In a recent blog, based on The Conference Board survey results, we saw that the greatest internal matter weighing on business leaders’ minds in 2020 is “attracting and retaining top talent.” Retention has, after all, long been a major concern among organizations. Compounding matters, it’s an employee’s market, which makes it all the more challenging for employers to stop losing great people.
With these factors in mind, it’s important to consider how your organization can enhance the employee experience in 2020. Below, we’ll discuss a few strategies that will help you make strides in the employee experience in the months that lie ahead.
How to upgrade your employee experience this year
1. Ensure that employee wellbeing is a high priority across the board
Today’s employees are confronted with highly demanding lifestyles, including their work environment. Everything is moving faster, and we’re expected to do more in less time; we’re “always on,” and many individuals struggle to find balance. Oftentimes, an employee experience includes pressure to prioritize work over wellness for the sake of keeping up, meeting deadlines, getting ahead, or even keeping their job.
When organizations help an employee to look after their health and wellness, they speak loud volumes about how much they value them and their contribution to the company. Feeling appreciated is key to the employee experience. Also, healthier individuals are generally happier, more engaged, and more productive workers.
Organizations looking to prioritize wellbeing can create a great employee experience by:
- Encouraging teams to clock out on time and maintain their sleep, downtime, exercise, and diet, especially while working from home
- Improving their work environment with ergonomic furniture in the office, gym benefits nearby, and healthy food options on site if possible
- Encouraging people to take sick leave when they are genuinely sick and ensuring that their important work is taken care of while they recover
- Offering recognition and gratitude when people are performing well, so they know their efforts are noticed and appreciated
- Creating a real-time feedback culture that will promote communication and improve employee engagement by helping them continuously improve
- Forecasting workloads to make sure each person is assigned a reasonable amount of work and that there isn’t a risk of burnout
2. Make room for technology that better equips employees and human resources professionals
Machine learning, AI, chatbots, virtual reality – you name it, technology is shaping every aspect of our lives, and there’s no doubt that it is drastically changing the way we get work done. Modern employees want to keep abreast of the latest developments and stay adept at engaging with current technology.
It’s therefore important from an attraction, engagement, and retention perspective to ensure that, as much as possible, you equip your employees with technology that will help them do so. It will also help them perform their jobs more efficiently, which will improve client or customer satisfaction and the overall customer experience.
When it comes to ensuring that an employee remains engaged, motivated, and connected to your company culture, modern technology also supports HR. Your HR professionals and leaders, like a chief experience officer, carry out your organization’s talent management strategy and are key to bettering employee experiences. With the right technology, they can do this at an even higher level and save time on administration so they focus even more on the individual employee experience.
Here’s a few of the ways advanced HR technology can help the employee experience:
- Making effective work assignment decisions
- Identifying skills gaps, as well as opportunities for training or mentorship
- Guiding employees in their goals and career path
- Increasing participation in learning and continuing education
- Collecting feedback and using it to improve the employee experience
3. Focus on nurturing employee soft skills through experience and teamwork
In recent years, there has been a significant shift in the focus that skills receive from organizations. While digital, computing, analytical, and technical skills took center stage for some time, other aptitudes have become more sought after. These are behavioral skills like willingness to be flexible, agile, and adaptable to change; time management skills and ability to prioritize; ability to work effectively in team environments; and the ability to communicate effectively in business contexts – to name a few.
Firstly, organizations need to recognize the changing ‘face’ of the workforce if they aim to remain relevant, attractive to employees, and effective at retaining them. They further need to nurture the skills that matter most today – and those that will be required in the future. Guiding people through the skill development they need to advance in their career, as well as improve the overall client or customer experience, will make them feel like they are adapting and succeeding in your organization.
One way to do this is by exposing employees to new opportunities that will get them to use skills outside of their day-to-day responsibilities. This can be achieved through an internal gig economy. By allowing your employees the opportunity to gain experience on projects within different departments, they’ll also be exposed to new ways of thinking, solving problems, and conceptualizing innovative ideas. In working with different teams, employees will also enhance their interpersonal skills, helping grow their soft skills further.
4. Prioritize training and development opportunities and nurture continuous learning
Modern employees want to advance – and if your organization hasn’t already made provision for training initiatives as part of its talent management strategy, you really should consider doing so to foster a better employee experience. Training isn’t solely for a new employee, and you should ensure the opportunities never really stop. Not only does training give your employees the chance to grow on an individual basis, but it shows them that you are invested in them for the long run, and value their input – and your organization will benefit too.
One of the best ways to ensure that employees are exposed to new learning opportunities that will enable them to keep their skills (and their contribution to your company) honed is through a culture of continuous learning, or microlearning. Microlearning breaks course material into easily digestible chunks and uses technology to increase employee engagement and interaction.
As an example, a training course can be much better for the employee experience if it’s broken down into five-minute learning modules that use videos, whiteboard animations, and role-based scenarios. This supports multi-device use, giving learners control over when and how they learn. It’s also cheaper to build, requires a shorter development cycle, and can be tailored or updated quickly.
5. Establish a diverse and inclusive culture that recognizes employees’ value
Employees want to be a part of an inclusive culture that allows them the space to innovate as valued and trusted employees, and to add their unique contribution to the company; one that they’re proud to be a part of and one that they can relate to. In today’s work world, that’s not always an easy feat for companies.
For one thing, the global workforce currently comprises at least four generations, and that means companies need to pay specific attention to what typically motivates each generation, what each one’s general strengths (and weaknesses) are, and how to get them all to work well together to meet organizational objectives and create a better employee experience – for everyone.
Another key area that needs to be taken into consideration when establishing an inclusive culture is the employee experience for remote workers. They need to feel like they are a part of the team even though they don’t sit in the same office. After all, remote working is one of the biggest work-related trends at the moment so it’s imperative for organizations to establish a culture that works at retaining remote workers as much as any other employee.
Revamp the employee experience by having the right HR tools on your side
As you consider the areas where your organization may need to change its employee experience to boost engagement and retention, talk to us about our advanced HR software and how it can support you in achieving your talent management aims in 2020.
FOR MORE: Check out the Employee Experience Index, created by bestselling author and speaker Jacob Morgan, and take his assessment to see where your organization scores. His initial research shows that only 6% of the original 252 global organizations were doing a good enough job of investing in the employee experience. In light of what this research shows, how do you measure up?