Appreciating Staff Looks Different Now

The experience staff are having at work is far more important now than it was prior to the pandemic and it’s time for employers to double down, according to a global survey of 1,550 employers by consultancy Willis Towers Watson.

The survey shows 94% believe improving employee experience will be an important priority at their organization over the next three years compared with just 54% that indicated it was important to their organization prior to the pandemic.

“Whether due to employer actions such as pay reductions and layoffs or because of virtual work and personal hardships for some workers, the pandemic exposed shortfalls in the employee experience at many organizations,” said Andy Walker, managing director, Willis Towers Watson. “Enhancing the employee experience has therefore become an imperative for employers, and it’s one that will take time and present challenges many are not currently prepared to meet.”

A positive work experience brings the benefits of increased engagement, well-being, productivity and performance, but what does employee experience mean? What are the pieces of the employee experience puzzle?

Willis Towers Watson suggests “breakthrough” actions for employers to deliver excellent employee experiences:

  • Adapt to flexible work, perhaps by providing backup day care or reimbursement of costs of working from home
  • Offer fair pay, prioritize health and wellbeing programs, and broaden diversity
  • Improve leadership skills to better adapt to change
  • Invest in technology to support employee experience programs

HR Dive, after reviewing the data, came up with another idea – employee appreciation.

Betsy Kauffman, an organizational design consultant who is working on employee experience will all her clients, suggested to HR Dive that employers should recognize employees in different ways than the usual ideas. Employees want to be seen. “The cupcakes in the office and the donuts and stuff — that doesn’t resonate anymore. What’s more important are my values.”

More frequent feedback, which ties together the professional and personal, can help employees feel connected, but keep it consistent for all. For example, WorkHuman celebrates life events such as a new apartment or new baby.

“You may have one leader who’s amazing at appreciation and another who’s not,” Kauffman told HR Dive. “It’s really about implementing appreciation consistently. How do you make sure everyone feels connected to the organization, to the leader and to each other?”


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