Covid-19: Technology key differentiator post-pandemic for employee experience

Dubai - Organisations investing in EX had more than four times the average profit and more than two times the average revenue.



HR professionals are leveraging immersive, AI-based tools, to help employees navigate health services. — Reuters
HR professionals are leveraging immersive, AI-based tools, to help employees navigate health services. — Reuters
by

Sandhya D'Mello

Published: Mon 21 Jun 2021, 10:51 PM

Last updated: Mon 21 Jun 2021, 10:52 PM

The Covid-19 pandemic was a turning point in work culture. Organisations pivoted overnight to remote working, while job terminations, furloughs, and salary cuts, had a direct bearing on employee wellbeing, with many reporting increased anxiety and lower productivity.

Sajid Azmi.
Sajid Azmi.

In response, industry leaders are redesigning Employee Experiences (EX), with wellness as the focal point. According to a joint survey by Qualtrics and PwC(1), 95 per cent of IT leaders increased the frequency of listening to employee feedback, in the new normal.

Akif Shaikh.
Akif Shaikh.

So, how is the post-pandemic EX different? For a start, EX is no longer about free lunches or “get-your-pet-to-work” days, but about how to tackle ‘online fatigue’. It involves treating employees as customers, with EX prioritised as much as Customer Experience (CX). Employee journeys are being personalised and optimised, from onboarding to exit. In return, companies achieve increased productivity, greater engagement, higher retention, and better team collaboration.

Mark Lack.
Mark Lack.

According to research published in the Harvard Business Review, organisations investing in EX had more than four times the average profit and more than two times the average revenue.

EX now draws from effective CX strategies

Post-pandemic EX shares many of the metrics used to gauge CX — such as NPS (Net Promoter Score), CSAT (Customer Satisfaction), and CCR (Customer Churn Rate). “EX is as important to a company’s growth as CX,” said Sajid Azmi, CEO of Yegertek, a solution provider in brand engagement and customer loyalty. “Customer-facing companies realise that employee wellness has a cascading effect on CX and business bottom lines. So, EX has become a critical piece of the post-pandemic puzzle. And since many employees are now working remotely, EX has also assumed a strong technological focus.”

Consistent with Sajid’s belief is a study by Aon, which shows the GCC leads employee engagement at 70 per cent, above the global average of 65 per cent. Interestingly, the best employers in the region also ranked 19 points higher than the market average in tech implementation.

Enhancing EX, with the right technologies

“Outdated tech led to silos between HR and employees, low engagement, sub-optimal productivity, and increased employee churn,” said Mark Lack, CEO of Urban Foods. “Our employees have been heroes without capes in this pandemic, especially the front-line workers in our grocery business. In the post-pandemic scenario, technological tools have helped us take a human-centric approach to EX, anchored in understanding employee needs, concerns and wellbeing”.

This sentiment is widely echoed in business circles, and organisations are doubling down on communication tools, to help employees perform their tasks efficiently. Businesses are upgrading to tech-enabled case management platforms, real-time reporting and analytics, and enhanced employee self-service portals (ESS). The results are more effective and quantifiable HR processes, with insight-driven EX that is responsive and empathetic.

“HR professionals are leveraging immersive, AI-based tools, to help employees navigate health services, and upskill, to fill knowledge gaps,” said Akif Shaikh, Partner at Déjà Vu Real Estate. “Thanks to technology, HR professionals can conduct employee wellness initiatives remotely, with engagement that rivals onsite programs. We are a team of more than 100 individuals, across three offices. Technology empowered our workforce and enabled the highest standards in EX, which was especially critical in the uncertainty that prevailed in 2020. In turn, the organisation achieved greater productivity and talent retention”.

Acknowledging excellence leads to more of it

Businesses are investing in employee loyalty and engagement schemes, with their own apps, with emphasis on features that acknowledge performance - through leader boards that reward, applaud, and share achievements. Exceptional performers are often awarded vouchers and benefits, through an eco-system of partners and suppliers, as well as internal mechanisms.

“Technology helps HR professionals see EX through the eyes of employees,” explains Sajid. “It creates loyalty, which, in turn, impacts employee retention and leads to better productivity. And an engaged employee is like a brand ambassador, who ensures customer satisfaction. So, technology is essentially the starting point of great EX and all the great things that follow,” concludes Sajid. — sandhya@khaleejtimes.com


More news from Business