A great definition of Employee Experience has been provided by the advisory firm Future Workplace ®: It is the sum of all experiences an employee has with their employer over the duration of their relationship – from recruitment, to on-boarding and career development, to exiting the organization.’ Hence, Employee experience covers everything that employees observe and encounter while employed with an organisation.
Employee Experience is important for a variety of reasons:
- Companies that provide a great Employee Experience have lower employee turnover
- Positive word-of-mouth about a company’s Employee Experience helps it to attract better talent
- Research has shown that better Employee Experience results in better Customer Experience. Happy Employees = Happy Customers.
- Companies that provide a positive experience to their employees enjoy higher levels of productivity and innovation
- According to an article in Harvard Business Review, companies that invest in Employee Experience outperform those that do not by 2x in terms of average profit.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a once in a century crisis. The workforce has been ravaged by COVID-19 and deaths of employees and family members are commonplace. Never has employee experience been more important than in today’s turbulent times because companies can complement the efforts of the government in helping their employees deal with the impact of COVID-19.
Some of the steps taken by good employers during this crisis to provide their employees with a positive experience are:
- Setting boundaries during Work from Home (WFH): WFH is now a reality but it does not mean that employees need to be available 24/7. People have responsibilities at home and may be caregivers to aged parents, young children or be dealing with a COVID-19 patient who is quarantining. Good employers understand that employees need downtime and such companies have ensured that they set boundaries for working hours even during the pandemic – this includes video and telephone calls!!
- Counselling for employees: Mental health has been severely impacted during the pandemic. Several companies have engaged with professional counselors to provide employees with the support they need to deal with anxiety, stress and grief. This is a powerful step to help employees deal with the emotional trauma caused by the pandemic.
- Helplines or social media groups for Medical Facilities and Supplies: Many corporates are supporting employees through helplines or internal social media groups for obtaining scarce medical facilities such as hospital beds and supplies such as oxygen concentrators or medicines. This goes a long way in alleviating the stress of employees who are running from pillar to post to secure these resources for themselves or their family members.
- Financial Support and Bereavement Compensation: Those who have been infected by COVID-19 face a large financial burden especially if they are admitted to private hospitals. Many companies have stepped up to financially support the treatment of their employees and their families. Equally, if employees pass away due to COVID-19, many Indian companies have announced bereavement compensation to support their families. This includes continued payment of the salary of deceased employees for a couple of years, sponsorship of children’s education up to college graduation in India, employment opportunities for spouses etc. This has provided a tremendous sense of relief to employees who are worried about how their death due to COVID-19 could impact their families’ well-being.
- Communication: Communication is a very important part of Employee Experience. At this time, the tone and tenor of communication from companies that value their employees is kind and empathetic. While business challenges and goals remain, the communication of evolved companies puts the well-being of their employees and their families front and centre. Any communication that is seen to put business objectives before employee welfare is tone-deaf and creates dissonance.
At the height of the first wave of COVID-19 in 2020, an unknown author had penned a poem, a line of which resonated around the world, “We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat.” Companies would do well to design their Employee Experience efforts keeping this reality in mind.