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Designing a Holistic Employee Experience

The world of work has been going through a dynamic transformation. Over the last few years, burnout and employee satisfaction have taken center stage in the conversation around retention. During a time of record career movement, compensation can seldom stand alone as a singular factor for an individual’s motivation to work. Moreover, organizations are seeing this time, dubbed “the Great Reshuffle”, as an opportunity to connect with employees to re-imagine their core values and design a new employee experience that resonates.

While this can seem daunting, we recommend starting with an engagement survey to better understand your employees. Many companies have learned to work remotely during the pandemic and are beginning to adapt to the in-person environment. In lieu of speculating where an employee is in terms of engagement, companies can look for trends or themes in overall feedback when considering where and when to invest.

Once there is data and a baseline, you can holistically assess the following areas tied to the employee experience:

Physical and Remote Environments:

Navigating where we work is not a new conversation for many companies. However, leaders need to chart the way forward by balancing their business needs and the needs of their employees. Regardless of how companies decide to operate (e.g., in-person, a hybrid model, or fully remote), environments from which somebody works need to be inviting and safe.

In a physical environment, companies can:

  • Invest in an app that allows for in-office sign-ups to manage capacity;

  • Distribute key badges to ensure those who have reasons to access the space may do so; and/or

  • Design the office to encourage social interaction.

In a virtual environment, companies can:

  • Implement collaboration tools to remove some friction associated with asynchronous work;

  • Substantiate IT protocols to ensure privacy and safety;

Health and Well-being:

It would be incomplete to discuss how to design a holistic employee experience without mentioning health and well-being. In addition to traditional benefits that support physical health (e.g., medical, vision, dental, flexible spending accounts), a holistic well-being package can also support your employee’s financial and emotional health. As your employee's needs will vary from person to person, having a robust offering can help ensure that your employees are supported throughout the various stages of their life. Below are some examples of easy ways to build upon a traditional benefits package:

Financial Well-being:

  • Offer a 401k match;

  • Give employees an option to ‘buy-up’ on any life insurance plans offered; and/or

  • Provide paid time off for new parents.

Emotional Well-being:

  • Implement quarterly ‘Rest & Recharge’ days;

  • Support Employer Resource Groups, where individuals with things in common have a dedicated space to share and express their views; and/or

  • Encourage and communicate the use of any available resources through your medical benefits provider (such as but not limited to, an Employee Assistance Program and virtual therapy visits).

Growth and Recognition:

Providing a safe space to work and supporting one’s well-being are just two foundational areas in which somebody can feel valued. To take this a step further, companies can be proactive about how they recognize employee contributions. This form of recognition can be done strategically and as part of an overall commitment to employee development. Some ways in which companies thoughtfully design growth within their organization can include:

  • Creating clear development ladders for each role;

  • Investing in a Career Coach for top-performing managers;

  • Building in Learning & Development (L&D) as part of the annual performance process;

  • Setting monthly, quarterly, and annual goals and check-ins with every staff member.

Continuous Feedback:

What has been inspiring about the time we are in is how collaboration has been a focus and how it has supported continuous success. While we all had to navigate this time together, the spirit of continuous feedback should not be lost in leaders' decision-making process. Ongoing feedback in the form of consistent manager check-ins, annual engagement surveys, and investing in collaboration tools are all ways to stay on top of evolving individual and organizational needs.

While there are many ways one can approach, define, and evolve an employee experience, it is important to understand how environments, individual growth, comprehensive health, and collaboration all tie together in how one defines the value within an organization. In periods of change, there is always an opportunity, and this seems to be a great time to make decisions that speak for and speak to the employees.

If you have any questions about getting started or would like to connect on new ideas, please reach out to a Kiwi Partners' HR representative.


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