COVID-19 has thrust us into one of the most transformational ‘moments that matter’ in the lives of individual employees, as well as organizations. How your organization responds during these challenging times will define your employer brand and ability to deliver a best in class employee experience, regardless of external influences. Safety, flexibility, and technology tools have been discussed at length since the start of the pandemic – and they are certainly the building blocks to being able to deliver on an optimal employee experience. In this first of a two-part series, we will explore the less obvious macrolevel (organizational) influencers of the employee experience. Keeping these at the forefront will help ensure you come out of the current crisis with a more engaged, motivated workforce.
Organizations who are responsible corporate citizens are better able to attract and retain key talent. The current pandemic provides an opportunity for organizations to differentiate themselves by supporting local and national pandemic efforts. By publicly acknowledging the charitable contributions of time, materials, and labor being made by your organization and your employees, a workforce of advocates will speak up proudly on behalf of your organization and build a pipeline of enthusiastic future employees. Social media, as well as internal communication channels, such as company newsletters, email, posters, and storytelling at meetings, all help spread the word about the good work being accomplished and instills a sense of pride among your employees.
Organizations with a strong culture of innovation outpace their competitors in all aspects of business. This will certainly be the case with COVID-19 as well. Employees are yearning for an opportunity to share creative ideas and solutions to help your organization succeed. Organizations laden with bureaucracy and multi-level decision-making are going to suffer while those with more agile, employee-driven, fail-forward cultures will take chances and produce meaningful impact. Employees’ faith in an organization’s ability to survive and prosper post-COVID-19 will be influenced by their belief in the organization’s ability to quickly adapt to changing business conditions. How are you demonstrating your agility to your employees and investors? How are you soliciting and acting on employee feedback when it comes to processes and products?
Now more than ever, employees are looking to leaders in their personal and professional lives to provide guidance, reassurance, and a steady hand. Visibility, communication, and compassion from executives in your organization create a stable, safe environment where employee trust in the organization’s ability to overcome the current economic conditions can flourish. Your employee population may be scattered and distracted. They are working tirelessly on the front lines, or from home offices, while simultaneously serving as childcare providers and teachers – all impacting the effectiveness of traditional mechanisms for delivering top-down listening sessions. We encourage organizations to embrace creative communication strategies, such as Facebook Live, virtual executive-hosted lunches, and open-door executive ‘office hours’ via virtual platforms. The beauty of listening is that it can happen from anywhere, with any device, and at any time.
Corporate citizenship, innovation, trust in executive leadership… these are all elements of the employee experience organizations are able to positively impact through their actions and words in these unprecedented times. Will your organization rise to the challenge or be swept away in the current of uncertainty?
With the array of employee listening tools available to meet any organization’s unique needs, now is the time to ensure your people strategy includes ongoing measurement of the most critical influencers of the employee experience.
Check back for Part 2 … areas of the employee experience that immediate supervisors can positively impact.