Article: If 2020 was the year of disruption, 2021 is the year of transition: Ankur Sharma, Aye Finance

Employee Engagement

If 2020 was the year of disruption, 2021 is the year of transition: Ankur Sharma, Aye Finance

In the disrupted world, employee experience extends to employees’ homes and their families, believes Ankur Sharma, Head - HR of Aye Finance.
If 2020 was the year of disruption, 2021 is the year of transition: Ankur Sharma, Aye Finance

2020 was a year where organizations had to seriously relook at employee experience. It was a year that redefined their outlook towards EX in a big way, forcing them to tune up and listen empathetically to employees and act fast. While 2021 brought hope with the authorization and dissemination of the first COVID-19 vaccines, yet it is safe to say we are not going to the old ways of working anytime soon. This means organizations have a chance to seriously relook at the culture they are building and the experience they are going to deliver in the second year of the pandemic.

So what is next for employee experience? How can we redefine it for our new world of work, a big part of which has transitioned to hybrid work? In an exclusive interaction with us, Ankur Sharma, Head - HR of Aye Finance, shares what does employee experience in the new hybrid reality looks like.

How do we reboot Employee Experience and tune-up for success in our changed world of work?

To deliver a better experience in 2021 and beyond, HR professionals need to analyze what their employees need, or more specifically what their employees do not have access to. In the pandemic era, people have basic problems that need to be solved – staying safe, staying healthy, keeping family secured, having the right information, gaining access to extended networks when needed, doing meaningful jobs, adapting to hybrid workplaces, staying connected and de-stressing.

What does employee experience in the new hybrid reality of work look like? What are some of the key defining parameters?

In the disrupted world, employee experience extends to employees’ homes and their families.

The conventional tools used to curate employee experience have also transformed into digital interventions. In the era of teleworking and remote teams, employee experience also encompasses frequent digital appreciation, more virtual social interactions, occasional catch-ups in person, continual communication on business updates, seamless access to peers/managers, repeated assurance on job security, good increments, empathy in colleagues and wellness support.

Benefits have undergone a major change as work models changed and employees need different benefits in a post-pandemic world of 2020. How will organizations reimagine benefits for a hybrid world and technology’s role in that?

Benefits are now expected to cover far more than what they used to. With greater risks and eventualities that are increasingly getting unpredictable, it is a marker of culture and value system for an organization to constantly upgrade its benefits basket. An example here is Aye Finance that has been rated a Great Place to Work again in 2021. Apart from trust in the leadership, manager quality, peer camaraderie, and work culture, a key ingredient to our workplace happiness is Aye’s basket of benefits that has seen recent additions like additional COVID insurance beyond group health insurance, unlimited sick leaves for people, a benevolent fund to provide financial support to the families, continuous work from home, reimbursement of vaccine cost, partnerships with healthcare providers, free doctor consultations, reimbursement of expenses for the purchase of COVID prevention equipment, providing jobs to family members of deceased employees, sponsoring life insurance for the family and much more. 

The hallmark of a good organization is its support to people beyond times of distress. Aye Leadership has decided that even our COVID-specific benefits must extend beyond the pandemic and set a precedent for a better understanding of wellness benefits at the workplace.

Wellbeing as a focus area for organizations was majorly thrust into prominence for all organizations in 2020. What are the key trends that are emerging in 2021?

Once marginalized, wellness was the core HR agenda in 2020. In 2020, the focus was on mental wellness, stress management, fun activities, fitness workshops, preventing COVID, and providing COVID insurance net to families. After the onset of the second wave, while the 2020 trends continue to be seen, the focus of organizations has expanded to providing COVID treatment facilities, vaccination, supporting families of deceased employees, and psychological counselling. 

On the business front, the New Normal of 2020 is now looking at the Next Normal of 2021.

If 2020 was the year of disruption, 2021 is the year of transition. Evolving consumer behaviour towards digital shopping, doorstep services, remote teams, product portfolio reshuffle, CAPEX revaluation, work from home as a frugal operating model, virtual IT infrastructure and fungible talent pool are some of the business trends that are driving the business as well as people agenda in 2021. 

Employee experience in 2021 requires continuous hearing and feedback from the organization rather than once in a quarter or once in six months surveys. How can organizations build a continuous approach to EX?

The disrupted world is changing rapidly and all these changes impact people’s personal and professional lives. More people than ever are making life-altering career decisions now considering previously unheard-of factors like a spike in COVID cases, lockdowns, and health-related insecurity. Hence, it is essential that today’s managers behave as coaches to make their people deliver on the new job specifications as well as gurus to alleviate anxiety or fear. 

While the conventional formal tools to evaluate engagement levels will continue to play a crucial role for a long time, leaders and managers need to stay ‘always-connected’ to their people as more facets to engagement emerge. Feedback conversations have already given way to daily VCs and chat sessions that are not only continuous but also ongoing. This pandemic has proved that amorphous connect has a direct impact on motivation and productivity. 


Know more about what’s new in employee experience at the People Matters Employee Experience India Conference on 10th June, 2021. Register Now!

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Topics: Employee Engagement, #PMEXConf, #PMEXIN

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