The societal role of the employer has evolved and grown over the last several decades. This shift has increasingly focused on meeting the needs and demands of the employee. As a result, the employer has been positioned as a sort of social safety net, which has included the expansion of above-market minimum wage, increased parental leave, and push for gender and racial equality. These expansions have accelerated dramatically as an effect of the pandemic, social movements, and remote working. As of 2018, 61% of companies offered financial well-being programs, and in 2020, companies, particularly in the tech sector, continue to double down on policies like family (including paternity) leave to improve recruiting and diversity, talent sharing to reduce the impacts of layoffs and furloughs, and physical and mental well-being benefits to combat the challenges of the new normal.
This commitment to employee health and happiness will not only be seen in the more broad shifts of organizational strategies around managing remote work, but specifically in personalized employee plans regarding work-life balance and new health and well-being benefits. Your business’s longevity is directly tied to the longevity of your people; your talent decisions made during this time will define your brand as an employer for years to come.
Tailoring the Remote Employee Experience
Data from a recentGartner report suggests that there is no one size fits all for all your employees’ differing needs. 56% of people want to work entirely remotely, and 78% of people want to work at least a portion of each week remotely. Conversely, 17% of people have no desire to work remotely post-pandemic. What’s more, each employee has a different set of personal and at-home challenges. We can anticipate this will lead to not only hybrid work environments but also hybrid schedules and more tailored employee benefits.
As one-size-fits-all strategies are tested, top-tier employers will begin to offer employee benefits that match their needs. While one employee may require more support and flexibility regarding childcare and family responsibilities, another may require mental health time.
Here are some areas to consider evolving.
Take a look at your current health and well-being strategies and identify what can be improved and what is no longer effective in your organization’s offerings
Consider adding or adjusting policies like hazard pay, childcare, health benefits, safety measures
Measuring Outcomes and Cultivating Trust
Not all workdays are created equally. It’s time we focus on outcomes rather than time spent. Organizations need to abandon long-held beliefs around what constitutes productivity. Company leaders also need to challenge myths about where work needs to be done to “count” and how it must be done to be measured. Some managers distrust employees who work from home. This mindset is now outdated and only serves to reinforce distrust. By trusting your employees to be productive, you empower them to shape their work.
A difficult yet important way employers can cultivate trust is to expand the bounds of the employee experience. This supports employee well-being and accounts for personal factors like family responsibilities and mental health. As these boundaries take shape, it will become critical to help employees and ensure they are heard. Consider hiring a Chief Well-Being officer to develop strategies that address company needs. This role is also an advocate for the needs of employees. This person can tackle challenges ranging from compensation to physical and mental well-being benefits.
Strengthen from Within
As you shift your organization to adapt to real-time changes, it is critical that you communicate with your employees. Share with them how you are supporting them despite all your cost-saving measures. This effort will pay off in the long run as you cultivate an environment where your employees can and want to show up for you in return. Your employer brand and employee value proposition strengthens as an effect, and you not only retain talent but reduce turnover significantly.
You can powerfully shape the employee experience, foster a healthier and happier workforce, and strengthen your employer brand. By supporting employees’ ongoing professional development, you build more experienced teams and communicate loyalty to your people. When you educate your managers on how they can more effectively engage their teams virtually, you create more effective collaboration and stronger leadership. Developing such resources and creating visibility into internal opportunities and positions will further show your commitment to your people. And by investing your people, be it through health and well-being benefits or internal skill-development programs, you create an adaptable and more resilient organization with a reputation for supporting its own.
About the Author
Brett is a copywriter, life coach and former professional athlete. He uses his teamwork and leadership experiences from Major League Baseball to present ideas around life work balance, team productivity and work dynamics to technology companies utilizing productivity tools to enable healthier and happier lifestyles.