We know from research that a positive employee experience is good for business. Quite simply, organisations that create exceptional experiences for employees see exceptional results:
17% higher productivity
21% higher profitability
24% lower staff turnover.
And in the current situation, maintaining and enhancing the employee experience is even more important. Because when your team is engaged and on side, everyone emerges connected, committed and ready to move forward with purpose.
Here are three thoughts on how businesses could enhance their employee experience – and add value to the business.
Fulfil Your Duty of Care for Home Workers
As an employer you have a duty of care to your employees and this covers their emotional as well as their physical wellbeing.
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, three leadership and management experts comment that loneliness is one of the most common complaints about remote working and highlight that this isolation can cause employees to feel less part of their organisation and even make them more likely to want to leave the company.
To combat this, their suggestions include regular structured check-ins with staff, both in team situations and one-on-one. They also advise facilitating social interaction to maintain interpersonal relationships. This helps to maintain the sense of ‘belonging’.
Also consider how to support employees as they transition to working from home, especially if it’s new to them. Remind them of the importance of structure and routine and encourage them to create a dedicated, ergonomic workspace.
At the same time, remember their lives and homes may be under a great deal of pressure at the moment and many employees will be juggling childcare as well as work. The respected charity CIPD’s Coronavirus (COVID-19): employer response guide, says: “…employers should do everything they can to support employees in working from home whilst caring for children and should offer as much flexibility and understanding as possible.”
Review Your Homeworking and Expense Policies
With so many employees working from home, it’s likely your homeworking policy is being put to the test. Take the opportunity to review it to make sure it is fit for purpose in this new situation. The CIPD has 10 top tips on homeworking legal and contractual considerations.
Similarly, your expense policy may need to be reviewed or amended, even if only temporarily. For example, while under normal circumstances employees would not be allowed to reclaim broadband or heating costs, this may need to be reviewed in these circumstances. And if you provide free or subsidised food on site, will staff be able to make a subsistence claim for lunch while working from home?
Thinking about these things will demonstrate your practical commitment to your employees.
Take the Opportunity to Rethink the Way Things Have Always Been Done
Many businesses will seize this opportunity to look at things from a brand new perspective and make changes while there is time and headspace to do so. Are there new product or service developments you could be looking at? Processes that were cumbersome before may simply not work in this new, remote world. How could they be improved so they’re more efficient in normal times – and better fit-for-purpose in abnormal ones?
And as a report from Gartner says: “While managers and employees may understandably become more risk-averse in this uncertain environment, it is these times of change and disruption that innovation and risk-taking become even more important for employee engagement and organizational success. Even when the organization has constraints on new investments, managers can emphasize the need and provide opportunities for incremental innovation or process improvements. This can be particularly meaningful if it addresses a challenge the team or organization is facing related to process disruptions or business impact.”