HR 2020: Shaping the Employee Experience fit for the future

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Companies in the year 2020 will see focus coming back to, much needed, ‘employee experience’. Off late, the focus has been more on Agility, Technology, Automation that left an important quadrant of employee experience untouched. I strongly feel that the efforts to refine and enhance the employee experience will continue to be a top area of focus for leaders everywhere in the year we are soon stepping in.

Connect Emotionally

Businesses have historically existed to generate profits and return value to its shareholders. But data is now proving that the best-run organizations do more—they invest in their employees and communities to build long-term value.

“Employees’ intent to stay at organizations has been steadily declining for about 3 to 5 years now. Because employers are challenged to gain the commitment and trust of their employees, connecting with employees at a more emotional level will be a focus for organizations in T20.”

Employees today value working for companies where they desire a connection to work of purpose alongside people they enjoy—and when they find it, they give more effort and are more likely to stay at an organization. Organizations are also working on creating a stronger employee-value proposition, one that emotionally connects employees to something bigger than themselves, and one that helps employees more clearly understand all the ways they fit (or don’t) in the organization. This is being supported by:

  • More company events, round tables, etc to communicate with employees (show transparency and build trust) and to create opportunities for connection amongst employees
  • More recognition of behaviours and actions aligned to the organization’s values and of meaningful work

Upskill and continuously re-skill yourself

With the fast-changing business, technology, and employee-dynamics, to stay relevant, it is extremely important for one to keep upskilling herself/himself. Furthermore, the shift from fixed job titles and detailed job descriptions to skill-based, ever-evolving roles are reflected in how the learning space evolves.

Helping employees upskill and acquire new skills is becoming a top priority for modern HR departments. Infact, the learning space is one of the fastest-growing areas in HR technology that plays an important role in the organization’s organic growth.

Empathy

As an organization, empathy comes with understanding your employees and what matters to them. This is best achieved by allowing them to share what’s happening in their world. Most people want to work in caring workplaces where they feel accepted and as a valued member of the team. One way (to improve empathy) is to make space and time for people to bring their whole selves and share their joys and sorrows as a team. This takes an amazing amount of trust. Start by having conversations about dignity and compassion. What does it mean to treat colleagues with dignity and compassion? What does it mean to treat customers with dignity and compassion? Once a ‘dignity and compassion’ mindset has taken root, you will find levels of empathy have naturally increased as you make caring a regular part of the workplace conversation and expectations.

Employee Survey – ‘A must’

Peter Drucker, the founder of modern management, famously said, “What gets measured, gets managed.” As we progress rapidly in this new economy and focus on tapping into employees’ sense of purpose, a set of new metrics for measuring employee sentiment is sure to emerge. While methods for capturing a fulfilling employee experience will vary by organization, they should aim to evaluate how well employees feel their work provides the three foundational elements of fulfilment: a sense of belonging, creating value beyond oneself, and personal growth. Considering how well your current survey addresses these items is the first crucial step to capturing data that will enable your organization to act towards a more meaningful experience for employees.

Reduce eMail Overdose

How many emails did you receive today? Of which, how many emails did you not open today? Better yet, what’s your unread email count in your inbox? I think everyone is feeling the frustration of email overload. I’m excited that the case for email being the primary channel of communication with employees is receding. It gives us the opportunity to be more thoughtful and tailor communications to provide the right information at the right time in the right place.  

At the heart of it, putting the employee first when communicating to them should be the goal. What will help them do their job, engage with your message and receive the information you must share? It’s a challenge in large organizations where each BU/Location/Function/Team/Client has something important to share. One of the best ways to minimize emails yet share complete information is ‘Weekly Updates’ and or ‘Monthly Newsletter’.

Make Technology Adoption Easy

The HR technology landscape is an ecosystem. There’s no end-to-end solution within the Employee Experience space, let alone the entire market. The employees using HR technology in the organizations have consumer-grade expectations and expect it in the flow of their work. It should not be too complicated for an employee yet solve organizations’ purpose of having it in the first place.

As the market continues to grow and get more specialized—and as organizations begin to increasingly rely on multiple vendors for their HR technology suite—it will be crucial for these vendors to meet these rapidly changing market expectations and make it as easy as possible for companies and employees to adopt their technology.

Make employee Exit also a lifetime experience

Often, we become insensitive when its time to let go of an employee. I have personally experienced employees coming back to you because we not just gave them the best of culture and experience while they were working with us but also when they were leaving. Even till the last day, make them feel special and wanted in the organization and make genuine retention efforts. These homecoming cases eventually become your company’s ambassadors and employees have all the reasons to give their best with faster outcomes as they hit the ground running. 

Summary

The efforts organizations take to evaluate the moments of impact in the employee experience, to respond to the needs that employees are vocalizing and the efforts companies are making to humanize the way they support their employees will continue to be top of mind for leaders in 2020. Strategic planning, thoughtful messaging, user-friendly technology, and regular measurement combine to create employee experiences will help your company build a cohesive, engaging work environment where employees and the company alike can thrive.

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Harjas Singh Popli has over 16 years work experience as an HR professional and currently he is Head –Human Resources at Network Solutions Pvt. Ltd. - An IBM Company. As a business HR leader, with a strong mix of commercial acumen, interpersonal and creative competencies that underpin hi s success in solving complex business problems, he thrive to working on enterprise strategy, tackling challenging start up or turn-around strategies, with a holistic approach to HR and Business covering specializations comprising: Performance Management, Compensation & Benefits, Employee Engagement, Change Management, Talent & Leadership Management, and Service Delivery.

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