Article: Rethinking employee experience for the post-pandemic world

Employee Engagement

Rethinking employee experience for the post-pandemic world

With evolving social interactions and the effects of the Great Resignation still being felt across a host of different industries, a renewed focus on employee engagement answers the questions raised by an increasingly distributed, fragmented, and less connected workforce.
Rethinking employee experience for the post-pandemic world

The past two years have been a great test of agility for HR leaders globally. In addition to guiding workforces in adapting to unprecedented changes and managing diverse work arrangements, HR leaders must also handle the challenges related to attracting and retaining talent. It is evident that the role of HR leaders has significantly expanded in terms of scope and responsibility.

The pandemic has resulted in a new normal where the focus of HR leaders is shifting quickly from managing remote or hybrid workforces to increasingly strategic initiatives such as driving talent strategies and programmes to accelerate organisational transformation for positive business outcomes. According to the Workday global survey, ‘Closing the Acceleration Gap: Toward Sustainable Digital Transformation’, 64% of HR leaders expressed confidence to enact reforms that would make work better for all.  For this to happen, technology must play a greater role in creating work environments that would set organisations up for long-term success.

Technology key to enriching employee experience

The same survey also found that although HR leaders are confident in driving organisational change and are aware of how technology can make this happen, 43% of HR leaders are not confident in their team’s ability to utilise technology effectively for optimum performance.

Across most industries, a company’s greatest asset is its people, and technology can be an invaluable tool in empowering them. It is widely acknowledged that a positive employee experience can impact the level of trust workers have and, ultimately, improve performance and retention. This, in turn, impacts the customer experience, correlates positively on the revenues, and helps increase a company’s bottom line. As champions of change, HR leaders must seize the opportunity to create the best possible employee experience and enable their organisations to become innovation hubs. 

To do so, HR leaders must understand the motivating factors unique to their organisations and leverage data analytics to better understand employee sentiments and guide senior management in making informed and timely decisions. While a trial-and-error approach might work in smaller, close-knit organisations, data-driven insights are necessary to surface patterns and guide decision-making in medium and large-sized organisations. Having real-time insights once again highlights the need for adaptable technology to meet the demands of HR in a post-pandemic world. 

On a broader scale, the organisation can take targeted actions to care for their people in a way that will drive personal growth, boost productivity, and support them in moments that matter. Together, these deliver an employee experience which meets the evolving needs of each employee, resulting in happier, more engaged employees who feel proud to be part of their organisation.

Insight-driven employee upskilling

Amid the Great Resignation, stalled career growth has been identified as one of the primary reasons for employees leaving a job. Workday’s recent insight, ‘Employee Expectations Report 2022’ found that professional growth was a common theme in feedback provided by 1.8 million employees across over 1,000 companies surveyed. 

The onus is on companies to help their employees develop relevant skills in areas related to career growth or upskilling, for which skills management tools have been a ‘quick fix’. However, the efficacy of these tools in managing employee skills are limited.

Instead of tapping on skills management tools which work best for individual employees, companies should begin evolving to a skills-based approach in building and developing their workforce. Holistic in nature, a skills-based approach views skills adoption as fundamental in running an organisation and achieving business goals. To make this happen, having the right digital HR solution is essential to enable this transformation. 

By effectively merging skills data with HR data, business leaders can gain greater insights into how the company can better achieve strategic initiatives. Having a Human Capital Management (HCM) system infused with a skills ontology, therefore, provides organisations with an effective management strategy that adopts a whole-of-organisation approach towards employee upskilling.

Leverage listening tools strategically

With evolving social interactions because of the pandemic, and the effects of the Great Resignation still being felt across a host of different industries, a renewed focus on employee engagement answers the questions raised by an increasingly distributed, fragmented, and less connected workforce. 

Rapid changes in the world of work requires more than ad-hoc surveys to get to the heart of driving meaningful employee engagement. The ability to understand and interpret employee sentiment continuously rather than through occasional annual or semi-annual surveys will be a game-changer for companies as they seek to build deeper and more authentic connections with their employees. Having an intelligent ‘Voice of the Employee’ platform would enable HR leaders to better understand the opinions and evolving expectations of employees, act on these immediately, and deliver engaging experiences to build a truly agile and resilient organisational culture.

Future-proof your workforce today

Since the start of the pandemic, business leaders have started to recalibrate their human capital management strategies. According to Workday’s global survey on digital acceleration, around 1 in 3 HR leaders have noted that they are on track or ahead of their industry peers in sourcing talent their organisation needs to support various new initiatives. 

Many are also making investments in new technology to ensure workforce skills evolve in tandem with their organisation’s needs. 45% of business executives are prioritising investments in technology to unify financial, labour, and operational data, while 37% of business leaders plan to further invest in improving organisational access to quality data.  

The pandemic has created opportunities to reshape the way organisations conduct their business operations. A post-COVID, future-ready workforce will need to be highly agile to minimise skills gaps and maximise returns on hiring investment to better align with corporate objectives. At the same time, HR leaders will need to find improved ways to listen to employees, lead with empathy, and rely on the right technologies to support and engage employees more effectively, resulting in happier employees and a stronger organisation. 

With that in mind, it is more crucial than ever to leverage technology to enhance the employee experience in a post-pandemic world.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Strategic HR, #GuestArticle, #WorkTech

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