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People, place, technology: The keys to empowering the hybrid employee experience

People, place, technology: The keys to empowering the hybrid employee experience

Story by
Alison Bawn, Director of People - Virgin Media O2 Business

People, place, technology: The keys to empowering the hybrid employee experience.

Studies have shown that the quality of an organisation’s customer experience is directly linked to its employee experience.

In fact, 85% of respondents to a 2021 IDC survey said that a better employee experience and higher engagement translates into customer satisfaction – 62% said that the link was “large” or “significant”.

Despite this, the evidence suggests that organisations still need to do more.

The Great Resignation and Great Reshuffle are seeing large waves of people leaving their jobs and re-evaluating their careers after the pandemic.

53% of UK office workers are currently considering leaving their job – and the majority of these (85%) would like to leave within the next three months – according to our latest connected working survey.

Other studies have estimated that the loss of talent could cost organisations as much as £25,000 per worker.

There is also the risk of jeopardising a company’s talent pipeline and damaging morale as staff see their colleagues leave in droves. The insight tells us that a desire to move isn’t just influenced by how employers treated staff during Covid-19.

It’s also motivated by whether they think their employer is likely to give them autonomy and support in future, and how valued they feel.

Our study with the Centre for Economics and Business Research is clear.

Hybrid working is here to stay.

This means that organisations need to find ways to improve the employee experience in a changing working model, where employees could be based in the office, their homes or even a café or on the move.

Through our Human Connection report and our work with organisations across the UK, we have identified three key areas which organisations should focus on to create a positive employee experience and ultimately improve customer satisfaction.

These are: people, place and technology.

People: respecting, valuing and investing in employees

 Making people feel valued and helping them to achieve their personal and professional goals is key to keeping talent and knowledge within an organisation.

Demonstrating appreciation in a dynamic working environment, when managers are overseeing people operating remotely and within the office, is complex.

It requires them to think differently about teamwork and communication.

While digital collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams and Monday.com will still have an important role to play, organisations should consider new ways of bringing employees together in a hybrid working model.

Tools like Culture Amp and Quantum Workspace can forge a stronger sense of togetherness and belonging.

Creating this sense of belonging is also about professional development.

Every investment in learning pays for itself by better equipping the workforce to meet customer needs.

Organisations need to be careful to ensure that people operating remotely have the same learning opportunities as those in the office.

This could take the form of virtual water-cooler apps that connect new hires with colleagues or embracing Augmented and Virtual Reality (VR) for training purposes.

The Bank of America has demonstrated this by launching a series of VR experiences for employee training this year.

This will involve simulated scenarios that will help individuals navigate customer conversations and respond to customers with greater empathy.

Place: the right spaces for people to do their best work

The right environment is critical for employees to be at their best, whether the space is physical or virtual, customer facing or internal, in an office building or out in the field.

Organisations focused on employee experience are rethinking spaces in three ways.

They are optimising their own physical premises for a dynamic working world.

They are supporting home or remote working to ensure all employees are comfortable and well-equipped.

And they are creating new, virtual spaces for collaboration and engagement.

Furniture, lighting and layout are all key considerations as we develop our hybrid offices, as are enabling technologies – from indoor location intelligence to understanding how space is used, and hybrid conferencing tools which allow remote and physically present workers to collaborate effectively.

Whether they’re working from home, out in the field or a local café, employees need a safe, comfortable and well-equipped environment to do their best work.

That means ensuring the right tech is available to them wherever they choose to work, including adequate connectivity, secure access to relevant systems, and task-appropriate devices.

Technology: Providing digital tools that support and enable people

Supporting people and providing the right spaces for them to work from is only part of the hybrid employee experience.

Investment in the right technology also has a vital role to play.

Internal legacy systems are often clunky and difficult to use, which can result in frustration.

People don’t want to feel like they are being slowed down by technology.

We’ve all been on those calls that have become unproductive due to someone’s connectivity issues.

Progressive employers are reducing this day-to-day friction, offering the right devices, tools and systems that empower their people to perform at their best.

Choosing modern tools which are intuitive and user friendly won’t just improve productivity but will also help employees to feel they’re being invested in, leading to higher engagement and a better customer experience.

Unified and seamless communications are the backbone of all digital interactions.

Multiple touchpoints can lead to ‘channel overload’, so integrating the ones you rely on can support better collaboration.

Ensuring the right latency and data speeds will help remove obstacles to your people being their most efficient and productive versions of themselves.

Experience is everything

Across all three of these pillars, a proactive focus on digital transformation can help organisations create a positive, productive and engaged workforce.

Expectations – from employees and customers – are soaring and experience is everything. So, employers cannot afford to fall back into pre-pandemic ways of working.

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