Employee Experience When Change Is The Only Constant

Companies that foster a strong cultural foundation of trust, respect, collaboration, care, empathy, and an environment where colleagues root for each other will always do better than the ones that don’t. What leaders also found was that inclusion is key


When people discuss the role of HR departments, it’s usually around hiring or employee benefits like salary, training, etc. More often than not, one of our most important roles is overlooked: We’re custodians of employee experience. We are always working to ensure that any disruptions are minimized so that employees can create, contribute, design, and deliver efficiently. This is especially true now. Almost everything we’ve experienced in the recent past has been uncharted territory. Last year, nearly overnight, remote work went from being an experiment or future expectation to becoming an essential part of many jobs. On the back of this, employee needs to transform more in the past year than in the past three decades combined.

This future of work came sooner than expected, and there was one question that plagued every leader’s mind – how do we keep employees as engaged and productive, if not more, while they work remotely? This is why, across businesses, employee experience took centre stage!

Employee success is the key to business success

Companies are successful because of their talent. More organizations are taking a talent first approach to propel their businesses, and that requires putting employee experience at the centre of their strategy. They need to create meaningful employee experiences from applying for a job to leaving a company.

A great employee experience empowers employees to contribute their best work—with support, minimum friction, and maximum motivation. The three inputs that most influence this are: the physical space, the digital space (AKA technology), and culture.

Maintaining a focus on the inputs to employee experience facilitates a more effective hybrid-work strategy, while also offering a way to unlock the potential within your workforce. This has made leadership teams across the world take note and realize that when they help their employees reach their true potential, the business will too.

Digital transformations that focus on experience will result in efficiency

With newer challenges throughout the past year, companies have had to revisit their business strategies and transform the way they operate. Businesses that invested in digital transformation even before the pandemic set in had an advantage. We always knew that digital transformation was inevitable; it was only a question of when. With the pandemic catapulting most aspects of businesses online, employee experience also had to be revolutionized in ways unimagined before.

Currently, an employee’s digital space shapes their experience as much as, or at times even more than, their physical workspace. While the power of in-person and face-to-face interactions remains as meaningful as ever, the digital space has become an important “place” where work happens. Over time, we realized that we can be productive, collaborate, and maintain our culture even with distributed teams. Organizations discovered that equipping their employees with the right technology can truly empower them, enhancing their autonomy, engagement, and productivity. Ultimately, intuitive technology that can help minimize friction and maximize innovation will translate into a much better employee experience, creating greater employee productivity and satisfaction.

Employees’ expectations drive their experience

Over the past year, as the world and work underwent fundamental changes, so did the employees and their expectations. They have started to prioritize ways of working that make sense for them and suit their lifestyle. Flexible working arrangements are fast becoming table stakes for attracting and retaining talent. Hybrid work is no longer a differentiator for companies competing for talent—it’s increasingly becoming a requisite.

Employees today want more autonomy in managing their work and life. They want an experience that is seamless and personalized. They crave technologies that are intuitive and anticipate their needs. Here is where remote technology innovations like intelligent workspaces come into play. Such technologies have helped employees cut through the clutter, so they can focus on what’s important. Employees now understand the notion of doing more with less and taking control of their workday, and they expect companies to implement more agile strategies that foster simplicity. Gauging these expectations and addressing them effectively fosters creative, innovative employees that want to do meaningful work.

Culture matters!

It does not matter how innovative or comprehensive your employee experience strategy is if your culture isn’t supportive. Stress, anxiety, uncertainty, and additional responsibilities have tested employees’ resilience through the past year, and employers have had to rethink the employee experience in the form of employee well-being. While the early days of the pandemic may have created a greater emphasis on employees’ physical health, many now find themselves focusing much more on supporting the employees’ mental well-being.

Companies that foster a strong cultural foundation of trust, respect, collaboration, care, empathy, and an environment where colleagues root for each other will always do better than the ones that don’t. What leaders also found was that inclusion is key. When everyone was working remotely, there was a level playing field. As we move to a hybrid work model, with some employees in company offices and some in-home offices, leaders will have to make deliberate efforts to foster inclusion. In many cases, this may mean designing for virtual-first experiences. Designing for a distributed team will challenge businesses to be inclusive and creative, and it will promote better employee experiences.

Ultimately, there is no one formula to design the best employee experience, because teams and their needs are unique. But business success is far more likely to follow when companies embrace a holistic approach to employee experience and explore what can be achieved through better it. The learning curve brought on by the past year has been both unpredictable and steep, and the imprint it has left on the employee experience will have an irreversible effect on the workplace for years to come.

(The given article is attributed to Donna Kimmel, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer, Citrix and solely created for BW People)


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