The Challenge to Join the Dots
According to new research from Benefex, employers are finding the change in employee expectations around their employee experience and wellbeing difficult to respond to. Companies have been focusing on survival during the pandemic and since re-emerging, 76% say that they are struggling to adapt to the needs of a hybrid workforce. Integrated work-life has become a given for many people who are demanding more since the pandemic. For workplaces, this is not just about logistics but about knowing what motivates employees and how to adapt work practice to meet their needs and draw on their strengths.
96% of HR leaders state that employee experience has become a more important priority but the reality of pivoting employee experience and wellbeing provision to support staff professionally, personally and emotionally, in a hybrid workforce, is challenging. Despite good intentions, employers efforts to improve employee experience are often undermined by a wide range of factors that include budget constraints (84%), difficulties measuring ROI (79%) and a lack of ownership around employee experience and wellbeing (69%). The role of technology and processes also has a part to play and 62% of HR leaders recognise that these are hindering their efforts to deliver exceptional employee experiences. That is one reason It’s Time for Change has teamed up with GoVox and Arteel as some great examples of tech platforms that make a real difference in the workplace. You can listen to what Richard Lucas and I had to say recently about the need for a different approach to turn good companies into great companies by re-thinking investment and support. Get in touch and I’ll tell you more.
The reality is that while most companies are trying their best, understanding how to fulfil what employees want can feel overwhelming, with a lack of clarity about how best to integrate all elements of employee experience, that span all business functions and touch all bases, as Josh Bersin highlights here:
Without an overarching strategy, the result is a fragmented approach that simply isn’t working well enough.
The disconnect between the value that employers believe they are providing, and the experience of staff says it all. Whilst 51% of HR leaders claim their organisation provides an excellent employee experience, with as many as 7 in 10 in the technology and media sector, only 1 in 4 feel that their employees would agree. This highlights the real need to constantly seek the views of staff by listening to what they need and are motivated by, rather than basing plans on assumptions or past experience. I talk a lot about emotional needs such as the need for meaning, control (empowerment), connection, growth, and a sense of status and achievement, which we know, when fulfilled, promote good wellbeing, trust and happiness within the organisation. When we really understand what drives our workforce, we can seek to develop a unified strategy that connects all the dots.
A Seismic Shift in Work Culture
Work culture has evolved so quickly due to the pandemic that rigid or disconnected plans are no longer working. In order to succeed, strategy has to position itself around agility, particularly at a time when people are re-evaluating their relationships with their jobs and employers, and many are looking to pursue new opportunities. But however much plans change, at the heart of practice need to be the fundamental elements of a work culture that provide employees the experience of trust and transparency, care and support, inclusion within a connected community, growth and recognition. It soon becomes apparent that each piece of the jigsaw has to align for the over-arching goal of meaningful employee experience to be achieved.
Despite the significant changes in what the workforce needs, managers continue to be a weak point.They are on the front line yet 68% of people in a managerial role consider themselves accidental.89% of HR leaders acknowledge the need to do more to enable managers to fulfil this pivotal role.
That leaves a HUGE GAP and a serious need to invest in a group of your employees that has a significant impact on the wider workforce experience. Engaging managers in improving the employee experience is a must, but the big question is ‘’how? They need the knowledge, skills and confidence to meet the needs of hybrid working, mental wellbeing, psychological safety, empowerment to achieve work-life integration… the list goes on. If you are serious about addressing this vital need within your company, now is the time to reach out and explore how to best support your managers.
A word of warning: be cautious about off-the-shelf management training that often misses the unique needs of your people, operating in your specific context. Like anything, bespoke support that centres around learning, practice, coaching and peer support provides greatest return on investment. I’m happy to explore this with you, even if you don’t need my support yet.
This is a useful infographic about employee experience, that really highlights the importance of getting this right, and what is needed. I use resources like this as a great conversation starter with teams to prompt reflection about the picture within your company. When we create space to consider what is going on at a human level; how we are relating to our work, each other, the company as a whole, we begin to uncover strengths and areas of need. Time to have unhurried conversations about these elements is often a missing link to uncovering the truth and identifying ways forward, minus any external support.
If you are in a leadership role and would like to join our Thought Leadership Group to explore your strategy, you can find out more here. This will be an opportunity to strengthen your knowledge about research and about how your people plans interplay, and the identification of strengths and challenges of your current approach, with a non-judgemental peer-group. I will be joined by Mandy Bisson of Sorrel Consulting who is also an expert in this area.
Whether it is strategy development or the practical aspects of implementation, I am happy to explore where you are at, where you want to go and how to get there so drop me a line and let’s get the conversation flowing.