Employee experience is an important part of an organization’s health. It encompasses every encounter, conversation and moment that an employee shares with the organization. Invariably, organizations make several investments as an attempt to create a positive employee experience to further engage and retain existing talent, while attracting potential high performers. Organizations have spent years mastering the art of delivering extraordinary employee experiences in the physical working spaces with a focus on training sessions, incentives and perks, team bonding activities, etc. However, the rise of the pandemic and the transition to remote work due to the lockdown is increasingly pushing organizations to reconsider their employee experience priorities.
Employee experience: Changing the narrative
As the nature and scope of work is undergoing a rapid transition, what constitutes a great employee experience is also changing. Free lunches, team dinners, fancy outings may not be able to deliver the experience that employees are seeking today. With uncertainty and ambiguity all around, organizations must reinvent their approach to employee experience.
Focus on Mental Wellness: Mental health and wellness is undoubtedly an unnegotiable priority for employee experience now. While wellness has been an important trend for a long time, its importance has accelerated manifold in the recent days. Social isolation, lack of any clarity across different avenues of life, ambiguity and constant stress is hampering wellbeing of almost all individuals. Therefore, to augment employee experience, organizations must focus on mental wellness. This could be by engaging with specialists to help employees share their concerns or by holding wellness sessions. Additionally, the whole work narrative needs to be restructured in a way that looks at the human side of employees with the lens of empathy. The idea is to not offer free meals to employees and expect them to work around the clock, rather invest in their mental health, both monetarily and with behavioural changes.
Facilitate Social Connections: Social connections and bonding were generally a natural consequence of employees meeting and collaborating at the workplace. However, due to remote work, this socialization has taken a back seat. Therefore, as a part of improving the employee experience, organizations must facilitate social connections. This could be through different ways, including icebreakers, virtual coffee sessions, among others. The idea is to help employees create social bonds which can be an effective way to vent out stress or just have a real conversation about and beyond work.
Change the Benefits: Traditional benefits including offsites, outings etc. make no sense in the situation the workforce is in today. In fact, for at least a considerable time, these benefits can be kept at bay. Thus, organizations must experiment with more unconventional benefits. These could range from offering mental wellness facilities which employees can access to simply rejuvenate from work. Additionally, there could be a special off day to help employees switch off from work and simply relax. Google did exactly that. It gave its employees a complete day off, which according to the organization was a well-deserved off to prevent employees from reaching the stage of burn-out. It is a way to augment employee experience by illustrating to your employees that the organization is ready to customize benefits that make sense to the workforce and not simply as a tick in the box.
Take charge today!
While most organizations anticipated the lock down and remote work to be a temporary measure, it is gradually becoming the new normal. Therefore, organizations must reinvent the wheel to create employee engagement practices that can enhance employee experience in a way that the workforce values. Organizations must also experiment with online tools and platforms that can promote behavioural nudges to help employees adapt to remote work and create a rejuvenating experience!