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.
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.