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  • Writer's pictureMOSH JD

Creating an Exceptional Employee Experience in a Hybrid Work World

Updated: Jan 8

"If you don't invest in employee experience, there are plenty of organizations that will." -Nerys Mutlow


employees on a virtual meeting

Since the emergence of COVID-19, there has been a substantial change in how organizations interact with their employees. Not only has there been a wider acceptance of remote or hybrid work, but it has also become the preferred option for both employers and employees in many circumstances.


Today, employees demand more than a paycheck from their job. They desire a human-centered environment where they feel genuinely valued. According to recent research conducted by Sage People, part of Sage Business Cloud and creator of a cloud-based human capital management solution, a positive workforce experience is vital to 78% of employees.


The study, based on a survey performed in August 2017 of 3,500 employees in the private sector of the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, determined that employee experience is essential to the success of a business since it has a direct effect on productivity. But what is the employee experience?


What is Employee Experience?


The employee experience is the employee's journey with your firm. It encompasses every interaction an employee experiences before, during, and after employment with your organization as a result of engaging with your firm. It’s how the culture and environment makes the employee feel in their role, workspace, interactions with management, and overall welfare resulting from employment with your organization.


In the aftermath of Covid-19, the understanding and delivery of the employee experience has drastically changed. As the priorities of employees altered significantly, so have their expectations from HR teams, company leadership, and culture. For the first time on a large scale, employees have begun to prioritize their lives, freedom of time, flexibility, etc., over wages and work status, prioritizing being human beings first and workers second. After the turmoil and trauma Covid-19 caused in the workplace and everyone’s personal lives priorities of employees everywhere have changed.


So, what constitutes the employee experience in the post-Covid-19 lockdown era?


According to Employee Experience Guide for 2022, employees desire the following:


• A culture that allows them to bring their complete, authentic selves to work daily


• A setting conducive to their learning, development, and realization of their full potential


• An inclusive workforce with varied leaders


• An environment where they can improve their skills and gain new knowledge


• Meaning and purpose in their profession and overall career objectives


• Experience a profound sense of connection, belonging, and purpose


• Feel appreciated and cared for


Why is the employee experience beneficial?


If COVID-19 taught employers anything, it's that the employee experience is important. Let's examine the variables that contribute to the significance of the employee experience. In some ways, employee experience is the initial domino in this chain of favorable results.


"If you don't invest in employee experience, there are plenty of organizations that will." -Nerys Mutlow

Employee retention


Employees who are thriving are more likely to desire to remain with their firm. However, more employees than ever are seeking new opportunities and looking outside of your organization for those opportunities. Employee retention is of paramount importance for corporations and business leaders.


As we know, turnover is costly, and star employees are difficult to find. United States businesses are estimated to pay close to one trillion U.S. dollars annually in turnover expenses. An exceptional experience will help keep your star players happy and on your team.

According to the data, employee retention results in increased productivity, enhanced business culture, and enhanced employee morale. And generally, the more content employees are, the longer they will remain.


Employee engagement


A superior employee experience increases the likelihood of well-engaged employees. Productivity increases with more employee involvement. According to Gallup, companies with engaged employees outperform those with disengaged employees.


In today’s world, employees are being pushed to the brink and are fighting back; in many cases, a negative employee experience is causing employees to stop going the extra mile and stick strictly to their job descriptions. Companies have coined the term “quiet quitting” to describe these employees, labeling them as lazy and uncommitted, but is it a generational culture that is creating “quiet quitters,” or is it a failure of corporate culture’s ability to pivot and focus on what employees want out of their work experiences that is the issue?


According to Josh Bersin, a recognized HR industry expert, a "well-executed employee experience" is a major factor in how engaged employees are. The advantages of employee engagement are reflected in your firm's overall performance. If we are honest with ourselves, “quiet quitters” are not prevalent in organizations that focus on an exceptional employee experience.


Performance


BetterUp’s Employee Experience Guide for 2022 uncovered new insights regarding organizational success. For instance, inclusive groups surpass their less inclusive competitors by 27%. And when leaders are inclusive, workers report more outstanding commitment and pleasure in their jobs. Both characteristics lead to employee engagement, which improves a company's performance. Both contribute to the performance management plan of your organization.


How to create an exceptional employee experience in a hybrid work environment


The hybrid work environment that many of us are in today makes it challenging to provide an exceptional employee experience; some of your team members may be working remotely while others are in the office. When a team is geographically spread, it is challenging to maintain consistency throughout meetings and to have opportunities for team-building.

However, this does not imply it is impossible. Here are several measures you may take to preserve the employee experience on a hybrid team:


1. Emphasize an inclusive meeting place


You must include and accommodate everyone on your team, whether they are in the office or working remotely, who needs to be involved in a meeting. Accommodation involves the actual meeting space too. Check the visibility of the whiteboard in your meeting room or conference place to ensure everybody can see what you're talking about, even if they are remote. If you're utilizing a virtual whiteboard, ensure that everyone can engage and that technological concerns are resolved as quickly as possible. Ensure that the technology you use is effective for remote staff, customers, and clients. For remote employees, ensure they have access to all necessary tech tools to participate effectively in meetings. Make sure to engage both in-person and virtual employees so that everyone engages and feels valued in their contributions.


Employees will need a quiet space in their home to conduct meetings. As we engage candidates looking to work remotely, make understanding their environment and ensuring its functionality's appropriateness an integral part of your recruiting and onboarding process. Much like organizations that have funding for employees asked to relocate; a budget could be established for star candidates or employees who need to upgrade areas of their home to create a functional workspace.


2. Create time in your schedule to connect virtually


Ensuring your employees can relax and enjoy themselves is a significant component of the overall employee experience. It is a lot easier when they are in the workplace and can interact regularly, but it is a lot more challenging when part of your team is remote and cannot interact together to build bonds with colleagues. It is important to make a concerted effort to organize activities for team building that can be carried out virtually. Some examples are virtual show-and-tells, virtual meet-and-greets, and virtual happy hours.


3. Fair promotions for everyone


In a hybrid work environment, it's more important than ever to be open and fair when hiring and promoting people. Virtual employees can't shake hands during happy hour and have discussions with co-workers & management over lunch or drinks after hours. Everyone who wants a promotion or a new job should go through the same interview process and be held to the same criteria regardless of their work status. This will eliminate bias in recruiting and promotion decisions and make it clear that they are all on the same level. HR professionals need to be hyper-aware of potential bias in the promotion process. Remote workers and their contributions can sometimes be noticed less than a colleague in the office. Suppose the remote worker’s contributions have been more valuable, but that employee is passed up for a promotion simply because they have not been seen in the office as much. In that case, you can bet that employee will be looking to leave your organization.


4. Look after your team


Your team members are real people who have lives beyond the 8 hours they spend at work. It's important to take genuine care of them and keep an eye on how well they're doing. This means giving people the freedom to take a break and being focused on employee mental wellness. The worst thing a manager can do is make his employees think that not taking a vacation or needing time off to recharge is a badge of honor. Permit people to spend time with their families and not worry about work when they have time off. Encourage employees to talk about mental health, seek help, and take time when needed. The benefits the organization will receive from a recharged, happy employee will significantly outweigh the hours missed working.


With remote work here to stay, the employee experience is more important than ever


Remote work is here to stay, and organizations that accept and embrace that fact will attract and retain top talent. Creating an exceptional employee experience in today's world is challenging, but it is not impossible. Having intent, showing you care, listening to what employees want, and delivering are all pathways to creating a thriving work environment that employees will love.


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