The early days of the pandemic drastically changed how we live and work. Companies ramped up their digital systems to accommodate online shopping. Employees packed up their belongings and transitioned to remote work. And as consumers looked for guidance and support during a challenging time, brands altered their messaging to focus on compassion and understanding.
Now, as the pandemic begins to recede, priorities have shifted radically. Improving the customer experience has become a central focus for brands, as consumers have grown to expect better support and more reliability. And employee expectations have changed as well. Greater flexibility, more inclusion, and a stronger focus on employee well-being and work-life balance are now critical perks for employees.
While employee values were already showing signs of change prior to 2020, the pandemic accelerated that shift. The new work experience now gives HR teams a critical opportunity to rethink their employee experience – and not a minute too soon.
46% of employees are largely dissatisfied with their overall experience at their organization, according to a recent survey by Gartner. And up to 40% of employees are considering looking for a new job in 2021. If employers don't take quick action to boost engagement now, they risk losing much of their top talent.
So how can your company recalibrate your employee experience strategy for the new workplace?
Employee experience vs. employee engagement
Let's start by determining what employee experience actually is, and how it differs from employee engagement.
Simply put, the employee experience is everything your people encounter during their time at your organization.
So while employee engagement focuses on how employees feel about your organization, it's just one part of the employee journey.
It’s also worth noting that the employee experience is, first and foremost, a human experience. And like the human experience, the employee experience has three layers of needs: tactical, emotional, and philosophical.
Let’s break down what these three layers mean when it comes to employee experience:
- Tactically, we need basic tools to get our work done (the nuts and bolts of doing our jobs)
- Emotionally, we need to feel seen, heard and valued at work, and connected to the organization as a whole.
- Philosophically, we need to know that our organization shares our personal values.
We'll talk more about how to track these three needs within your workforce in just a bit. But first – why does all of this even matter? Is there really a big difference between an average work experience and a great one?
The benefits of a positive employee experience
The truth is, your employee experience matters a great deal. A positive employee experience can impact everything from talent retention to your bottom line.
The benefits of a positive employee experience are almost too numerous to count. First and foremost, creating an exceptional employee experience leads to a stronger company culture, greater customer satisfaction, and more engaged employees.
While many HR leaders see the value of a positive employee experience, they lack a strategic approach and integrated systems to build one. Because of this, many organizations rely on an old school approach to employee engagement, which simply won't work in today's digital-first work environment.
It's time for a new employee experience with a human-centric focus.
What does a great employee experience look like?
A good employee experience is one in which the employee’s tactical, emotional, and philosophical needs are met. A great employee experience is when they aren’t only met, but working together to help employees perform at the highest level.
When it comes to the tactical needs of employees, many organizations are well-positioned to succeed. They might even have recognition programs, performance mangement tools, and internal collaboration platforms already in place. And strong HR processes, combined with employee communication and collaboration tools, can be a great first step.
But when it comes to the emotional and philosophical needs of employees, many organizations are missing the mark. They aren't offering meaningful recognition to employees, acting on feedback in a tangible way, or praising employee loyalty at the two or three-year mark. Perhaps most importantly, they are ignoring the high demand for corporate social responsibility, which is a huge priority for Millennials and members of generation Z.
So it's no surprise that 1 in 4 workers are preparing to look for opportunities with a new employer this year. While the fundamental wants and needs of employees haven't changed significantly since the beginning of the pandemic, the new workplace has given them the opportunity to seek out a more fulfilling and positive work experience.
Rethinking employee experience
Human resources teams are overwhelmed and exhausted with the new challenges of the transitioning workplace. With so many different tools, platforms, and programs, maintaining a cohesive workplace culture is difficult. Especially when many employees are distributed or working remotely.
Rather than trying to balance all of those tools, business leaders need to embrace a holistic employee experience strategy that puts human needs front and center.
That's where Cooleaf can help. Cooleaf's modern experience platform empowers you to define, nurture, and measure your employee experience. We'll partner with you to help you achieve a strong company culture through strategic programming, employee surveys, and recognition & rewards.
So what makes Cooleaf different? Cooleaf enables you to take a targeted approach to employee experience by:
- Listening to what people think, want, and feel through ongoing engagement surveys and continuous SAAS listening
- Engaging with strategic engagement tactics, spot recognition, and performance incentives
- Measuring impact to understand how happier, more engaged employees affect your bottom line
With Cooleaf, you can meet the tactical needs of your team by creating a digital hub that connects to your most-used collaboration tools. You can drive a stronger emotional connection between team members through spot recognition and virtual events. And finally, you can foster a philosophical connection to your brand through innovative programming focused on sustainability, employee well-being, diversity & inclusion, and company values.
In this decade and beyond, the brands that win will be those that invest deeply in their people. Boosting productivity, improving business performance, and retaining top talent – it all starts with a better employee experience.
- On-Demand Webinar: How to Design a Workplace Experience That Makes People Want To Stay
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- Virtual Onboarding: 7 Tips for Welcoming Remote Employees
- 5 Employee Recognition Statistics That Prove the Power of Appreciation