As mentioned by a recent Gartner study (2022), HR leaders of the world find delivering excellent employee experience to be a priority for this new year.
But, what constitutes a favourable employee experience?
It is often erroneously perceived that if HR managers were to offer more competitive financial packages, employee satisfaction and loyalty can be achieved. However, the Harvard Business Review was quick to dismiss this common misconception by highlighting that despite Fortune 500 companies investing heavily in attractive remuneration, employee satisfaction remains saturated since 2016. When it comes to employee experience, income is only part of the equation. What researchers propose instead is a holistic approach, where employers build a portfolio of care for their staff covering both financial AND emotional aspects. With this proposition in mind, this blog aims to bring to the reader’s attention three ways to foster an effective employee experience.
Autonomy is everything
During this post-pandemic era, we all have witnessed employers regaining control of whether employees should be working from home or the office. This has unsurprisingly been met with strong resistance and we see two views emerging. On one hand, there is the view of corporate leaders determining when and where employees work as cruel and insensitive. On the other hand, there are those who perceive that granting employee flexibility is inconsiderate of the needs of the corporation.
So which side should HR be on? Here are the facts.
According to a study done by the Harvard Business Review, a high level of employee autonomy had a significant impact on levels of belonging, motivation, productivity, trust in the team, trust in leaders, work-life balance, and mental well-being, all factors that are key in determining employee experience. Furthermore, studies also claim that 64% of Gen Z and 63% of Millennials view “their office” to be anywhere their laptop can get a strong internet connection! So what we recommend to HR managers is to choose autonomy. Choose to trust that your employees will do the job they were hired to do no matter where the office is.
Pro-tip: Monitoring staff check-in and check-out times even when working remotely can be done easily with a feature-rich HR software package. Check out solutions now.
Addressing the personal lives of personnel
Another variable that has become increasingly important to create a favourable employee experience is managers taking into account employees’ personal lives. There is a myriad of academic articles proving that human beings want, nay need, to be heard and validated. This applies to the personal lives of your employees as well. Statistical evidence also supports this point as the HBR claims that 60% of workers feel that companies should care for their life beyond work. But this does not mean HR can stick to the clichéd “how are you?” because reality is such that this would not yield meaningful responses unless supported by genuine follow-up questions. In fact, Forbes recommends that assessing employees’ personal lives means deeper open-ended questions that truly enlighten companies about what their people go through. Moreover, not only do employees expect managers to be aware of life outside work, but they also hope that managers will, through various means, accommodate the personal lives of their teams when possible.
911, put out the fire now!
Alarming results from a 2022 study by McKinsey indicated that 1 in every 4 employees display symptoms of burnout. While employee well-being conversations have been around, there is a question of how seriously this matter is being addressed especially in Asian countries. Most employers are guilty of bombarding staff with a plethora of meeting requests and making working long hours a practice rather than an exception. Such factors plus the ongoing geopolitical instability, economic downturns and social unrest all blend to form the perfect storm. But wait, there is more. The Harvard Business Review claims that this 2023 employers should venture beyond simply implementing wellness policies and go one step ahead to ensure that employees actually utilize these implementations. For instance, a middle-eastern financial intuition not only assesses their staff’s mental state through surveys but then ensures that employees have an action plan that makes use of their company’s wellness offerings.
Overall, this author would like to conclude that the sun has set on the days that employees showed up to work to simply collect their pay cheques and a few perks. That transaction relationship has ended and what has risen is a need for a deeper, more complex meaningful bond between employer and employee. So to win the battle of talent, 2023 should be the year corporations reform employee experience.
1.Enough is enough!
Perhaps we are just on the cusp of over-exhaustion and burning out. In this new normal of working from home, work-life balance is diminishing for most. Meeting are scheduled at all hours, an act that has shifted from being occasionally to business as usual. In response, the ‘yes men’ (and women) of the past have now summoned the courage to say no to late hours. They are more focused on self-care and mental well-being. Hence, this may be a clear indication to those who govern corporations to start setting healthy boundaries.
2. Bad Bosses
It is time to shift the blame from the quiet quitters and reevaluate company leaders. A study done by the Harvard Business Review posited that ineffective managers are three to four times more likely to have quiet quitters in their midst. While this may be a tough pill to swallow, here’s the hard truth that most take for granted. If you want your employees to go that extra mile, inspire them to do it and at the same time, reward their sacrifices. Because let’s face it, is the tale of endlessly working for that promotion only to be let down at the end not as old as time? If your employees have started “acting their wage” as revenge against false promises, can one really blame them?
In short, many of the inhabitants of the world of work are now unsubscribing from going above and beyond for their employers. So then the question is, what can be done to address this?
For starters, get on the right side of this phenomenon. Promote, nay advocate for work-life balance in your organization! We’d advise a top-down approach where company leaders are educated on the importance of creating a culture where workers do not have to feel like they need to apologize for their personal lives. Set policies to minimize meetings after 6 pm, prevent uncompensated work on weekends and enforce consequences on rule breakers.
Next, rethink your management approach. If you have multiple direct reports who are deemed as quiet quitters, then a key point to reflect on is whether it is the fault of your workers… OR…. is it a shortcoming of your leadership abilities? If you can bring yourself to accept that it might be the latter, perhaps you can work on fostering better relationships with your team. We think that this starts with open communication. If there is an urgent need to work late, help your direct reports understand the criticality. When your team does work late, acknowledge their efforts and compensate when possible, even if it is just a cup of coffee. In our experience, a cup of coffee goes a long way!
Let me sign off with this final thought. It is worth remembering that while a company’s profitability, key performance indicators, and other growth targets are important, employees are not just tools at a manager’s disposal. They are human beings. And more often than not, if you give them your best, they will give you theirs.