Employee experience has been a top focus for HR teams for a number of years. Employee Experience has been a top focus for HR for a number of reasons. It has been important to humanise the workforce, i.e. to see employees as humans, and not just as resources. By ensuring employees have a positive experience throughout their journey from pre-boarding, to off-boarding, you can achieve high productivity, increased retention of quality talent, lower absenteeism and better brand image and reputation.
It is no surprise that employee experience was once again top of the HR focuses of 2020. However, no one could have predicted the events that have unravelled globally over the past few months, and just to what extent employee’s experience of work would change. There will be long lasting effects of the coronavirus pandemic and most likely, everyone will have very clear images and memories of where they were working and their personal experience. From teachers, supermarket workers, doctors, childminders, and factory workers to lawyers – each person has been effected by the global spread of coronavirus. Behind each employee lies HR professionals making decisions to protect the workforce and business. The decisions HR teams are making now will have drastic effects on employee experience.
The Effect of HR Decisions
The decisions HR make on a daily basis always affect the future of the workforce. However, the decisions made now will shape employee experience in a drastic way. From ensuring your workforce are able to work in new environments, to coping with large absenteeism and changes in compliance / employment laws. Almost everyone feels the rising fear of the effects of coronavirus. HR leaders are in a unique position to bring some security, and support to their workforce. How the HR team look after, communicate with and support their workforce will have many repercussions and as this is new territory to most of us, it is important to be confident with your decisions.
What Will HR Teams be Focusing on?
As one would expect, there has been a growing demand for crisis management training and executive coaching over the past few months. This is expected to continue to rise as more organisations realise the importance of training their management teams. Further training may be needed to support returning to the workplace and dealing with organisational changes. Additional training such as this may become the norm, making employee’s feel better prepared for whatever the future may hold. This adds to the stability HR can provide workers.
Preparing to Return To Work
Primarily, HR teams are busy preparing for businesses and offices to open again. A return to work will involve changes to the workplace to ensure safety of workers. Social distancing may long continue. It will be very important for HR to ensure the right measures are put in place before workers return to offices. An organisation that has made the right precautions, and has kept their workers safe and secure both during and after the coronavirus pandemic, will have a more positive employee experience than one that has not. Helping to increase retention and loyalty.
Of course, there will be many organisations forced to restructure; less physical office space might be needed and additional processes streamlined. Ensuring employees are well looked after and communicated to well during the next period of uncertainty will help motivate and support employees. This will prepare them to adpat to and deal with the future. There are many ways to support employees further. Providing further training as mentioned above, or investing in coaching or mentoring scheme can all boost employee’s experiences. It is important to also support employees affected by any restructuring and staffing changes.
Organisations have had to make tough decisions and there will be more to come in the following months. Entire industries are facing radical changes and there will be a period of adjustment needed.
HR teams must continue to keep employee experience front of mind. This will protect brand reputation and retention of talent. Additionally, it will help to create a positive working environment in which employees can thrive beyond COVID-19.