Employee Experience In a Post-Pandemic World
The pandemic brought about significant changes that required revolution to thoroughly excel. The most prominent change is a new work mode that encourages the workforce to operate remotely, thereby begging the question, “Do we need to evolve our employee engagement approach to deliver outcomes on par with global standards?”
According to Willis Towers Watson, two years after the pandemic, 92% of employers reported that employee experience is a priority. This figure has increased from 52% prior to the pandemic. This puts things into perspective. Given the changes, frustrations, and tragedies that our people experienced during the pandemic — both professionally and more important personally — employers should give this aspect of employment serious consideration.
Without doubt, technology has enabled remote workers to collaborate while working from home. However, technology cannot completely bridge the gap. In a virtual work environment, you lose that personal touch. It cannot replace the physical interaction and emotional bonding that people experience at work. Remote employees may even miss out on small details about their workplace that make them feel like a team, such as lunch with teammates, colleagues’ birthdays, special occasions, and so on.
Providing employee recognition, implementing surveys and feedback measures is nothing new to most of us. In recent time, we have even begun to offer wellness and financial planning programs, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion programs to improve employee engagement. The temptation is to continue with the practices we are most familiar with.
But to thrive in this new landscape, our engagement programs should be infused with innovative digital tools and technology so that we can begin to look at all available data in the organization for insights to create the right and relevant action plans for employees. The key is to ensure the human touch still shines through with the incorporation of these digital tools. These tools should not hinder the organization from delivering a more connected and personalized employee experience.
How the organization responded to the challenges on the business during the pandemic could change an employee attitude toward the organization. Some chose to downsize whilst others modified their entire product line to meet the changing market demands. Depending on the circumstances, engagement programs need to be tailored carefully.
Empathy will be one of the most important skills. Respect for individuals in various situations will be critical in maintaining a good relationship with collogues. Organizations must provide more assistance to their employees in balancing work and family responsibilities, as well as implement appropriate approaches such as job sharing and flexible working schedules.
In conclusion, behavioral ‘norms’ within the organization may need to be revisited. For the organization, perhaps rather than focusing on employee efficiency as in the past, in the post-COVID-19 world, employee resilience will take precedence.