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Redefining the Employee Experience for Today’s Workforce

The past few months have seen the world separated by travel bans and social distancing rules. Fortunately, thanks to technology, ChapmanCG has been able to facilitate a series of roundtable-style HR Leader Networking gatherings, bringing together hundreds of our HR friends—based in Singapore, China, Hong Kong SAR, Southeast Asia, and Australia—virtually to share best practices and trends on redefining the employee experience for today’s workforce.  

Thank you to our partners Stephanie Nash, Co-Creator of Thrive HR Exchange, and Professor Alex Christou, Managing Director Asia Pacific at Thrive Global, who provided the thought leadership and research to stimulate the discussions.

The events of 2020 have disrupted business models, priorities, and plans as organisations were forced to navigate a rapidly changing environment. In response, HR was at the forefront, driving a wide-range of transformational initiatives to address areas such as employee well-being, HR operating models, and workplace equality.

We have identified the following Top Priorities for Redefining the Employee Experience in 2021:

Listening and Acting

During the pandemic, many organisations recognised the value of checking in with employees on a regular basis to stay connected and to inform decision making.  The potential of this rapid feedback means employee pulse surveys are now an essential part of a leader’s toolkit. 

To improve employee experience during these unprecedented times, we first need to define what shapes their experience. We need to better understand the challenges they may face in this new working environment. Implementing a company-wide survey is an ideal way to achieve this as it gives us the information we need to better support our employees and prepare them for success. The key is to act on the insights from this data to improve the employee experience, and therefore foster engagement during challenging times.

Connected Leaders with Strong EQ

Employees want to feel support and encouragement from those who are leading the company, and to have a better understanding of the impact that the external crisis has on the organisation. Leaders need to be authentic and honest to ensure trust and build a positive employee experience. Sustaining this authentic style of communication will help get people onboard with reshaped plans to embrace more change to come. At a time of low morale, leaders can also keep spirits and engagement high by leveraging a newfound relationship with employees.  

Embrace New Technologies

A manager’s role critically influences the employee experience. It is the manager’s job to ensure that team members are aligned with the company’s purpose, objectives, and priorities, and to make sure that employees understand how their work relates to the company’s strategy.  Organisations need to enable managers to better support their teams using innovative communication and collaboration technology solutions. This is even more critical now when many employees are physically disconnected.

Hybrid Working and Remote Talent

While an office will still be needed for collaboration, social connection and for those without an effective home office, the physical workplace is rapidly transforming. Many HR leaders indicated that their office footprint will be reduced as progressive employers are embracing a hybrid working model. Some companies may also decide to allocate certain roles as permanent remote working positions, which is opening a whole new world of talent management and diversity.

D&I, Equality, ESG

Organisations are creating D&I strategies which explore many facets of diversity and are embedded into all aspects of an organisation from recruitment through to values and behaviours. ‘Tick the box’ policies are no longer enough. For many organisations this means hiring D&I specialists not just at global level, but also within individual regions. Organisations are increasingly expected to measure and report on their D&I progress with investors, employees, and potential talent joining the organisation. Companies which take a strong stance on sustainability/environment, and social impact or justice are standing out from the crowd.

Prioritise Well-Being

Employers should prioritise well-being to craft a more resilient workforce and rebuild the economy in 2021 and beyond. According to a McKinsey & Company report (Nov 2020), costs associated with a failure to address employees’ mental health issues cumulated to a material impact of hundreds of billions of dollars. Prioritising well-being for employees is both the ‘right’ thing to do and the necessary thing to do.  Some suggestions to consider:

  • Treat well-being as a tangible skill, a critical business input and a measurable outcome.
  • Embrace well-being not as a vague concept, but as an index of learnable actions and daily behaviour.
  • Train and equip leaders to think about all aspects of the employee experience from culture to well-being to purpose and meaning.
  • Bring it all to life in a personalised way for employees, both in person and through digital channels.

For more information on corporate well-being programs, contact Stephanie Nash.

If you would like to participate or speak at one of our future roundtable sessions, please connect with me on email stb@chapmancg.com or via LinkedIn.

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