The past two years have been a turbulent ride, keeping everyone at the edge of their seats with numerous bumps, changes, and startling surprises. The pandemic didn’t spare anyone, and the HR field is no exception.
Things that were once a “nice-to-have” or at the bottom of the priorities list suddenly became a key focus for HR teams. In short — providing your run-of-the-mill employee experience is no longer an option.
The COVID-19 crisis forced workers to rethink their life choices and decisions. Poor treatment from employers during the pandemic, being underpaid, or having no work-life balance were among the principal reasons people quit their jobs in 2021.
Because of that, employee experience became one of the HR professionals’ top concerns. It will continue evolving in 2022 and beyond due to being essential for workplace happiness and talent attraction.
Here’s what HR can expect in the months ahead:
Remote work has brought many advantages, but a lack of in-person communication has led to a rapid proliferation of communications tools and technologies. Given the abrupt transition to remote work, the adoption of these tools was not done strategically. Instead, employees are saddled with multiple synchronous and asynchronous apps to complete their assignments and keep in touch with their employers. Not only does this lead to disorganized communications, but results in employees struggling to disconnect from their work during off hours.
Given the tight labor market, employers who care about talent retention (it should be all of them) will be looking to address these problems quickly. Accordingly, in 2022 HR will leverage automation, message personalization, and pre-coordinated message scheduling to streamline communication.
One successful example of this transition can be found in an insightful case study from Pyn on how their employee-centric messaging platform was able to help the insurance experts at Everquote declutter internal communications and increase engagement during their staff onboarding process.
Emily Nissensohn, Manager of Employee Development at Everquote sums up this new dynamic: “How many emails that we send every day can be bundled into a really deliberate and thoughtful series of communications instead of hitting people with messages randomly? The more we can bundle, the more time and energy we’re saving our employees.”
Hybrid Work Exploring the Metaverse
Traditionally, “hybrid work” has referred to employees spending part of their time working remotely and part of their time working on-site at the office. But going forward, hybrid work won’t simply refer to the split between work in home and corporate offices.. It will also step into the metaverse territory. According to the HR Predictions for 2022 report by Josh Bersin, HR will explore this extended reality and transform onboarding, training, and collaboration. The metaverse has the potential to alleviate some of the emotional disconnect that results from two-dimensional video calling, and also lends itself to training exercises in hands-on technical jobs.
Work Hours Adjustments
Millennials and Gen-Z just aren’t fans of 9-5 schedules. HR will respond to their needs and introduce 4-day work weeks and flexible schedules. Particularly in knowledge-based industries like Saas that frequently span multiple time zones and hemispheres, the notion of a “set” office clock is quickly becoming irrelevant and unwieldy. Rather, due dates and deadlines will become the driving force behind scheduling.
HR will reinforce their Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging initiatives and tailor their policies to hybrid work. They’ll also focus more on recruiting diverse talents from different corners of the world. In an increasingly digital, globalized economy, companies that fail to advocate for DEIB will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage.
Perks & Benefits Personalization
Most employees are no longer interested in traditional perks that make no difference in their lives. Having amenities like an excellent company fitness center or unlimited coffee and snacks become meaningless in a remote working environment. As a result, HR will personalize their offerings and introduce new types of benefits that promote hobbies, physical activities, and emotional well-being.
Home Office Upgrades
Both physical and virtual offices will undergo renovations and upgrades. HR will purchase top-notch digital tools, engaging amenities that encourage employees to return to in-person work and help workers set up their home workspace. Employees will receive home office stipends to properly equip themselves. Larger employers may utilize interior designers to help employees maximize the use of space in their home office, particularly for employees who live in apartments or other dwellings where square footage is limited. Smaller employers may provide employees with subscriptions to one of the many interior design apps that exist, in lieu of a dedicated consultant.
People Before Profit
Human capital drives business stability and success. The pandemic and Great Resignation have shown that nothing holds a company together as much as its people.
Because of that, “employee experience” is no longer a buzzword but an essential element of job satisfaction and loyalty. Besides encouraging employees to stay with their companies, it also helps attract high-quality candidates.
HR practices that fail to put employee needs first and ensure their wellness will fall out of favor, as dissatisfied employees will “vote with their feet” and move on to employers that better accommodate their needs. Instead of focusing on profit-centric goals and strategies, they’ll concentrate on making workplaces more meaningful.
Employee experience will go through multiple upgrades and improvements in the years ahead as a reminder of a clear lesson the pandemic taught us: people come first.
Want to make sure you’re supporting your employees and ensuring their success? Sign up for our Webinar on Human Capital on March 22nd.
Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash