Over the past year, many things have changed when it comes to creating a meaningful engagement model for employees. As countries across the globe are going through different waves of the coronavirus pandemic, employees are continued to be advised to work from home and that has a huge impact on how companies interact with their employees.
Organizations are compelled to look at each and every issue and decision from the human angle first. If they aren’t, they should. Furthermore, they had to quickly transition to remotely managing their employees’ physical and mental wellbeing, keep them interested in work, ensure a healthy work-life balance and also provide them with a sense of security. The importance of well-being was being discussed even before the pandemic but the crisis cast a new light on the concerns employees might face when subjected to risk. There was a pressing need for dynamic solutions that can better support the human strengths and enable the larger organization to flourish. As a result, new trends have emerged that represent how organizations are cultivating their employees’ experience virtually. Here are some of those trends we think are setting new directions for work.
Integration of wellbeing into work
Employees appreciate their organizations making proactive steps to help them manage work efficiently. Blending wellbeing initiatives into work itself can actually help organizations achieve quality and innovation. Some examples of such initiatives are:
- Building digital wellness and productivity by preparing work schedules so employees can focus on what’s important.
- Capacity management at individual and team levels. True teamwork in an organization shows what’s achievable when certain teams need more support from their colleagues in other areas of the business, in order to keep the heart of the business pumping.
- Job crafting is a way for employees to improve their lives at work in several important ways, as well as make valuable contributions to the workplace. It encourages individual employees to consider how they act, interact and think about their work and to redesign and personalize aspects of their job in ways that fosters engagement, job satisfaction, resilience and thriving. Everyone is different, and it is difficult for organizations to create optimal job designs for every individual employee. But with room to craft, job designs are not fixed, they can be adapted over time to accommodate employees’ unique and ever-changing backgrounds, motives and preferences. It can help organizations to continuously chart growth paths based on employee strengths and interests.
Bringing out strength with empathy
Employee experience determines how well or poorly an organization is performing. It speaks about the tangible and intangible investments made by each organization towards its employees in order to turn their journey into an experience. Creating an impactful experience for an employee has multiple benefits for both the employees as well as the organization. Building a sustainable future, reconfiguring and integrating well-being at an individual, team and organizational level is vital.
On the back of a growing pandemic, COVID task forces are crucial. In times of panic, employees know whom to contact which reduces much of the confusion and stress. The task force can take charge of various activities such as:
- Creating a separate 24/7 digital platform to address COVID-related queries for employees in order to prioritise employee health and well-being.
- Expand the existing medical insurances to cover COVID and provide fresh insurances to those in need.
- Provide each employee with necessities such as sanitisers, oximeters and other essentials as part of a COVID care package by the organization.
- Provide a database of all important contact information which can be personalised to each employee’s location.
- Lastly, providing an additional COVID leave policy to provide employees ample amount of time to recover before they return to work.
Expanding organizational focus on mental wellbeing has become equally important. Some steps organizations may take to support their employees’ mental wellbeing are:
- Wellness webinars, sessions by doctors/healers and certified trainers.
- This could also include anxiety and stress management sessions, nutritionist sessions, physiotherapy sessions, life coaching sessions, parenting sessions, women’s wellness sessions, ergonomics awareness sessions, diabetes awareness sessions, child wellness sessions, COVID pre-vaccination clinical sessions and basic life support (BLS) sessions etc.
- To uplift employees’ morale, various entertainment sessions can be conducted on a daily/ weekly/monthly basis. This helps employees from different departments meet each other virtually and have engaging sessions. These programs also serve as great way for employees to bond, irrespective of their position in the company.
Technology for the people
Technology is an indispensable part of work today and can be used in ways previously unimaginable to accelerate work outputs and achieve new outcomes. When integrated well with HR, it can have a positive impact on an employee’s entire work journey. For example:
- Virtual on-boarding packages for new recruits help in bringing them on-board remotely and also execute induction sessions on how the organization works, the work-culture, work-life balance and the ethics followed.
- A performance evaluation platform helps managers to monitor and evaluate an employee’s work. The goal is to create an environment where people can perform to the best of their abilities to produce the highest-quality work most efficiently and effectively.
- Virtual town halls bring people together from across the organization to celebrate company wins and boost morale. They give department leaders a chance to speak and share key learnings. The Q& A gives employees a change to engage with senior management.
Performance evaluation platform and Virtual town halls
Overall, whether employees work from home or work at the office, the benefit of keeping employees happy is imperative for organizations. Employee experience is not just about keeping employees happy but it’s a way for leaders to help an employee grow personally and professionally, to guide them in the right direction, to enable them to achieve their passion and to foster an ability in employees to go beyond their capabilities and contribute to the organization and to self-growth.