It is time now to shift gears from employee engagement to employee happiness
150 studies and articles, extensive interviews with over 150 executives, and analysis of over 250 global organizations are what the book “The Employee Experience Advantage: How to Win the War for Talent by Giving Employees the Workspaces they Want, the Tools they Need, and a Culture They Can Celebrate” brings to the table.
And it is on my current reading bucket list because it tackles one of the most promising topics which is a top priority for business leaders and HR professionals around the world and that is to answer the lingering question of whether employees want to show up to work versus employees need to show up to work.
In the quest for an engaged and happy workforce, it is important to rethink strategies and implement a framework in the future of work and I have tried to enlist a few ideas which I think would be pressing and critical in the days to come.
Happiness Index is the Need of the Hour
People are our greatest asset is no longer lip service. There is enough proof that engaged employees are more productive and more likely to stick around. However, it is time now to shift gears from engagement to employee happiness as the future unfolds. Given the unprecedented correlation between happiness and business outcome, the pertinent question is – what can organizations do to augment the happiness level of an employee?
In my opinion, while we continue our focus on engagement, there are several methods we can adopt to genuinely create an environment for our people not just to thrive but to mushroom, flourish and grow happily. A few of these are being authentic in all interactions, finding out what energizes them at work, what they visualize as a nourishing culture to boost productivity, what can organization do to make them progress towards their goal, and finally foster gratitude.
In Action: Strength assessment training and draw a vision board where employees will write their best possible future at the workplace.
Collaboration, Hybrid, and Automation Take the First Row
Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trends Index report is clearly an eye-opener. 53% of employees are more likely to prioritize health and wellbeing overwork and 47% are more likely to put family and their personal lives first. It is important now to reorganize what works and what doesn’t for the future. The future is brewing towards collaboration in a virtual environment.
The entire substratum of innovation and excellence includes small and large groups of employees reaching out to each other and collaborating to discuss ideas. Hence, it is imperative for organizations to break the silos and make the workplace fluid.
With digital transformation reconstructing every facet of the contemporary workplace and with hybrid as the new working pattern, the run-of-the-mill workspace has to fundamentally and radically change in response to employees’ needs.
In Action: Integrating emerging social and digital technologies into day-to-day operations to ensure the perfect blend of physical and virtual.
Permeation of Customer-Centric Philosophy
Very beautifully put across by Dave Ulrich, instead of being an employer of choice, organizations should strive to be an employer of employees whom customers would choose and, in some cases, do choose.
Hence, it is increasingly becoming important to focus on customer experience and value by embracing an organization-wide, customer-centric approach. When it comes to engaging employees across the entire life cycle, it is very important for organizations to position them as game changers in the customer experience strategy right from onboarding.
In Action: Imparting trainings to shift the course of HR from an internal customer archetype to making it relevant in the context of bolstered value to the end-customer experience.
Empathic Listening will Continue to Reign
Amidst a highly dynamic and fast-moving world, having the ability to understand the needs of people and being aware of their feelings and thoughts is a vital leadership competency. Thoughtful questions, active listening, providing a safe space, and cultivating compassion will go a long way in building trust, making better decisions, enhance team coherence, boost well-being and improve customer service.
In Action – Stephen Covey’s mantra, real relationships are created, and real solutions are found when people are willing to listen with the intent to understand.
Understanding Turnover Costs
It is time to move the dial and understand that employee turnover will be an increasing trend in the future as well. The chain of Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting, Moonlighting, and Gig working is not here to stop. There will be convalescent forces captivating employees away as the pool of potential employers’ is on the rise.
These factors will lead to a surge in turnover rates, and it becomes predominantly important what we do to curb this trend. While factors such as advertising and recruitment costs, relocation costs, onboarding and training costs, and skilling costs are easier to assimilate, what actually needs comprehension is the soft costs of turnover.
In Action: Managers need to have methodical and regular conversations with their teams about their intent to stay and what actions they should take to retain them. Regular talent reviews should be conducted to understand how retention risk and growth of their teams change over time. Exit surveys are mandatory to build brand ambassadors.
Employee engagement has been consistently cited as the crux of human capital and business and it is now time for a breakthrough to create a workforce that is always ready and eager to take the organization to the next level.