Two-years into the pandemic, the psychological contract between employees and employers has been changed forever. The changes in the way individuals work have not only changed their expectations, people are actively looking to join organisations capable of addressing their unique needs.
Encouragingly, employers across Australia and New Zealand have made great progress in evolving their employee experience programs to meet evolving expectations. According to the 2022 Qualtrics Employee Experience Trends report, the volume of employees engaged at work is higher than at the beginning of the pandemic.
However, an employee’s intent to stay with their current employer has not moved in the same direction.
Crissa Sumner, Employee Experience Solution Strategist at Qualtrics, said: “It’s a reality that means employers must continue to innovate and evolve their employee experience if they’re to survive and thrive against a backdrop of labour shortages, supply chain disruptions, and an increasingly competitive job market.”
With challenges ahead through 2022, Sumner asserted that employers should focus on five key areas to improve their employee experience – if they managed to do so successfully, “it will give them a significant advantage in the race to attract, retain, and develop talent.”
Focus on what matters
With the “Great Resignation” expected to peak locally during the first half of this year, employers should work to mitigate departures by increasing intent to stay across the organisation. Through the Qualtrics research, the researchers discovered the top drivers of intent to stay are:
- I feel that my career goals can be met at this company (growth & development)
- I feel as if I belong at this company (inclusion)
- I feel positive about myself at work (wellbeing)
- I believe this company has an outstanding future (strategic alignment)
- I would recommend this company’s products and services (customer focus)
“To address employee needs, leaders must be enabled to work with their teams to build a culture of inclusion, and understand team member aspirations and what support they need to fulfill them,” said Sumner.
Improve team resilience
Despite a year-on-year increase in employee wellbeing, employee resilience declined 12 per cent, suggesting current levels of wellbeing are unsustainable without change.
Sumner: “To build resilience, especially in hybrid environments, employees need to feel comfortable to take time off when they need it. Our research shows a quarter (23 per cent) won’t take a sick day even when they are not feeling well enough to perform their duties.”
“Successful organisations will define and iterate new ways of working in a hybrid environment, regularly capturing employee feedback and acting on it to make sure needs are being met.”
Provide better technology
Hybrid working is here to stay, with 43 per cent of employees saying they would be more likely to look for a new job if required to make a full-time return to the office. Employees are also demanding better technology experiences for the hybrid workplace, with just 30 per cent saying this currently meets expectations.
Sumner: “It’s a worthwhile investment as our research shows people satisfied with technology are three times more engaged and productive at work, and report higher levels of wellbeing.”
Further reading: Improve employee experience with process automation.
Align employee and customer experience
Sumner: “Employee experience is just as important as customer experience. In recent years, leading organisations have recognised that employee satisfaction is key to good customer service.”
“But our findings also show the importance of creating a customer-centric culture to drive employee engagement. Customer focus ranks as the second most important factor for employee engagement, and fifth for intent to stay.”
Keep listening and responding
“The key to improving employee experience is listening and taking action on the issues that matter most. Listening tools will help you understand and design the employee experiences your diverse workforce craves,” concluded Sumner.