Many HR personnel think onboarding is largely a responsibility of managers, which can lead to serious mishandling of this essential part of the process. A poorly executed onboarding process is one of the reasons why one-fourth of people leave their new jobs within 90 days of hiring. Meanwhile, a greatly delivered onboarding improves new hire retention by 82%.
But the biggest gulf here is that it is always a challenge for the new employee to get an overview and understanding of the entire company and the workplace, given the complexity of the workflows involved – which will take a while to figure out. Consequently, it could be a source of frustration from the employer’s perspective, since it will take a while to make new hires effective, increasing the overall cost of onboarding new talent.
A solution here is tailoring the information that the new employee receives, narrowing it down to what they only need to function and perform competently, ensuring a more efficient and faster transfer of knowledge. Bespoke digital workplace plugins and integrations with (for instance) task lists, and content targeting are effective ways to achieve this, focusing content specifically to the new employees so they are efficiently up and running while being acquainted with key elements of company values and culture.
An internal employee support, preferably an automated one, is another indispensable tool in assuring that employee’s performance and engagement are at their best. Having access to help and resources makes each day at the office more effective, enjoyable, and productive. A self-service knowledge space is especially important to enable people to find solutions independently. It can also serve as a knowledgebase, tapping into multiple key systems like a CRM, e-commerce platform, and project management software. And lastly, an internal helpdesk can streamline everything connected to company knowledge. As a result, it helps everyone in every department focus better on their jobs.
Competitive employees lead to a competitive company. We could not stress the importance of employee development enough. Furthermore, studies show that well-trained workers are great at improvising solutions and adapting to any situation. That is why fostering mentorship is a well-accepted and integral practice in career development of employees.
However, it is not always easy. With the advent of hybrid work set up and time flexibility for employees, managing training events can be a challenge. Tailored digital workplace integrations with the organization’s formal LMS (Learning Management System) can bridge this gap. Adopt solutions to connect employees wherever they are so trainings can be easily organized and accomplished.
Offboarding is another process that is often neglected by many HR personnel. It mostly boils down to a two-minute exit interview, or worse, filling up a questionnaire mostly asking, “why did you leave the company?” whose response will be part of an aggregate of information to be used for employment purposes in the future. The offboarding process has lost its human touch. The true nature of the process is to ensure that the departing employee feels valued with the contributions they made during the years of their employment. They should know that they made an impact and that their participation will be missed.
Another point of the process is the transfer of knowledge to coworkers including handovers to replacements. This will make the onboarding process easier and faster for the new hire, since they will obtain the information directly from someone who has handled the position. This is possible through Content Governance (for instance) with a structured off-boarding through task lists, ensuring the smooth transition of jobs between the off-boarders and on-boarders.
The employee might be leaving, but it should not be a moment of “disconnecting” or “dissociating” from the organization. There must be an intact sense of belonging to the social network of former colleagues, leaders, and even with the organization.
Employee comms platforms with ‘alumni’ channels built in can be a great idea here providing anonymous access (or through restricted access with personal emails) to keep former employees in the loop and updated and informed about what is going on in the company.
All the key moments described above can be effectively addressed through existing employee comms and digital workplace solutions. If you would like to learn more about how this would support your organization and its employee experience, please contact me at [email protected] and I would be delighted to help.