What a year. We’ll be looking back at 2020 in the distant future as an annum horriblis. Yet, with challenge comes profound change and none more so than for a private sector that has been battered about by the waves of Covid-19.
One such challenge has been the disruption it’s caused to the employee experience. With record numbers of people working from home employers are having to rethink their approaches to incentives, rewards and recognition, wellbeing and even professional development.
So, What Has Changed?
Remote working, more reliance on technology, less peer to peer social interaction and work that can happen in any place, at any time, on any device? This is the future. This is going to impact every aspect of the employee lifecycle experience, from hiring to retirement. Suddenly all the touchpoints we once had with managers and HR teams will be virtual, meaning that organisations will need to invest heavily in strategic online solutions. That’s not to mention attracting employees to a virtual office will mean less reliance on fancy real estate and gyms, and more focus on employee benefits like healthcare, rewards, gift cards and flexible memberships.
10 Things That Aren’t Changing
Despite the very obvious changes, there are a number of critical elements to the employee experience that will remain the same for many. It’s worth revisiting them and making sure you’re getting them right before looking at the tricker new shiny things you need to do.
1. Physical Wellbeing
Onsite gyms may be gone, but employees still want to stay physically well. How about online yoga sessions or discounted gym membership? The best thing is that both these are totally scalable and not limited by proximity. And don’t forget about healthcare plans!
2. Mental Wellbeing
Tools for building resilience and mental health remain essential. Companies need to take support online, as employees still need access to counselling, mindfulness and other mental health support.
3. Work/life balance
Encouraging staff to invest in hobbies, skills and learning is still one of the most impactful ways to improve the employee experience. It acts as a compelling reason to work for a particular company.
4. Financial Incentives
Bonuses yes, but also gift cards and vouchers remain a powerful way to reward employees. Gift cards are flexible and can be used online, wherever you are in the world.
5. A Sense of Purpose and Aligned Values
The risk of employees losing their sense of connection to the organisation can be higher with remote teams. Great companies will focus on communications plans that continue to drive awareness and engagement in the organisation’s purpose. Online town halls and messages from leadership are an effective way to keep momentum.
6. Flexible Working
People might not be commuting as much, but employees still need the flexibility to drop the kids off at school and invest personal life. Presenteeism is a culture that needs to be challenged.
Employees still need to be visibly recognised for great work. In fact, remote teams may need this even more – a way to feel like their contribution is valued and seen.
8. Meaningful Professional Development
Are your talented staff members still getting the contact with leaders that will help their career progression? Do you offer a mentoring scheme? These are important ways to train and retain high performers, so don’t forget to keep these initiatives going online.
Employees still need to feel part of a team. Make sure that you bring people together to talk and not just when you need them to do something. You need to recreate the cohesion of a team who all sit next to each other.
Work should be fun, so it’s critical that employers are giving their people meaningful and enjoyable work. More than this though, they need to invest in recreation, team building and fun. Online events are a great way of bringing people together in this way.