Anyone who has played team sports knows that even with a star player, winning needs teamwork. The same notion can be applied in implementing an effective employee experience (EX).
At LiveTiles, we define employee experience as a “holistic, joined-up view of the workplace” that focuses on every day of work from a team member’s point of view. With the pandemic accelerating the shift to the digitalization of work and making working from home more mainstream, EX has become a central issue in organizations’ growth strategies. EX is vital when deploying an effective hybrid workplace strategy and shows that human Resources (HR) teams are not alone with this responsibility.
As Forrester Consulting declared: “Successful EX cannot just be HR’s responsibility.”
Managers need to step up for EX
In a commissioned survey that involved 900 HR managers worldwide, Forrester found 6 out of 10 believe line managers are the next most influential in implementing effective EX. While HR is the first person a prospective employee speaks with, line managers are the ones who take the baton and continue the race to the finish line. Effective EX is necessary for any company to accomplish its objectives and for employees to deliver outstanding performance—both of which are primarily the responsibilities of line managers.
So how can managers be key players in implementing EX?
As a Harvard Business Review article revealed, managers need regular one-on-one meetings to ensure that their employees’ expectations are met, or can be aligned with the organization’s vision. A manager’s leadership strategy may be put to test as they create a friendly environment that allows team members to voice concerns or provide suggestions. This is also a reminder that organizations must ensure a manager’s leadership stance fits an organization’s EX.
IT can give teams new tools
After managers, Forrester noted that the IT team is the next most essential part of EX implementation, especially for organizations embracing digital tools. The platforms and applications that the IT team chooses to deploy can make or break an organization’s pursuit for a seamless collaborative culture in the hybrid and virtual workplace. The IT team’s openness and flexibility to try new technologies are especially appreciated during these times when organizations may often have to adapt quickly to changing circumstances.
The tools the IT team can deploy for example, can help the HR better track employee feedback or support Communications to better include the employee voice. Platforms they onboard can help employees voice concerns, or highlight stories that emphasize their wins. As emphasized in a previous article, collaboration between HR and IT can help develop a more people-centered digital workplace experience.
EX is about communication too
Ultimately, this proves that creating an improved employee experience isn’t possible without a communication strategy. For managers, this means they need to have the emotional intelligence and resilience to better connect with team members and to put in place systems for gathering and actioning employee feedback.
As Harvard Business School Online said, emotional intelligence can influence one’s ability to motivate others, delegate tasks, and deliver his or her functions as a leader. Emotional intelligence and empathy allow a manager to understand where each team member is coming from, and help them communicate better. As we mention in our previous blog post on the five skills leaders must have in a digital workplace: in addition to using the right platform and adapting the right communication style, leaders “must know how to listen actively, be open and transparent, and ask questions that spark genuine discussion.”
Top executives also play integral roles in creating great EX
Lastly, a new strategy for employee experience can never take off without the leadership of the top tier. How leaders walk the talk has a resounding effect on morale. As McKinsey says: now is the time for leaders to be more inspirational. Their support is needed so everyone in the company—from managers, to HR, to Comms and IT—can work together to come up with an EX strategy that works.