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3 Reasons Why You May Be Disconnected From Your Employees

3 Reasons Why You May Be Disconnected From Your Employees

Employee expectations were rapidly changing before the pandemic. The top three priorities — according to employers surveyed by professional staffing firm AON last year — were expectations for more flexible working hours, options to work from home and better awareness of mental health issues. 

It’s hard to imagine those three areas aren’t still at the top of the list. From remote work to job layoffs and reassignments to furloughed employees now re-entering the workforce, COVID-19 has dramatically altered how we work. The uncertainty has magnified the need for employers to connect with employees on a deeper level and to better deliver on what matters most. 

The challenge, though, is overcoming a disconnect that existed long before the global pandemic. A recent study from Gartner found that only 29% of employees agreed with the statement, “HR really understands what people like me need and want.” And a 2019 research report on the topic of Employee Experience I spearheaded while at ServiceNow revealed only 40% of employees “feel their feedback is heard and acted on.” The research also unveils the disconnect gets deeper for organizations that have employee populations in deskless positions and for large organizations where employees feel less cared for and have increasingly fewer  opportunities to share feedback. 

With many workers now thrust into remote working and many more adjusting to new roles and processes as companies get back to business, having a continuous dialogue is increasingly vital to establishing trust and connectivity.

The first step to beginning that conversation and improving employee engagement is understanding why employees may be disconnected in the first place. 

Three Reasons Behind the Employee Disconnect

  1. Infrequent feedback According to Gartner, annual surveys have steadily declined as true indicators of what’s happening in the workplace. They are not frequent enough to provide an accurate perspective. Although they’re solid predictors of employee behavior to identify general trends, they create siloed and fragmented views of actual experiences. They often do not catch early signs of disengagement, identify influencers or detractors, or detect patterns in evolving employee attitudes.
  2. Inaccuracy and guesswork: There’s an assumption we know what employees want based on educated guesses or annual surveys. But we’re missing moments of truth that are not always revealed in survey data. Day-to-day employee experience can change dramatically based on specific personal or professional moments. Life changes like becoming a parent, or company changes like new leadership, can trigger sentiments that influence how employees feel about their jobs. Of employees who have experienced moments of change, over half — and sometimes more than three-quarters — did not rate their employers highly based on those events. In fact, two-thirds of employees say their former employer did not conduct an exit interview, according to the ServiceNow report.
  3. Slow or a lack of responses: First-generation HR experience tools allowed staff to send long surveys and collect insights. But they then had to manually thread the data together from disparate systems for a true analysis, resulting in long lead times before any action was taken. The data was there, but the insights that could lead to rapid action were limited because the analysis was slow and tedious. Often, no action was taken, or if it was, it was too late to make an impact, furthering disconnecting the employee from their employer.

Bridging the Gap and Driving Employee Engagement

To stay connected to employees, it’s critical for organizations to listen continuously across the employee journey by providing easy ways to surface issues and ideas as they pop up. Engaging employees on their preferred devices allows for the capture of the broadest set of signals and is crucial to increasing the frequency of feedback.

It’s not just the capture of signals that’s crucial, though. It’s the analysis and ability to turn those insights into action that can drive a real impact to the workforce and beyond. Organizations delivering a holistic workforce experience and improving employee engagement are two times more likely to satisfy their customer and are 25% more profitable, according to research from Deloitte.

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