How to bring employee experience to life while your people work remotely
Employee experience is critical to productivity even without the usual touchpoints. With many employees working remotely for the foreseeable future, how can employers ensure a great employee experience?
Perks of the job. They play a part in keeping employees emotionally attached and engaged with their employer. Pre-Coronavirus, leading organisations worked hard to ensure employees enjoyed had a positive experience at work. This included everything from being whisked off to the pub or a restaurant to celebrate a job well done, to quirky work environments replete with entertainment, canteens with free food on tap and chefs to cook it for good measure.
What happens when the very touchpoints that used to define employee experience are no longer available to employers? Even though lockdown measures are easing, many employees will continue to work from home for the foreseeable future. At the same time, a significant percentage may never return to the office, either through personal choice or because their employer has seen the future, downsized office space, and reconfigured the workforce to work remotely on a permanent basis.
Whether an employee is at their place of work or working remotely they will continue to have an emotional reaction to their employer. Employers can’t afford to ignore this. They still need to give employees a compelling reason to join the organisation over a competitor, stay, and do their best work.
We’ve gathered insight to illustrate how different employers have taken their office-bound employee experience out of office and translated it into a remote experience.
Maintain continuity of experience until employees can return to the office
Silicon Valley conjures up images of campus style workplaces fitted out with gyms, ball courts, a buzzing schedule of social events, concierge services for everyday needs, and canteens with free food.
To stay ahead, giant tech firms know they need to attract the brightest minds and that they are competing against higher salaries in the banking sector for that talent. Rather than compete entirely on salary, employers in the tech industry offer a unique employee experience, creating an emotional response to the workplace.
Therein lies the challenge, so much of an employee’s experience is built around being at a place of work. Much of it depends on being together in a physical building. The deal is do a good job in exchange for an unbeatable experience of work.
Employee loyalty is a challenge for organisations in highly competitive sectors. Employers need to find ways to uphold their side of the deal or risk losing talent to competitors. Several of our global tech clients have started to use a restaurant ticket voucher scheme that enables home workers to buy food or cooked meals from restaurants in their local area. For a relatively insignificant cost, an employer can they recognise the value of this benefit to employees.
Reinforce employee brand in a permanently dispersed workforce
In the “new normal”, some organisations are taking the opportunity to rethink and redesign work more in line with modern life. Many employees want to work remotely or flexibly, some or all of the time. Inevitably that means the workforce will be dispersed between office and remote workers. Forward thinking employers recognize they need an employee experience that works across both settings.
This was the experience of a leading Housing Association that had built its brand story and culture around connectivity, symbolized by a cup of coffee. Traditionally great teamwork happened in the office as members gathered together over a superior cup of coffee delivered by quality coffee making machines. The coffee not only tasted great but was used as a symbol of connectivity and teamwork, a core value of the Housing Association.
When the organisation downsized office space, enabling a significant percentage of the workforce to work remotely or from home, it wanted to reinforce these core values outside of the office. Every employee received a branded Mastercard with a logo of hands connecting around a cup of coffee. The card is automatically loaded with £33 per month for employees to purchase a coffee from their favourite barrister. A simple cost effective, solution that reminds employees of a core value every time they buy a coffee.
Out of sight but not out of mind - support employee wellbeing
Other employers have donuts delivered to every employees’ home to continue the pre-lockdown tradition of a weekly team huddle with coffee and cake. The primary driver used to be about giving staff the chance to mix and mingle. Post-lockdown it provides line managers with an opportunity to check in and support the mental wellbeing of home workers.
Recognition for remote workers is a bit like a leaf falling on the forest floor
If no one sees it happens, did it happen at all? Public recognition of good work by peers, as well as leaders, takes on a new significance when the workforce is split between home and office workers. It’s important for home workers, many of whom may have concerns over job security need their work to be publicly recognised, particularly when co-workers continue to receive recognition in the office.
We work with a large law firm whose culture and reputation rests on how quickly it gets a legal brief out the door. The entire company comes together to celebrate a swift turnaround, which in turn reinforces the culture. The firm purchased a recognition platform to enable it to continue to encourage this behaviour while staff work from home.
The future of many workforces will include a mix of office and remote workers. Organisations can help managers create a positive employee experience across both spheres by giving them the right tools.
If you would like to learn more about recreating employee experience while your people work remotely, please click here.