Building the 'people connect' virtually in uncertain times
The current pandemic has fundamentally changed the way companies in all sectors and regions do business. Prior to the Covid era till end of 2019, while companies were implementing tech measures with a balance of Tech N Touch but ever since Q1, 2020 we have seen the balance shift dramatically in favour of Tech N Tech only. It was an imperative need probably.
As companies analyze their business priorities, resources, policies and strategy, no analysis can change the perspective that people are still the greatest assets that any business can have. With the industry adjusting to the new normal as remote working becomes a norm, the lines between work and home have blurred. Even as we make our way into the new year, amidst this ‘new normal’, technology will continue to serve as the dependable medium that enables organizations to seamlessly engage with colleagues & customers.
Technology is an enabler that has helped organizations in creating memorable employee experiences. At every leg of the employee life cycle right from entry to exit, it has helped transform processes to a virtual environment. Face-to-face interactions have switched to Zoom and Skype calls, hiring is fully virtual, even induction of new joiners has shifted to a virtual medium, and so is the Performance Appraisal process, Succession Planning, Compensation, Benefits Management and Employee Engagement. These employee experiences in turn have resulted into positive customer experiences.
The future of HR will be enabled by technology, at every leg of the employee cycle- from entry to exit. In line with this, organizations across sectors must gear up to welcome this shift towards an automated and digitally driven environment. HR teams must work hand-in-hand with IT teams in line with the new normal at the workplace.
This year, we also witnessed a surge in virtual celebrations, contests and engagement activities for employees as well as their families. Such workplace activities have allowed us to engage not only our employees but our employees’ family members as well. In fact, adopting virtual engagement practices will allow companies to regularly interact with their employees. These interactions give a great insight into the lives of the employees, creating many special moments together, and also enable organizations to devise new programs and policies to keep employees motivated through such difficult times. This level of employee engagement amidst the continued social distancing norms has been viable due to the presence of various digital platforms.
Taking this a step further, in 2021, companies must look to utilize an increasing number of digital interfaces for team building via hobby led workshops, gamification of tasks, virtual townhalls and even e-water cooler hangout sessions between employees after hours. This will ensure high employee motivation, productivity and retention rates.
Employee wellbeing has also become a pivotal factor in the current scenario. This is primarily because the pandemic has caused an increase in the stress levels of employees due to the blurring lines between personal and professional space. To tackle this, companies are organizing several webinars on health and wellbeing related topics, including guided yoga and meditation techniques & financial wellness for the employees, so that they stay healthy and positive during this pandemic. Hence, in the coming year, HR professionals should continue to promote employee wellbeing by collaborating with mental health professionals for virtual employee consultations and encouraging open conversations on the theme, amongst teams.
In 2021, the role of HR leaders will be more strategic in terms of enhancing employee experience. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in tandem with internal applications are being used by many organizations to create holistic systems and processes to enable a seamless virtual experience for employees, in this new normal. Adoption of these new age methods will provide organizations with a platform to stay connected in the virtual world.
As we transition into the next year, Digitalization, Employee Engagement and Employee Wellbeing will be the “key enablers” and will continue to play an important role in shaping employee experience.