How to rebuild the employee experience for employees going back to the workplace


Over the past year, it's safe to say that for most employees, the experiences of work and day-to-day life have merged. Whether your organisation is returning to the workplace fully or introducing hybrid working – don't fall into the trap of thinking this is the only thing on your employees’ minds right now.

Whilst hybrid working may be a hot topic, the physical workspace only forms one part of employee experience – if you are to design an exceptional employee experience as people return to work, you must first understand all the factors that make up this experience. That includes the technology available, ways of working, shift patterns, workplace culture, the communications employees receive – and how they all link together.

Rebuilding the employee experience means also looking at the key role reward and benefits must play in influencing the employee experience – helping to drive motivation, morale, and engagement in a time when we need it most. A well thought out benefits strategy and the right technology to support it can help to define whether the return to work is a positive or a negative experience.

Listen and act

While many of us see a return to the workplace as a return to normality, to regular routine and ‘normal’ life, there have been several fundamental shifts in expectation on both a personal and professional level, meaning employers can't just pick up where they left off.

Now's the time to speak to employees about the changes they want to see in their benefits and wider experience at work. Give employees a voice, with an opportunity for real-time feedback through surveys, focus groups or other research methods.

Marry this feedback with the analytics from your benefits and HR technologies to build a strong foundation of qualitative and quantitative data from which a strategic approach can be created and presented back to the business – an approach that is built on true reason and feedback, not just assumption.

Map your reward and benefits experience

Transitioning back to the workplace is the perfect opportunity to assess the experience you create around reward and benefits, and design something that is personalised to your employees in the here and now - considering the individual, rather than the demographic.

Journey mapping is the perfect exercise to help define experiences and find ways to improve them using a systematic approach. Typically, journey mapping is used as an exercise to map customer or user experiences, but the process and methodology applies to the employee experience too.

Mapping the past experience against the experience you want to create will help identify key opportunities and quick wins for improvement – whether that's in the design of the touchpoints, the internal HR processes or the technologies used to support employee experiences. Aligning this with the data you gather will help you identify wider trends and design an experience that's truly based on what your employees want.

Make it easy and accessible

Many people have been forced to adapt to new, digital ways of working because of the pandemic, and while it may come as second nature to some, there are still those groups that find the notion of hosting a Zoom call daunting.

As organisations adopt remote, hybrid or return-to-workplace practices it can mean that employees don’t always receive access to, or information about, their benefits if the right technology channels are not in place.

These changes mean you need to think carefully about how employees interact with their benefits, now and in the future. Having a centralised technology platform for all your reward, wellbeing and benefits resources is important – but having something that is easy to use, flexible and accessible, with the communications to support it, is vital.

Cut through the noise

The vast amount of change the world has experienced in the past year has prompted employers to think carefully about how they communicate with employees. Internal communications has never shone so brightly in the eyes of senior stakeholders.

A crucial part of employees’ experience when returning to the workplace will be how you inform them of the existing resources and support channels available to them, as well as ensuring they have all the information needed to come back to their physical place of work. Not only is this a moral and fundamental responsibility as an employer, but it’s also a message that your employees want to hear.

It’s more important than ever that you don’t fall into the trap of taking a one-size-fits all approach to your communications – a focus on personalisation is key. Tailoring your message now means people are far more likely to pay attention when you communicate in the future. So consider all your employees, and their unique circumstances, their journey and where they are looking to go. But above all, remember the employee experience as a whole, rather than a single point.

This article is provided by Benefex.


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