Article: Managing employee experience in times of crisis: How to do it right?

Employee Relations

Managing employee experience in times of crisis: How to do it right?

Kartik Krishnamurthy, Managing Director, Cornerstone OnDemand Asia shares how companies in high growth economies are managing the experience of their employees and ensuring unparalleled EX in times of crisis.
Managing employee experience in times of crisis: How to do it right?

We live in a world of unprecedented transformation and there is no denying that COVID-19 is acting as a catalyst for change across geopolitical, economic, social, personal and corporate spaces. The number one job for leaders today is to ensure their organizations are not left behind in this era of disruption. Companies are concerned about the well being of their people and are highly focused on creating a radically different experience for their people at work and. People too are bringing different levels of expectations to work- a place where they can learn, develop, grow and feel safe. 


We are also seeing the potential of technology and its impact on people’s lives in a meaningful way, we now have the opportunity to rethink technology from ground up and focus on the individual and their experiences at work. We are at the cusp of an exciting new phase and era which is seeing accelerated digital transformation while technology has also infused a lot of anxiety and is at an all-time high. 

What needs to be done to make our companies successful? 

Companies and industries will need to shift in ways not anticipated before. Lack of availability of key skills has been steadily on the rise and organizations need to assess their positions with regards to technology change and the availability of key skills in their workforce. 

While we are focusing on transformation, we are not helping our people enough to deal with change which has resulted in a crisis for people at work as we are living in an era of unprecedented levels of anxiety and stress at the workplace. According to the Human Capital trends 2019 report by Deloitte, the biggest reason why people leave jobs is the inability to learn and grow and the biggest focus area for leaders should be to invest sufficiently in the workforce and give them the opportunity to cope up with the change. 

In the current scenario, many organizations are conducting their business in survival mode and are operating in a fixed model, they haven't developed the ability to be agile as the world demands which is leading to very low levels of innovation and engagement. Today the need may be to just survive and remain operational, but things will change fast and organizations need to be ready to make the shift from a surviving organization to thriving organizations as captured in the  Mercer study on Thriving in a Disrupted World. 

The global pace of technology change is going to accelerate and we need to focus on cultivating adapting humans who are confidently able to navigate through continuous change and keep growing. Traditionally, companies and the talent community have relied on IQ or the literal capacity of knowledge but it is known to make people resist change. As we evolved from IQ to EQ, the Emotional Quotient helps employees handle change and ambiguity but it is reactive. 

What most successful and thriving organizations are doing today is to look at the Adaptive Quotient or high capacity for change. AQ enables people to embrace and accept change as a place of opportunity, we can help people accelerate from IQ to EQ and ultimately AQ to make the move from surviving to thriving organizations. 

What are the common traits of AQ?

Most folks with AQ have the following traits optimism, curiosity, resilience, beginner’s mindset, bias to action and being resourceful

If we go back to look at the history of the HR Tech industry and as it boomed-from focusing on automation of administrative processes in the 2000s, to moving to unify all the processes to be more seamless, it has been evolving constantly. Post amalgamating all processes under one umbrella, we had the era of engagement and the explosion of innovative engagement solutions.

The current phase is experience, how can we holistically look at the experience of an employee at work, and as the talent community focuses on automation, integration, and engagement, our employees are looking at consumer technologies everyday in the form of OTT platforms, cab-hailing services, food delivery, online shopping and various other touchpoints. The need is to augment it in their work-life and make the adoption just as necessary and intuitive.  

Cornerstone has abided by their aim to create a journey of frictionless, personalized and contextual work experiences where people are increasingly effective and engaged. Frictionless means to ensure content, technology comes to them and helps them learn and the need to focus on delivering a customized experience. The need of the hour is to provide them the technology that brings them what is relevant to their daily jobs and helps them upskill as per their needs. 

Talent experience is key to understanding the employee’s perspective. Research shows that your people want 4 basic things at their workplace. 

  • To develop skills continuously to stay relevant in the ever-changing environment
  • To have a clear path to success and to be coached towards improvement
  • To be heard without bias and to be valued
  • To have work-life balance

Top 3 things organizations need to prioritize to ensure better EX

  • Micro-moments: Organizations need to think of talent experiences as a journey chosen by the employee. Micro-moments that matter in an employee’s journey are not streamlined or linear, they are multidimensional processes that allow employees to explore career opportunities. Look for these micro-moments so that the experiences you create for your workforce are holistic, meaningful, personalized and contextualized in the current scenario. 
  • Skilling right: Companies need to double down on skills, for the current jobs and cross-collaboration skills to excel in the future and invest in modern tools and technologies in different markets to help employees be productive. Assess the employees in different functions and different geographies and treat them and their needs uniquely and not follow the one size fits all approach
  • Experiences on a shoestring budget: It is the small things that matter. Leaders need to connect with the employees, it is all up to the leaders to create those micro-moments that help their employees feel a sense of belonging and bring out the best experiences for our talent. As organizations break down what every workday looks like for an employee, the key is to be curious, empathetic, and avoid making assumptions to provide the experience that they need.

“Simplification is the holy grail” - Kartik Krishnamurty


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Topics: Employee Relations, #COVID-19

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