Andrew Duncan from Infosys Consulting describes how employee experiences must be reimagined if they are to support long term transformational goals.
As the pandemic continues to disrupt operations and objectives, the processes and technology required to maintain business continuity are likely to remain in flux. However, people and talent consistently remain at the core of every successful organisation. Companies with highly-engaged employees see a measurable impact on their bottom line, with the ability to attract and retain the best talent to significantly outperform their competitors.
As we start to reorient ourselves to the reality of working amid COVID-19, leaders must reassess traditional employee experiences (EX) to support their long-term transformation goals.
1. Treat your people like customers
Companies can no longer rely on traditional levers to gain loyalty and drive retention. Post-pandemic, consumers will demand ever-more personalised offerings, and this will be no different for the new digital employee.
Most organisations are already collecting data from a wide range of touch-points to gain a 360-degree view of customer engagement levels. Organisations that leverage their employee data and analytics capabilities in a similar manner will have the ability to enrich their EX in equally personalised ways, creating a greater sense of brand loyalty within the workforce.
When it comes to understanding and improving the employee experience, there is no one better to learn from than employees themselves. Digital feedback platforms and collaboration tools make it possible to gain unprecedented insights into what matters to employees, whether through surveys, chatbots or virtual feedback groups.
By engaging people in a two-way dialogue, leaders have the ability to deliver personalised experiences that support their individual goals and requirements.
2. Rethink your employee journeys
We’ve had to work faster and better than ever before to match the dramatic personal, business and societal changes caused by COVID-19, and operating models are struggling to keep pace. Leaders need to equip their people with the necessary skills, tools and incentives to start working dynamically to support their new digitisation goals.
Organisations have the opportunity to redefine and redesign employee journeys to reach these desired outcomes, from on-boarding through to training and performance management.
For example, post-pandemic, organisational silos need to be broken down and replaced with agile and empowered teams working together towards a collective goal – something I discussed in an earlier article.
By redefining the on-boarding process, employees can be welcomed into the organisation as a whole, not within a departmental island. Equally, their incentives and recognition can be aligned to the company’s aims and objectives rather than their particular silo.
Ultimately, EX should be about delivering a journey that leads to more individual success, which in turn leads to the company’s success.
3. Augment with technology
Long-term, the focus must shift from how businesses can use technology to improve their bottom line to how can they can use technology to support and engage their people. Leaders should concentrate on using technology as an enabler for better employee experiences – working in the background to support greater workforce productivity and issue resolution. User personas can help determine how technology can augment and transform the way in which people work.
Developing these augmented experiences doesn’t necessarily require significant investment. It could be as simple as providing employees with the tools they need to do their job; from being given a work laptop that is already properly configured for their particular role, and the right credentials to access the specific files they need.
In more digitally mature organisations, this could mean leveraging automated onboarding platforms, digital assistants, and AI-driven learning tools to deliver flexible and personalised experiences.
Finally, consider re-assessing the new collaboration tools your organisation may have quickly scaled earlier this year to power a sudden WFH model. Ensure they are still meeting the standard your staff expect, and consider making some adjustments where needed, as the new normal is likely here for the long-term.
4. Manage change and build trust
For a differentiated EX, employees need clear strategic guidance on expected outcomes and priorities from the very beginning. This is particularly important when implementing new digitisation initiatives or employee journeys. When making these changes, leaders should build trust with a governance framework around the metrics they want to use, the data they want to collect, and how they will safeguard sensitive information.
As the shift towards digital continues, organisations will also need to educate the wider workforce about the importance of security issues. When introducing new technologies, such as cloud-based platforms for improved collaboration, these investments should be reinforced by clear cyber-security policies and best practice. CIOs will want to undertake regular risk assessments and scenario planning to identify potential impacts on the workforce, and to ensure file and communications channels remain secure.
Traditional operating models were already failing to keep pace with the demands of the digital employee. Now, with COVID-19 completely changing the way we work, it’s becoming increasingly obvious how fundamental it is for organisations to be able to adapt and pivot – quickly.
Taking a personalised and data-led approach to EX, with properly defined employee journeys, is key to fostering culture and enabling change in this new world.
Andrew Duncan is a Partner and UK CEO at Infosys Consulting. Andrew joined Infosys in late 2019 to lead Europe and drive its strategy and growth agenda for the region. He is a life-long consultant with a very successful and diverse background in the industry, having served in MD or CEO roles for several technology and services companies
Main image courtesy of iStockPhoto.com