The reinvention of your employee experience (EX), and life in general, often involves marching off the end of your map into unchartered territory. This can bring anxiety, but it almost certainly brings continuous improvement too. It’s in peeling back the layers to get to the core that you discover new ways to solve old challenges. Are you at the cutting edge of the latest EX trends or are you lagging? It might be time to reinvent your people strategy.
As Michael Porter, the renowned American business strategist said: “Continuity of strategic direction, and continuous improvement in how you do things are consistent with each other. In fact, they’re mutually reinforcing.” We are seeing a number of emerging trends that are redefining the EX landscape. From the rise of AI and automation to the future of workplace culture, well-being, and remote work, these trends are transforming the way we work and interact with our colleagues. Is your strategy aligned to the changing landscape?
The great EVP debate
Attracting top talent is a key priority for any company, and a strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is an essential tool in achieving this goal. However, the debate around what constitutes a strong EVP is far from settled. Some argue that companies should be bold about what employees can expect in terms of benefits and company culture as it stands right now, not an aspirational statement. Others believe that a more aspirational approach is necessary to attract the best talent. Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, it’s clear that reinforcing the value and purpose of your remuneration and benefits, tying it back to the broader employee experience and company culture, is essential.Quick wins:
- Be transparent about salary offers and include perks like flexible hours, and continued education opportunities. Live up to the promises that you make your people at this stage to involve and retain top talent
- Regularly review reward and benefit offerings to remain competitive and keep up with industry-specific trends and expectations
- Refine and update employment contracts to include considerations associated with the gig economy, ensuring that your language is inclusive and plain.
The rise of AI and automation
AI, automation, and digital transformation are rapidly changing the face of the workplace. In the HR space, these technologies are being used to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and enhance EX. AI-driven HR analytics (like matching top talent with high-value roles), chatbots, and digital onboarding are just a few examples of how these technologies are being used to reinvent and transform old HR practices. AR and VR technology is also being used to take onboarding and skills development (especially in high-risk professions) to the next level. Harnessing the power of AI-powered learning experience platforms (LXPs) to deliver curated content for onboarding, reskilling, upskilling, and internal mobility is another way that EX is being reinvented. You can harness the power of AI and automation when you:
- Verify employment history, credentials and more using blockchain technology
- Implement an integrated HR tech stack to automate routine tasks and provide data-driven insights
- Recognise and mitigate potential AI-angst among employees worrying about job loss.
The future of remote and hybrid work
While remote work offers many benefits, it also presents a number of challenges. Companies need to find ways to support remote workers, ensure that they remain engaged and productive, and provide them with the tools and resources they need to succeed. This includes providing access to quality collaboration tools, ensuring that remote workers have access to the same training and development opportunities as their in-office counterparts, and finding ways to build a sense of community and connection among remote workers. Support your hybrid and remote teams by:
- Being intentional about aligning and connecting your people to the company culture
- Focusing on improving the virtual work experience through technology investments, flexible work arrangements (FWA) and policies, and employee well-being support
- Ensuring seamless integration of HR technology platforms like mobile apps, self-service portals, and data analytics tools for friction-free digital experiences
- Using digital tools and platforms with data-free connection options to build inclusive communities
- Considering innovative workspace options to adapt to changing needs
- Investing in training, development, and coaching to enhance communication skills and active listening for both managers and employees
- Ensuring that transparency is a focus in your communication – trust is the new currency of EX.
Holistic well-being and mental health initiatives
We have all experienced the increased stress and isolation from working remotely. It’s important to take active steps to improve collaboration, respect boundaries, and maintain work-life balance. Many employees suffer from “toxic resilience,” working to the point of burnout. Consider what can be done to help employees take the time they need to recover. Focus on encouraging and developing the right behaviours, like providing access to mental health resources, mindfulness training, and empowering managers with training and tools to be coaches too. Take immediate action:
- Relook mental health leave
- Provide resources like apps that are tailored to individual well-being goals, as opposed to enforcing a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach
- Align CSR initiatives with employee interests to combine a sense of community involvement and engagement with purpose
- Develop the role of managers to include coaching.
Strengthening Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts
Take a multifaceted approach to supporting DEI at work to create an open and inclusive culture. Consider ways to improve your employees’ cultural quotient to address bias, racism, and discrimination. For the first time, we are witnessing a five-generational workforce which comes with its own nuances – how do you approach this? Consider providing equitable access to digital resources, and encourage acceptance of employees who might reboard after time off or working remotely. Ultimately, DEI efforts should be felt authentically by individuals across the board.Place DEI front and centre:
- Promote a culture of openness to destigmatise mental health issues
- Invest in facilitated DEI conversations/workshops to drive cultural Intelligence
- Go beyond hiring quotas to build authentic inclusivity
- Set up employee resource groups (ERGs)
- Include neurodivergent individuals
- Design an inclusive rewards strategy.
Continuous learning and development
It’s vital to create a culture of learning, rather than one of training. Make learning easy, habitual, and part of the daily rhythm at work. Establish clear paths for career advancement, especially with underrepresented groups. Encourage reverse mentoring for younger generations to bring new perspectives and lessons in a 5-generation workforce.Where to start:
- Encourage the building of skills passports to remain relevant in a rapidly changing work environment
- Replace annual performance reviews with real-time feedback for continuous improvement
- Invest in learning experience platforms (LXPs) that offer a variety of courses and skills enhancement opportunities
- Create a shadow board of potential leaders to learn from their established counterparts.
Employee voice and feedback loops
Frequent dialogue and constructive conversations are central to improved communication.
Develop a comprehensive VOE strategy to build a listening culture, empowering leaders with the ability to act on employee input - and respond. Without a response and possible course correction, employees could lose trust in the organisation and become disengaged. Remember that we are living in trust economy, and we are continually fighting the battle with misinformation and disinformation.Quick wins:
- Include surveys, sentiment analysis tools, feedback channels, and mechanisms
- Provide training on giving and receiving feedback
- Include employee voices in company policy.
Data-driven EX solutions
Companies can gain invaluable insights into employee sentiments, identify pain points, and ultimately create a more tailored EX by harnessing the power of data analytics and AI. Go beyond generic benefits and development plans, and instead design strategies that resonate on a personal level. However, it is crucial to tread carefully. Investing in EX tools that promote personalisation, real-time recognition, and data analytics must be accompanied by a steadfast commitment to data security and privacy compliance. However, collecting an increasing amount of employee data, safeguarding the privacy and security of that data becomes paramount.See immediate improvement by:
- Leveraging your employee data points
- Investing in EX tools that promote personalisation, real-time recognition, and data analytics.
Personalised employee journeys
There is a growing emphasis on personalised employee journeys that truly understand and cater to the moments that matter along the way. This is where the power of data and AI comes into play. By leveraging these technologies, companies can gain valuable insights into individual needs and preferences, enabling them to tailor experiences in a more meaningful way.
Creating flexible professional pathways that offer diverse career options allows employees to craft their own unique experiences within the organisation. This controversial approach challenges traditional one-size-fits-all approaches, pushing companies to embrace personalisation, technological advancements, and a holistic perspective on employee journeys.Actionable steps to take now:
- Break down each step of the employee journey
- Leverage data and AI to tailor experiences to individual needs and preferences
- Resource up your EX division and create a cross-functional team to own and drive the EX journey.
Enhanced use of people analytics
There is a provocative and forward-thinking approach that encourages the enhanced use of people analytics. By delving into the depths of persona mapping, data analytics, and AI, companies can truly get to know and understand what matters most to their employees. This invaluable insight allows for a tailored EX that resonates on a personal level. Recognising that people are fatigued by constant change, especially in large organisations, and appointing a resource within the EX team to manage the people side of organisational change paves the way for a more data-driven, personalised, and change-ready EX landscape. Do this by:
- Mapping your employee personas
- Using metrics and KPIs to assess the impact of community-building initiatives on employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention
- Employing a dedicated Change Management resource.
4 pillars of EX success
Go beyond knowing, to doing and make these trends real and felt in your own work environment – starting with an honest assessment of where your EX is now and where it should be. A successful EX system and strategy considers and maintains a balanced approach across 4 crucial pillars, ultimately serving employees' needs in the workplace and empowering them to perform at their best in an enabling environment:
- Conversation: Frequent two-way dialogue, supported by multi-media channels, allows for your employees’ voices to be heard; and for their feedback to inform ongoing communication and improvement.
- Community: With a sense of belonging comes a sense of purpose. In nurturing an inclusive and supportive work environment, you’ll attract purpose-driven people who feel as if their mission is supported by the company.
- Function: A positive employee experience requires using tools to reduce friction in day-to-day work. The more you enable your employees to work smarter and do their best work, the better the outcome will be for all.
- Rewards: Understanding what matters most to your people, what motivates their behaviour, and what prompts a reciprocal response will define how they are first attracted to your brand; and then how they are seen and recognised for their contributions.
Understanding these trends, how they complement the 4 key pillars of EX, and how to apply them in your unique environment will give you a distinct advantage when it comes to attracting, retaining, and motivating top talent to be a part of your team - and achieving your company vision in 2024. Keen to know how these trends can become opportunities to galvanise your People strategy? Read Torque’s full EX Trends Report to reinvent your EX.