Mar 03 2022
“Organizations are investing in various programs to improve life at work and focus exclusively on enhancing employee experiences. What today is a buzzword in the HR world was once secondary to businesses.”
Positive psychology has been described in many ways. However, the commonly accepted definition can be put into these words - “Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life worth living.” The same can be narrowed down to work-life and employee experience.
Positive experiences at work make employees feel valued and deeply connected to their job. Employee experiences dictate how employees feel about themselves, the work they do and their relationship with the employer. With mental well-being becoming the priority for employees, strategic efforts to foster positive employee experiences should become the priority for organizations.
The Evolution of Employee Experience and its Origin
The evolution of HR and employee management over the last century has led us to the age of employee experience. Organizations in India are investing in various programs to improve life at work and focus exclusively on enhancing employee experiences. What today is a buzzword in the HR world was once secondary to businesses. Organizations, traditionally, prioritized business profits over employee experiences. That is drastically changing now.
The evolution and importance of employee experience can be understood by defining the different era shifts in HR and employee management strategies over the last 100 years.
The global pandemic created a stress test for employees and employers. Business leaders deployed a series of actions in response to the crisis. These actions had a significant impact on employees and businesses with declining productivity, engagement and employee well-being.
This led to a great Employee Experience Awakening as more than 9 in 10 employers planned to prioritize employee experience for better business outcomes. Organizations are now realising the importance of a positive employee experience and making a conscious effort to focus on human experiences more than business processes. Employee experience is becoming a critical strategy as employers realise the direct correlation between EX and productivity.
HR leaders are no longer responsible for only recruiting and onboarding employees but also for ensuring a great experience throughout the employee lifecycle. EX is growing out from under the HR umbrella and emerging as its own mission-critical business function.
EX professionals offer a new level of support, flexibility and growth opportunity to employees and make them feel an integral part of the business. The evolution of employee experience has helped organizations to look beyond the traditional HR metrics like turnover and absentee rates, and think about enhancing productivity and employee well-being.
Employee Experience Team Structure, Roles and Designations
In some organizations, the employee experience team structure is such that the EX professionals report to the Chief Human Resources Officer. In others, they are a part of the C-Suit leadership group where they actively strategize new employee experience and retention policies.
Responsibilities of the Employee Experience Team
The EX team specializes in designing employee experience frameworks and creating ways to measure employee engagement. From understanding the employee experience to assessing the impact of the work culture and policies on employee experience, they are the driving force behind enhancing employee experience.
EX teams strive to deliver a holistic solution to employee engagement and experience. They build and maintain a positive and fruitful work atmosphere. They essentially address matters beyond compensation packages, perks and employee benefits. They ensure every employee feels valued and an integral part of the company.
Companies in India and across the world are improving employee experience as a whole, supported by a multitude of pulse feedback channels, wellness technology, employee self-service technology and tech-driven interactive employee experience platforms.
Business leaders and managers across disciplines are accountable for employee growth and development. The best way to enhance the employee experience is by offering opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Strategies to Improve Employee ExperienceOrganizations across India are using various strategies to improve the work-life balance and mental health of employees and deliver a top-notch employee experience.
Employee experience is the journey of an employee that encapsulates every interaction with the organization and the values that add positive meaning to the role, workspace and mental well-being. This also includes the physical or digital workplace experience. The workplace design should reflect your company culture and make employees feel comfortable.
Ergonomic features like high tables, comfortable chairs, natural light, plant walls, exercise options, can all contribute to enhancing the comfort level of employees. Every physical workplace should keep up with proper hygiene in the COVID-19 era. Proper ventilation, hand sanitiser dispensers, following and respecting hygiene rules (wearing masks, hand gloves, social distancing) will make employees feel safe at work.
The workplace is no longer limited to office space. With remote working becoming a norm, the use of top-notch digital technology to improve employee experience is important. A digital workplace can make it easy and convenient for employees to stay connected with their work and colleagues in a remote working environment. Digital workplaces are secured and ensure data privacy. A seamless digital environment is a huge plus for employee experience. However, scratchy security architecture and inadequate tech support can result in a poor digital experience and cause major inconvenience to employees.
According to a Willis Towers Watson survey, 37% of the organizations admitted that the pandemic has negatively shifted their organizational culture. 44% of employees experienced a positive impact of a transformative EX mapped to the organization culture.
The company culture continues to be the most important factor in attracting and retaining talent:
Creating a strong company culture is not only the right thing to do but also a smart business strategy. There are a few common approaches that organizations in India can take to build an employee experience around company culture and values.
How is Employee Experience Linked to Attracting, Retaining and Developing Top Talent?
Organizations that offer exceptional EX, benefit largely from motivated employees who put in their best efforts. These benefits go well beyond just productivity and profits. Employees feel valued, confident and motivated. A motivated employee is always a better asset than a talented employee.
A survey of more than 23,000 employees across 45 countries revealed that about 53% of employees are less likely to leave their jobs if they experience positivity and happiness in their workplace. Improving the employee experience is a proven way for retaining top talent. According to a LinkedIn survey, nearly 96% of HR leaders feel creating a positive employee experience will help them attract, retain and develop top talent.
During the pandemic, employer actions had a significant impact on employees:
To attract and retain top talent, organizations in India need to take effective measures to show they value their employees and care about their well-being. Creating an excellent work culture and employee experience will develop trust and mutual respect between the employees and employers. When employees feel they are in a safe environment where they can grow, they tend to work harder and surpass expectations.
According to a Gallup survey, Gen Z and millennials look for organizations that make conscious efforts towards promoting employee wellbeing. While the Gen X prioritized organization’s financial stability, the modern workforce wants an ethical leadership group in the organization that keeps diversity and inclusion practices at its core.
Older generations were raised with the philosophy that you are productive only if you are in the office. As generations changed, philosophy changed. There are various differentiating factors in terms of how employee experience is perceived by different generations on accounts of work-life balance, quality of work vs quantity of work and flexibility. The older generations preferred stay-in-office and face-to-face work culture, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z tend to be more flexible in where and how they work.
The delivery mechanism of employee experience is as crucial as the experience itself. Gen X, millennials and Gen Z expect everything to be accessible at their fingertips while the older generations access information the traditional way. Mobile technology is a key factor in building and delivering tailored employee experiences today. Technology helps you personalize communication and provides an easy way for employees to stay connected with their colleagues beyond geographical boundaries.
Modernizing employee experiences is the best way to meet the evolving employee demands and easily attract, engage and retain top talent. Employee experience platforms can work wonders if used strategically.Employee Experience Solutions Providers in IndiaXoxoday, Infeedo, Winzard
In the midst of a rapid digital transformation and modernization process, organizations need to leverage technology to improve employee experiences. EX platforms can make a notable difference. They are a great way of showing employees that you care about their experiences and growth. Along with providing a consumer-grade experience, technology can help you ensure that employees are always connected with the organization's mission and business goals.
Sriram Iyer is a Human Resources practitioner with around two decades of experience in the areas of HR Technology, Workforce Planning & Strategy, Talent Supply Chain, Employee Engagement, Talent Branding and Acquisition & Client Management. Based in Singapore since Jan 2012, he has strong exposure to the JAPAC region and has a knowledge of the cultural nuances of the region. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, he has also played leadership roles with NCS (Singtel Group Enterprise) and Nasdaq-listed Cognizant Technology Solutions in Singapore, running large scale talent initiatives across regions. He is a proud alumnus of National University of Singapore (Singapore) and Symbiosis Institute of International Business (India).
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