Transforming the Virtual Employee Experience in WFA Model
In the face of a global crisis, workforce transformation has become the biggest talking point, forcing organizations to consider employee wellbeing than never before. Employee wellbeing is already in such a fragile state, the frequent changes organizations will need to make over the next few years will undoubtedly have a large-scale impact on the employee experience.
“Next few years organizations will be dealing with changes at large scale addressing employee wellbeing and nurturing the employee experience.”
The quick changes to the employee experience brought on by complete lockdowns reduced business travel and continued work from anywhere. Employee experience is very critical with re-introduction to a newly designed workplace with social distancing norms during Back to Office situation. Employees will also experience changes in company budgets and restructures, which will significantly affect their morale and wellbeing.
Trust, Transparency, and Communication
People are experiencing unprecedented levels of disruption in their homes and communities, as well as in their jobs. The silver lining in all of this is that the organizations are stepping up in critical areas. Organizational responses are having a tangible impact on employees.
By being readily available and helping employees give meaning to a crisis, organizations can build employee resilience and social capital with their people. Leaders should help connect employees to the organization and to one another and can help enhance social connection and affiliation—not just formally, but also by allowing informal and organic conversations to emerge.
When changes need to be made within the organization, the leaders should step up and have more meaningful interactions and meetings with the teams this is so important during times of change as multiple studies have found that continual communication is a leading factor in successful change.
Organizations should strive to build on the trust they‘ve earned during a crisis. Here are the 4 important actions that the organizations can take:
- Make it Credible: Engage employees with town halls, pulse surveys, have trusted leaders / external speakers emphatically talk to employees on what employees are going through. Use data to analyze related information and communicate back to the employees regularly
- Make it Feasible: Act quickly on prioritized items instead of transformative solutions and the leaders should take responsibility to accelerate the change. Create digital channels for employees to get engaged.
- Make it Sustainable: Develop a plan to embed changes beyond the crisis. Communicate and engage employees on the open-ended changes made as the crisis is not time-bound.
- Make it Personal: Find creative ways to use advance analytics, behavioral science, and digital technology and put employees in charge of their own journey; tailor interventions to individual contexts and evolving needs
Prioritize Wellbeing and Workforce Effectiveness
Job security and personal finances were what concerned employees most and this concern to continues for years while our economies get back on track. It’s important that organizations maintain this commitment to wellbeing while they continue to go through change.
Organizations have done well in addressing immediate safety and stability concerns and during these times the acknowledging employee efforts as opposed to just focus inward on the business is critical to employee engagement, well-being, and effectiveness. Organizations that have been building social capital during the earlier phases of the crisis will be in better positions than others.
Building a foundation of involvement, fairness, respect, and equality can help employees adapt to new ways of working and interacting. As we face a future of vastly different working models and team structures, building such an integrated culture now will only benefit organizations in the future.
As companies move to re-open offices in a phased manner and support hybrid environments to keep employees connected and productive, organizations need to rethink investments around core areas such as workplace productivity, security, and asset modernization. Investments in provisioning employees with remote access technologies that enabled them to connect and work from any location was a key component of their workforce continuity strategy.
Creating a sense of belongingness or a sense of purpose is the key. This should be the driving force given its overarching impact on all aspects of work and business. A sense of purpose can help employees navigate high levels of uncertainty and change and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the highest-value activities. Leaders should focus on making a positive difference in people’s lives by demonstrating awareness, vulnerability, and empathy. In communications, leaders need to strike the right balance between realism about the challenges ahead and confidence that the organization will find its way through the crisis.
At some point, the crisis will pass and organizations that set a course focused on employee experience will create a meaningful impact now and well into the future.