During this time employee experience is more important than ever to ensure employees are feeling supported, connected, positive and productive.
As we move into extended remote ways of working, organisations can either:
Creating ‘moments that matter’ and ensuring a positive experience for employees remain important regardless of whether they are physically in the office or working virtually.
Here we share three opportunities and respective strategies to ensure the employee experience is maintained or even enhanced through these unprecedented times.
Without a doubt many employees will be feeling anxious during this time. With teams working remotely and the constant barrage of bad news, a regular cadence of communication is a key lever in helping people adapt to a new way of life and provide a level of certainty in a very uncertain world.
Employees need to be able to look at their organisation as a regular, trusted source of unbiased information that has their wellbeing and interests at heart. Leaders need to be able to communicate what is important to employees, what resources they can access, and how the business is responding.
The COVID-19 crisis presents an opportunity to show people that they’re a top priority and therefore should be at the heart of your communication strategy. As Microsoft President Brad Smith said in a recent interview, “these are the kinds of times that define the character of a company.”
What are employees’ needs and concerns? What are they feeling? Communicating COVID-19 updates and plans are vital, but providing employee’s channels to share their experiences is critical too. This will help you make decisions that help employees feel safe, assured and heard.
For many, the speed at which this situation is unfolding is unprecedented. Senior leaders need to empower and trust leaders, managers and key individuals to make decisions on employee communications and respond to issues quickly.
Strategies to consider:
Managing completely remote teams is likely to be a very new experience for many managers. Depending on company culture, size and processes, there may be very inconsistent levels of manager trust across the organisation when it comes to managing remotely.
For some, it can be tempting to start micromanaging and checking in when employees are logged in and at their desks. It goes without saying that this level of scrutiny may severely impact employee experience and damage the levels of trust and respect within teams.
Whilst this all may seem daunting, you are unlikely to be starting from zero. Organisations that already have flexible working policies in place as well as those that require teams to collaborate across multiple locations are already using a number of remote working tools and processes effectively. Best practices from these can absolutely be leveraged as organisations transition to a fully remote and distributed team environment.
There are in fact already a number of completely remote companies, like GitHub and InVision, which we can learn a lot from. These companies promote focusing on outcomes and agreed timeframes and trusting their team members will deliver.
Strategies to consider:
In the 2018 State of Remote Work report, loneliness was identified as the biggest challenge for remote employees. During the COVID-19 crisis, many employees will experience this too. Not forgetting to recreate the social aspects of coming into the office is critical to beating loneliness and social isolation that comes with long term remote working.
Strategies to consider:
Stay up to date on our resources that help organisations navigate COVID-19
Working with you through challenging times
Whether it was through the global financial crisis a decade ago to the COVID-19 impact that hit Asia since early January, Mercer has helped and will continue to help our clients navigate through the complexity and ensure your decisions today can boldly shape your future. If you wish to discuss any of your people or workforce implications in greater detail please reach out to your Mercer consultant.
This document reflects Mercer’s perspective as of 17 April 2020.
Morath, E., & Hilsenrath, J. (2020, March 14). U.S. Economic Outlook Under Coronavirus Hinges on Layoff Decisions. Retrieved from The Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-economic-outlook-hinges-on-layoff-decisions-11584110104
Owl Labs. (2018). 2018 State of Remote Work Report (Global). Owl Labs.
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