One of the solutions that has come up as an answer to the question ‘How do we go about building a positive EX?’ is digital tools. In this world which is increasingly impacted by digital transformation, technology is a critical enabler of empowerment and driving engagement within the workforce. Simultaneously, upskilling and wellbeing initiatives also need to be looked into. While there are multiple strategies and multiple digital platforms to cater to the goals of HR leaders, challenges remain. Be it encouraging employees to adopt the digital tools made available to them or even coming up with solutions which cater to their diverse needs within an organisation, leaders have to be strategic and sensitive in the digital solutions they implement.
With the intention of bearing answers to these challenges, Microsoft and People Matters recently hosted a webcast with HR leaders, Microsoft Customer Success Manager, Cheng Lei Lim, and Joyce Wong, Regional HR Director, International SOS sharing their insights and experience of using digital tools for creating a positive employee experience.
Overcoming challenges of engagement:
In a hybrid work set up, engagement will be a challenge. What can instead be done is to create as many touch points as possible between HR, managers and employees and deploy digital tools to make the virtual experience as real as possible. This is a significant insight shared by Joyce with which this session opens. She also touches upon the importance of families as personal and professional lives start to get blurred. One way to include them is to offer these families opportunities for medical advisory and support.
Cheng Lei emphasises on how leaders must ensure that work isn’t happening in silos and an organisational culture continues to be part of employee EX. When it comes to the use of digital tools, a strategy is to incorporate them into the work life of employees so that it doesn’t stress them out and place increasing pressures.
Feedback is also an important means to test the strategies so implemented and to then zero in on developing the ‘pull factor’ of these initiatives. Providing open channels of communication is a must to know the areas of EX which demand greater attention and to encourage workforce participation. Digital tools play a critical role in creating and building on this communication. Further, when large companies take the stride to develop and execute global initiatives, one also has to take account of local contexts.
Enabling a learning environment:
It is well known that upskilling is the need of the hour but it is a difficult feat to pull off in a virtual space. Skilling programs can hardly ever be carried out in a linear fashion and the struggles of employees have to be acknowledged. By taking note of these very struggles and then aligning it with the overall business goals is the first step. The next is to break the learning process into phases and to carry out programs which offer bite-sized learning and leverage the use of multiple media platforms. Again, communication is key and must involve both L&D professionals/Trainers and employees. These programs must be implemented with the endeavour to make it as user friendly as possible, be in the flow of daily work and to take account of local contexts as well as regional languages.
Management of diverse wellbeing needs:
Cheng Lei believes that employees must bring their authentic selves to work rather than work shaping them. This involves building the right amount of trust and empowerment within the organisation. Employees must be given the space to express what they need and when it comes to the use of digital tools, they must be allowed to take the lead regarding its usage into their professional lives. A top down approach does not work. What is needed is a sense of safety, the knowledge that they are being supported by their colleagues.
A baseline of understanding where your people are today is what Joyce believes is critical. Digital tools can play a significant role in garnering this knowledge, the red flags and trigger points which aids in the redeployment of wellbeing initiatives. But these tools have to be implemented periodically, it’s not a one of thing because the challenges people face continue to change with the changing times. In the turbulent situation that we find ourselves in today, it is even more important to target the well being agenda proactively and consistently.
Incorporating technology into the workflow of employees is an important way to enhance their EX. It is not just a critical enabler of driving engagement, upskilling and enhancing wellbeing in a hybrid set up. It also helps in zeroing in on the areas which demand greater attention and gives us the data to rework our strategies accordingly. The success of initiatives which are meant to build a positive EX indeed depends on the data that is collated by these digital tools which strive to make the lives of the workforce easier. With the right feedback from the workforce themselves and following up on it as well as building open channels of communication are significant complementary strategies as well. This process that leaders find themselves in is not static and to adapt to this requires the use of digital tools. Both on the part of leaders aiming to improve on EX and employees who are looking to lead smoother, easier, tech enabled work lives.
You can watch the full video here.