(Re)Designing the employee experience
Mastering the new rules to stay ahead of the curve
(Re)Designing the employee experience
Today’s strategic investment – tomorrow’s rewards
As a reaction to the pandemic crisis, organizations underwent many changes in the past year that were implemented unilaterally and based in urgency. Employer-employee relationships were no exception. From disruptions to business’ operations, profitability, workplaces, processes, relationships, and policies, very few aspects of professional life have been left untouched.
Now, tomorrow’s leaders are taking the initiative, working proactively to design their organization’s future in ways that take full advantage of the opportunities created by this major disruption.
Based on a framework that addresses the seven aspects of hybrid work, we use an organized, effective process to help you define the work method that will drive your success and create a plan for how to implement it.
(Re)defining the meaning of work
Have you asked yourself whether your current or future employees will still identify with your “About Us” and “Our Philosophy” after the crisis?
Employees choose an organization, a career and a role based on your employer brand and, more importantly, your organizational identity. This means that the transition to virtual or hybrid work is more than a mere change in semantics: benchmarks, values, standards, and other distinguishing aspects of your organization have all been transformed.
We help companies (re)design their employee experience in a post-pandemic context, to (re)define the meaning of work in a way that’s favourable to the well-being of employees, teams and the organization as a whole - positively contributing to the bottom line.
Our framework for redefining tomorrow's work consists of seven interconnected aspects designed to help you achieve an integrated vision of your organization’s future through a motivational process of sense making among your employees.
Because quickly hitting your targets is as much about the process than the solution.
(Re)thinking organizational processes
Since the start of the pandemic, the way employees feel about work has changed; but is this change reflected in your organizational practices? Are your organizational practices designed for short-term survival, or long-term longevity?
Our client, a professional services firm with offices nationwide, hired us to review their organizational practices in order to ensure employee performance and well-being ahead of their partial return to the office after the pandemic.
The review enabled them to:
- recognize the different points of view held by the organization's different hierarchical levels and find where they agree and disagree;
- identify the main ingredients for creating an attractive hybrid work environment;
- guide the firm’s reflections about the business model and employer positioning to ensure it remains viable for the long term.
For this review, we used a Design Thinking approach that focused on the employees’ needs and experiences. Through meaningful conversations, interviews and brainstorming workshops, employees identified challenges and came up with solutions. The result? A list of recommendations that address real employee needs, promote employee buy-in, and create a strong sense of belonging.
(Re)skilling and upskilling
Given hybrid work’s increased use of technology, have you determined what tomorrow's skills are, including soft skills such as digital intelligence?
Are your organization's traditional core competencies still relevant in the new normal? Is the way you envision and develop skills part of a strong talent management strategy that's aligned with your new reality?
Prior to launching a digital transformation process that would involve replacing and consolidating their existing technologies, our client, an energy company, asked us to help them develop a new approach to skills development.
In addition to teaching employees how to use the new system, we first had to understand the impact it would have on job skills. As some tasks are automated, more complex data is analyzed, and enhanced management tools are self-regulated through machine learning, the company's vision and learning paths were being rethought in light of tomorrow's needs.
Once developed, the vision was implemented through training programs based on the required future skills. In order to take different needs and learning styles into account, we developed three training programs based on three types of personas developed specifically for the need*. This exercise also helped us design a strong talent management strategy to improve the training program’s ROI.
* What are personas?
Personas are fictional characters, based on on-the-ground research, that represent different types of user groups that might use your service, product, site or brand in similar ways.
They help us understand users' needs, experiences, behaviours and goals. They are based on the idea that different people have different needs and expectations. Born from the User Experience (UX) domain, the concept of persona can be applied for Employee Experience (EX) with employees as the subject.
(Re)creating informal interactions
How can we create informal interactions in a hybrid work environment so that they’re meaningful for both employees and the organization?
How can we create a laid-back atmosphere in a hybrid work environment without putting those who are not physically present at a disadvantage?
Informal interactions at work have always had many benefits for you and your organization. The fact that these interactions are no longer happening is making us aware of their hitherto unseen benefits.
After the first rush of adrenaline, when a shared experience of the crisis served as a unifying force, organization staff reported feeling isolated and even demoralized by the new reality. What would happen if your corporate culture disappeared and your employees lost their motivation?
Work is much more than a basic transaction of money in exchange for time. It is the basis for a relationship that satisfies fundamental human needs for belonging, purpose, personal fulfillment and social approval, to name just a few. The depth of that relationship indirectly benefits the company by fostering commitment and motivation.
However, there are limits to how deep these feelings can grow when people are interacting through a screen. So, recreating the benefits of informal events is less about copying them into a virtual setting and more about understanding why the event was important, and designing a new kind of forum to meet the underlying needs.
That is why we designed a multi-disciplinary framework with seven interconnected aspects to help you achieve this objective.
Employees who report being satisfied of their social connectivity level with colleagues are two to three times more likely to maintain or improve their productivity on collaborative tasks as those who are dissatisfied with their relationships (BCG, 2020).
What will the purpose of your brick-and-mortar office be in a new normal where your employees’ day-to-day workplace varies?
Post-pandemic, how can you ensure that your offices will be a place where both in-person and virtual connections can occur?
Talsom has helped a number of clients restructure their workspaces. One of them, a company in the banking sector, redesigned the offices for its 2,500 employees in more than 100 business centres across Canada so it could implement certain aspects of hybrid work. Offices were designed to share ideas and collaborate, and telecommuting was the preferred option for tasks that required more focus.
At Talsom, we know that the office is much more than a physical place. Given its impact on corporate identity, corporate culture and the employee experience, we saw this project as an opportunity for cultural change. As such, we suggested designing the spaces to create an inclusive, open, inspiring, and dynamic environment that promotes a collaborative, innovative culture.
(Re)imagining tools and technologies
Will your current tools and technologies support your employees' performance and well-being, regardless of how they work in the new normal?
Do you still use your tools and technologies in more traditional ways, where employees work in sync according to standard processes, or have you pivoted to take advantage of the benefits of hybrid work?
If your company didn't have the tools and equipment to work virtually before the pandemic, that probably changed in a very short timeframe at the onset of the crisis.
However, there is a considerable difference between “being able to work from home temporarily” and “being skilled at and equipped with the tools and processes allowing one to work wherever and whenever they’re most productive”. Where is your organization on that continuum?
Having the right tools and technologies is a good start but knowing how to put them to work for you is the difference between surviving and thriving.
Based on the lessons learned from 10 years of supporting companies in their digital transformation, we have developed a unique framework that helps our clients structure their transformation process based on their actual needs and objectives, thereby avoiding the mistakes made by so many others. This approach has been enhanced by the findings of a post-pandemic research team tasked with researching and monitoring the best organizational practices, models and systems, enabling us to offer targeted support in many different situations.
COVID-19 has been “a catalyst for business transformation”, with 76% of businesses surveyed at the end of 2020 planning on long-term IT changes (Spiceworks Ziff Davis, 2020).
(Re)evaluating the meaning of leadership
What kind of leadership does your organization need to ensure all employees move successfully to a hybrid work model? And what do the leaders themselves need from their organization to make this happen?
From middle managers to CEOs, the types of leadership and the needs of employees vis-à-vis their managers have changed dramatically. Now that companies have moved beyond the “forced adaptation” stage, hybrid work styles in the new normal require knowing how to:
- connect with the team when members are physically distant;
- allow employees certain freedoms, while ensuring performance standards are met;
- manage employees fairly, regardless of the work mode they choose.
We want to help you redesign your leadership approach to meet the changing needs of your employees in a post-pandemic world and empower your leaders to meet the new challenges ahead.
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