The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t change the course of the employee experience, it accelerated from years to weeks. As technology and social norms have evolved so has the way we work and how we work. A few decades ago, working remotely or from home was thought of with some disdain, the stereotype was that people “don’t work” when they are remote. Equally important is that we’ve become a global community working across geographies and time zones driving the demand for flexible work arrangements. As technology enabled us to be tethered to our company networks at a distance, things started to change, we could send out emails and update our colleagues without delay. This was the first breakthrough and subsequent advances in technology and mobile proliferation enable flexibility in working anywhere anytime. With COVID-19 video conferencing becoming front and center in the workplace evolution, one can argue it’s been a revolution.
Leaders need to focus on becoming the “best” workplace through development of their culture and understanding that every employee is the foundation for success. Everyone needs to embrace diversity and inclusion, employee empowerment, collaboration, respect, and transparency to create a culture of acceptance and personal growth. COVID-19 created a new normal that will influence the future new normal, a globally connected workforce working the way we want to work. Due to COVID-19, companies transitioned to 100% work from home in just a few weeks for all their employees providing them with safe and flexible work arrangements. This would not have happened nearly as fast under normal circumstances. Despite this seismic shift many companies made the pivot without disruption to their projects and more importantly their customers. It is now commonplace to connect with employees regularly through zoom meetings, leadership updates, and fun virtual activities throughout the year like a DJ night and trivia nights. We are all a truly virtual community.
Another aspect of the changing workplace is the ability to collaborate globally to develop and launch new products. Traditional modes of work have been somewhat of a drag on a true collaborative innovation environment, but that barrier no longer exists. Internal platforms enable global collaboration for employees to develop new products and some of us hold global “Ideathons” or innovation contests for employees. People work as closely together 5,000 miles apart as they do 3 feet apart. For some of us this new modus operandi may be intimidating but it shouldn’t be. As we adapt, we will also adapt to working differently which will improve employee satisfaction and productivity. In fact, during the transition to work from home people have shared they are more productive, maybe it is due to removing 2-4 hours of a stressful commute or perhaps it is due to a better work-life balance.
Digitalizing employee experience
What we really need to focus on and prepare the ground for the coming new normal is digitalizing employee experience, across each touchpoint of their journey. From the very first connect of applying as a candidate, to on boarding the organization, and continuing a successful and productive career, companies should create a comprehensive digitized experience. This is not only good for the paperwork! The outcomes of a digital EX platform will directly impact productivity, performance, and loyalty in the organization, giving them a major competitive edge. It will influence the EVP by creating an evolved culture of flexibility and freedom for employees and put growth and development into their hands.
Digitalizing EX can also help the company understand employee pulse by using data engineering and analytics. How are the various initiatives working? Are employees across various locations, departments, and levels, getting the same experiences and feeling happy with their jobs? Employees post their reviews and opinions on several platforms. Using data and technology, we will be able to arrive at insights about employees and the state of EX in the company and take informed decisions.
Know more about what’s new in employee experience at the People Matters Employee Experience India Conference on 10th June, 2021. Register Now!