All successful businesses invest in ‘customer experience’ – a term that refers to a basket of ways to engage and delight the buyers of their products or services. However, if the Big Quit has taught employers anything, it is that guaranteeing a similar experience to their internal customers, i.e., their employees, is equally critical.
According to Ritika Arora, Co-founder of Manah Wellness, the Big Quit demolished many archaic constructs around productivity and work-life balance dating back to the industrial age. “Working remotely during the lockdowns, many white-collar employees realised that they had been given a ‘false choice’ between work, family, or personal well-being. The myth, perpetrated by some leaders, that “productivity equals time spent in office” lay in tatters – at least in the knowledge sectors,” she said.
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“The ripple effects of these changes have been immense. People today feel more empowered to seek out meaningful work and healthy workplaces. They don’t believe in holding on to their jobs out of fear or accepting the first offer that comes their way. In this bargain, the companies that persist with command-and-control structures and strict hierarchies are steadily losing good talent,” Ritika Arora added.
Under such circumstances, companies need to look at this as an opportunity to reinvent their employee experience. Employee experience represents how employees see the organisation. It takes a ‘life-cycle approach’ to support employees in bringing their best selves to work.
Manah Wellness’ Ritika Arora has listed 5 ways to create a workplace built around employee experience:
1. Become obsessed with employee experience
Employee engagement is the result of employee experience. Companies that prioritise and elevate employee experience are more likely to successfully retain their people. This requires a certain amount of farsightedness and preparation. In order to optimise your employees’ experience, you must obsessively find out what gives individuals and teams purpose and joy in their work, and support them in eliminating the obstacles and irritants that get in the way. Companies that make this a habit are likely to reap the rewards even in shaky economic times.
2. Build belonging with vulnerability and empathy
Millennial and Gen-Z workers want to work with human leaders, not emotionless robots. When leaders share experiences of vulnerability, they win the empathy, trust, and loyalty of their people. Thus, vulnerability has the potential to awaken minds, shift viewpoints, and even change behaviours.
Leaders must also know how much to share. We’ve seen people over-sharing their problems on LinkedIn. Leaders and managers must never use vulnerability to gain emotional advantage; instead, they must always be truthful and share their stories within professional boundaries.
3. Invest in taking care of your employees and their families
You can support the wellbeing of your employees through various means – physical and mental health assessments, stress management workshops, access to professional counselling services, gym memberships, meditation or sleep apps, support groups and more. Make sure that these benefits also extend to the family members of your employees. When employers expand employee wellness benefits to include family members, it shows that the organisation cares about their people’s overall well-being, even outside the office.
4. Offer work-life balance and flexibility
Give your people greater flexibility and control over their jobs. Even minor improvements in worker autonomy can have a significant impact on employee well-being. A study conducted at a call centre discovered that providing additional training to customer service staff so they could settle more customer complaints on their own boosted both the employees’ well-being and their job performance.
5. Give employees a sense of purpose and meaningful work
Recognise that employees and organisations have a ‘lock and key’ relationship. Their mission, ideals, or aspirations may not be a good fit for the organisation, but they may be a good fit for another. There is no such thing as an absolute “good fit” or “bad fit.”
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Purpose-driven organisations map their employees’ desires and ambitions with the job roles that bring out the best in them. This can only happen through regular meaningful dialogues between managers and subordinates, where the former asks the latter about how they are progressing with their professional or personal goals. The bottom-line is: make personal aspiration a regular element of employee-manager discussions.
Like any other epochal world event, the pandemic left us with some scars, and many lessons. For employers, the lesson is this: accept and adopt the humanisation of work. Making the shift from ‘employee management’ to ‘employee experience management’ will go a long way in helping you retain your people and create a thriving, future-ready organisation.