COVID-19: Dealing with the impact
10 June 2020
The post-Covid19 workplace will feel a very different place from the one employees left in March.
Previously office based employees have adapted en masse to remote working, and with continued disruption and change in the pipeline, employers will need to move quickly to rethink an employee experience that will need to evolve significantly. Organisations will need to develop a mixed model of employment that is more flexible, resilient, and collaborative.
The need for connection
In a more digital world, employees are looking for ways to feel connected to one another, as well as to the business. The HR function needs to think about this in relation to all the touchpoints – from a candidate joining an organisation, to promotions, discipline processes, pay discussions or termination. Employers will need to rethink what a high-quality experience looks like at each step.
A big part of this will be flexible and remote working, but to do this successfully in the longer term, businesses need a robust structure, a strong return on investment, clear business case, and clarity on how flexible they plan to be.
Technology opens up the opportunity for flexibility, but with high tech comes the needs for more high touch.
Empathy and collaboration
The difficulties of the last few months have prompted organisations to focus on supporting their people more than ever before. There are three areas of focus – the need to listen to employees, particularly in regard to how they want to work, virtual collaboration, and leading with empathy.
Greater listening to employees is something companies will need to do more of; not only will it help determine the ideal experience going forward, it is often a sign of a more resilient business. Listening will help flag problems the business was unaware of, and with so much new ground being trodden, new challenges will emerge. As issues arise, businesses are working harder to respond empathetically; emotional intelligence, or EQ, is becoming just as important to today’s leaders as IQ.
New forms of virtual collaboration will be necessary as more remote working leads to less social interaction. This is particularly critical for younger employees who are most likely to benefit from social interaction and building networks. As lockdown eases, businesses are thinking of innovative ways to enable those who want to work in offices to do so.
The HR team will need to make these significant changes while saving money, with most organisations expecting to enter a period of cost cutting.
Some savings, however, can be expected simply from having a great employee experience as radical simplification and standardisation of processes and interaction can save 12-15% in FTE / efficiencies. Redesigning the target interaction model and roles can deliver a saving of 10% after 24 months. And of course HR operations platforms can deliver much greater efficiencies of up to 25%, based on our experience and research.
A changing employee value proposition
Moving forward, organisations will need to think about people differently. Traditionally, many employers have thought of their people as assets, and this is no longer good enough – you need to think of them as investors, who choose to invest their time, energy and learning with your business. The best way to overhaul the employee experience to suit the new era in which we find ourselves is to ask how we attract these investors, and what we can do to empower them to act on our behalf.
For more information or advice about any of the issues raised please contact Jen Saunders or Christopher Johnson.
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