Positive benefits in the new experience economy

In times of acute skill shortage, high employee turnover levels and rising wage inflation, creating a positive employee experience (EX) is becoming a top priority for employers as they try to capture talent.

According to a report in 2021 by advisory firm Willis Towers Watson92% of employers across all industries intend to prioritize EX over the next three years, compared to only 52% before the pandemic.

What EX actually means, market research and advisory company Gartner describes it as: “The way employees internalize and interpret the interactions they have with their organization, as well as the context that underlies those transactions.” does.”

In other words, it is about how an employer’s day-to-day culture, customs and values ​​translate into each individual staff member’s experience of working life and how they feel about it and on react. This means that obtaining EX rights is important not only to reduce the risk of employees leaving, but also to optimize organizational performance (see box below,

Importance of culture and values

Creating a Positive EX is no simple proposition, especially in a hybrid work environment, due to the many interrelated elements it comprises.

Andy Brown, chief executive of leadership and engagement consultancy Engage, says: “There is a ladder of important things to people, and good benefits and salary increases put you on the first rung in terms of retention. But to move up the ladder Deep cultural and value-based ideas come into play, such as how leaders behave and opportunities for growth and development.”

Providing technical workers with particularly effective growth and development options makes them 9.4 times more likely to stay, says Brown. The purpose and value of an inspirational company comes next, making retention 7.8 times more likely.

Meanwhile, empowering technical workers to make their own decisions means they will be six times less likely to leave, while enabling clear communication and collaboration makes them 4.1 and 3.2 times more likely to stay, respectively. .

As Alexia Cambon, a research director at Gartner’s HR practice, explains, delivering all of these elements effectively in a hybrid working world “involves dealing with a high degree of complexity because there is a high degree of choice”. Such choices range from employees primarily working in the office or home to coming to the office for two or three set days a week to work in a flexible manner both in terms of location and time.

As a result, Cambon says: “That’s why there’s often a certain enthusiasm for simpler times when everyone has the same, consistent employee experience, but that’s not possible anymore.”

Therefore, they believe that undertaking segment analysis using people analysis tools to understand and act on the needs of different employee demographics and the assessment of related trends is becoming increasingly important – even though This is an approach that has yet to be widely adopted.

“This is how you will understand where the gaps, stresses, and distractions are, which are important to consider when you are designing your employee experience,” Cambon says. “You will never be able to satisfy everyone 100%, but you will be able to identify ‘critical moments’ for each segment, which creates more emotional investment.”

Those “moments that matter” are critical times and events in an employee’s lifecycle, such as new joiners receiving their first pay raise or more experienced workers receiving a major promotion.

building employee experience

Another key ingredient in the complex employee experience puzzle is trust. The problem here, says Cambon, is that many employers are facing a “crisis of trust,” which goes both ways.

For example, research from Gartner indicates that only 41% of employees believe that their leaders generally act in their best interests.Whereas only 58% feel that their leaders trust them enough to act flexibly without abusing the situation.

“There is an assumption that hybrid work creates new stressors, but this only sheds light on stresses that were already there,” Cambon says. “There is a real trust problem going on in many organizations, but before you can even think about creating a positive employee experience, it’s important to build it.”

One organization that has worked hard to fine-tune the experience of the employees is Larsen & Toubro Infotech (LTI). Sudhir Chaturvedi, President and Executive Board Member, LTI says, “The key to creating a positive employee experience is to establish a culture that focuses on employee well-being and enables each individual to learn and grow.

To this end, the company, which employs 47,000 employees worldwide, introduced two philosophical approaches about six years ago: Zen Buddhist Concept of Shoshin And this ubuntu. South African perception of,

The concept behind Shoshin is to be a “beginner’s mind”. Chaturvedi says this means letting go of preconceptions and being open to new ideas and possibilities – an approach that has proven valuable in the context of innovation at a company like LTI, which has a “strong engineering culture” and solves problems. The focus is on solving, Chaturvedi says.

Ubuntu, on the other hand, is based on the idea of ​​unity and that a person’s sense of self develops in relationships with others. In other words, all of our actions have an impact on other people and on the wider teams, communities, and societies in which we live and work.

Chaturvedi says, “Sometimes people can have an individual approach, especially if they are high performers, but the idea is that until the whole team is successful, this performance is meaningless.” ” “Like Shoshin, it’s something that defines our culture of learning.”

This learning culture is also supported through an internal marketplace that employees can use to discover potential new work options and alternative career paths.

Meanwhile, Shoshin and Ubuntu also form the basis for the company’s “pod model” for project work, which was introduced two years ago and focuses on empowering workers. Eight to 10 people make up a “self-forming” team, or pod, that is responsible for their own activities, deliverables, holidays, etc. Each pod is run by a Scrum Master and team members perform different roles, such as coding one day and software testing the next, as needed to meet their overall goals.

“We hire talented and well-educated people, so we want them to decide how they work and are more production focused,” says Chaturvedi. “In the past, people could say, ‘It’s not my responsibility’ if nothing was given, but now the output is their responsibility.”

Enabling the ‘Yin-Yang’ Model of Hybrid Working

Similarly Shoshin and Ubuntu lay the foundation for the company’s “yin-yang” model of hybrid working. This model is based on three elements: employee needs centered on demographics and living standards; Understanding what makes the most sense to do the different types of work; And how best to meet customers’ needs.

These ideas were then used to create four individual pods, which each individual adopts in agreement with their pods to ensure that the team’s objectives were met.

The first is “work-office”, which includes activities such as collaboration or training, which are best done in an office setting. The second is the “client-office”, which contains the tasks that need to be performed at the client site. The third persona, “home-office”, pertains to employees who want to work from home to focus on specific tasks and meet deadlines. The last one, “hybrid”, is to enable flexibility between working at home, in the office, and at client sites.

But to support such a view, Chaturvedi says, “it is very important to have the right technique”, though he points out that it is not necessarily “path-breaking” in nature.

For communication, which includes CEO chats and monthly all-hands meetings, the firm uses Workplace by Facebook and Microsoft’s Office 365. Project Canvas was introduced as the project management platform of choice during the pandemic, while Microsoft Teams was launched to complement WebEx. Videoconferencing software, both of which act as key collaboration tools.

As far as the mystery of whether this approach is concerned, Chaturvedi believes it comes down to clearly defining the company’s “North Star” and clearly communicating this mission and purpose. Is.

“But it is not just about the leadership team being aware. Everyone needs to know what the North Stars are and what they mean to employees and the work they do if they are to actually join the organization. Let’s go,” he concluded.

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