The world of work has experienced some form of turbulence in different waves, following the COVID-19 pandemic and its ripple effects. For some organisations, this period has been a test of their systems, for others it has caused businesses to thrive. Whichever way we look at it, there have been major adjustments to what used to be the “norm” and these adjustments have come to stay.
Some concepts have become archaic whereas others have taken the forefront of conversations when it comes to the organisational process. Elements such as work-life balance, wellbeing, collaboration, connection, and employee satisfaction, have all become central to influencing the best business outcomes.
After successfully experiencing the success of remote working, organisations have a wide range of possibilities, pertaining to allowing new hires outside of a country’s borders and managing local talent that may be unable to work from the physical office space. When it comes to talent management, it has become crucial to adjust the way of doing things to incorporate genuine concern for employees and their abilities to contribute to the vision of the organisation. In the words of HR Director of Vodafone Ghana, Hannah Ashokai Akrong, “Now more than ever, it is crucial to focus on and get the employee experience right. Especially with a remote workforce, having an engaged workforce will result in productivity and a workforce that is rallied around the common mission of the organisation.”
Physical vs. Virtual Connections
HR Functions like hiring, onboarding, training and development, social recognition etc are all being done virtually. Speaking to Elizabeth Amposah, the HR Manager of Dimension Data Ltd, the adjustments made in her organisation have been geared towards creating an experience that is as encompassing as previous in-person hires. According to her, “Almost everything has gone virtual here and in all our sister companies within the Dimension Data Group. I have had to hire new employees and onboard them through a video call via Microsoft Teams.” She expressed a sense of loss in the bonding effect that physical contact presented to the process.
Building a culture in this new era has to do with authenticity. On virtual calls and meetings, employees should be encouraged to speak authentically and transparently; this is the one sure way to deepen team connections. Without the element of physical contact, we can refresh connections by regular check-ins to keep your team focused and engaged. Informal sessions like happy hours can help employees know themselves better and foster closer networks than we probably would have in a physical office space.
Additionally, this new kind of employee experience offers a refreshing level of efficiency. Erstwhile lengthy process of employee engagement can now be completed in a shorter time, seeing as virtual meetings offer instant polls and immediate analytics, etc.
Over the past two years, managing a remote workforce has proven to be not only possible, but also seamless. As learning and development is a continuous and ongoing progress, there are a few ways to ensure that people continue to be developed and engaged as remote employees, some of which can include:
– Virtual date meetings
– Peer-to-peer feedback sessions
– Supporting employees with a hone office stipend
– Online learning and trainings
– Soliciting their feedback and opinions
– Being generous with praise
A lot of benefit will come from streamlining the HR Process to ensure your employees having a great experience at the workplace, whether or not they are working in the physical office.
Sharing her experience during the COVID-19 peak times in Ghana, Elizabeth Amponsah shared how much effort she made into keeping in touch with her employees via video and telephone conversations to ensure they were faring well. For her, their physical and mental health safety was key.
The future of Employee Experience:
Moving forward, COVID-19 has “really changed the HR game”. In Madam Amponsah’s words. “It calls for re-evaluation of the way we work to ensure employees get a similar level of experience if not the same as per the traditional way of employee engagement.
In spite of the fears/worries that come with performance management of staff who are working remotely, there are interventions, software and technological interventions that make it easier. There may be the worry that workers are not really working or are disconnected from the company culture.
Moving forward, organisations need to prioritise effective communication to confirm employee’s wellbeing and access to the needed tools for effective work. Beyond converting the employee engagement experience into the digital world, extra care must be taken to ensure that the employee feels seen, heard and appreciated. Further, the necessary tools need to be provided to ensure that employees can be as effective as they need to be in their portion of the world of work.
The changes that lay ahead of the world of work can be navigated with the tool of shared learning and gleaning from others, ways to live out best HR practice. Fortunately, HR Focus has put together several platforms for shared learning, people development and networking. It may be new terrain to navigate, but all HR practitioners can adequately reinvent the employee experience in their organisation.
Interviewed: Elizabeth Amposah,
HR Manager –
Dimension Data Ltd