Creating a positive employee experience is perhaps the biggest challenge facing HR professionals in 2020 and beyond.
With levels of unemployment reaching historic new lows, virtually every business in the UK is facing an uphill challenge in both keeping hold of and attracting the best employees. As a result, job openings are staying open for longer and skill gaps are now becoming an ever-present problem.
This is, however, where that all-important employee experience can be the ace up your sleeve.
The organisations who focus on improving the experience of their current and prospective employees are more likely to enjoy superior levels of engagement, eagerness, involvement and commitment to their brand. Not only do all these aspects help with attracting talent, they can also encourage them to stick around for longer, too.
So, it’s definitely in an employer’s interest to focus on improving the employee experience in 2020; but where to start?
If you’re looking to improve the employee experience at your organisation, we’ve been looking at three key HR trends which we believe will shape the working environment both this year and beyond.
TREND #1: TACKLING THE TRUST CRISIS
Trust is a commodity which simply can’t be bought, but it’s something we all depend on; be it in our personal relationships, our professional lives, our finances, who we vote for… hell, even where we stay when go on holiday!
A feeling of trust goes a long way to influencing our decisions in life, but in recent years especially, there seems to be a growing distrust towards the biggest influencers in our lives – mainly, the governments and mainstream media. This has spread for a number of reasons; including the deliberate doctoring of facts and figures, to the data they have, how they’ve obtained it and what they really know about us on a deeply personal level.
This feeling of distrust is certainly toxic because as a result, it’s lead to many people disbelieving what they read and see.
For example, according to Pew Research, only 17% of Americans trust that their Government is doing ‘what is right’ whilst here in the UK, public trust in the UK Government doesn’t fare much better, with only 36% of people trusting the Government or believing that their views were being represented.
This growing wave of doubt in public and state institutions is both a blessing and potential curse for employers. This is because many people are now placing more trust in their employers than ever before; in fact, according to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, a global survey of 33,000 individuals revealed trust is a powerful asset for organisations, and that "my employer" (75%) is significantly more trusted than NGOs (57%), business (56 %), government (48%) and media (47%).
This shift in confidence means employers – now more than ever – have to acknowledge and respect the trust being shown in them by their employers, and there are a number of simple ways this can be done and improve the employee experience:
- Being Open and Transparent about Data – With people becoming far savvier about the importance of their personal data, how it’s used and how it’s obtained, employers need to be clear and transparent with their employees about the personal data they have on their people and how & why it’s used. Ensuring your company is fully GDPR-compliant is one way to do this, whilst regular communications highlighting your own data protection policies can help support that all-important employee trust.
- Give Employees Control of their Data – Along with keeping the importance of data protection front of mind, also give your people control of their own data. This can be in the form of online HR portals which means personal data can be accessed securely at any time, and updated in a timely manner, too – all without having to make time consuming requests to HR to deal with it!
- Publish your Code of Ethics – Like your own company values, having a code ethics is no good if it’s simply buried on an ‘about us’ page of a website. Ideally, it should clarify an organisation’s mission, values and principles, linking them with standards of professional conduct and desired behaviours. When it comes to that all-important trust element, A published code of ethics in combination with a solid set of company values, encourages discussions of ethics and compliance, empowering your employees to handle ethical dilemmas they encounter in everyday work.
TREND #2: PREPARING YOUR PEOPLE FOR THE FUTURE OF WORK
The world of work is forever changing, but one element that has remained constant is the evolution of technology and the rise of automation.
As we enter 2020, more and more traditional jobs are being replaced by robotics or computer programmes; and this isn’t just in the traditional factory or assembly line environments. The rise of automation and robotics is now threatening the types of jobs which have always seen to have relied on human interaction; including driving, journalism, stock traders, even bar tending!
For businesses, automation is now becoming part-and-parcel of everyday lives; but for employees, it is having a negative effect – and not in the way you might expect.
Research by Deloitte has found that a staggering 83% of global executives are ill-prepared or inexperienced with managing a workforce of people. This is because whilst technology touches just about every profession, it’s also meant that employees are now simply not used to managing teams of people – especially when they’ve spent most careers managing AI and algorithms to do their work.
With machines expecting to handle tasks of nearly half the entire current workforce by 2025, it’s imperative that employee’s skills aren’t left behind. In fact, it’s expected that by 2022, more than half of all employees will have to undergo significant re-skilling and up-skilling in order to still be employable.
With the skills and experience of people being far more valuable then any computer programme, it’s imperative that employers help their people be an adaptive workforce that’s prepared and ready for change. This helps support a positive working environment where everyone feels they can progress their careers and be valued in their role, too. This help can include:
- On-the-Job or Off-Site Training – Be it learning how to master spreadsheets effectively, to seeing how a different part of your business operates, skills training and a strong learning culture is an invaluable tool for engaging employees. Not only do they get a chance to learn something new; they also potentially get to further their career, too!
- Creation of ‘Flex Teams’ – Encouraging your employees to experience different areas of the business which interests them means there are more avenues for them to take within your business should the want to progress their own careers. Plus, this approach can also help your people become accustomed to working in different working environments. It also helps your staff become agile to the needs of the business when times are tough.
TREND #3: DEALING WITH THE GLOBAL LABOUR SHORTAGE
By 2030, it’s predicted there will be a severe global labour shortage and an even bigger skills mismatch. Ironically, this predicament is down to advancements in medicine and healthcare, with humans living and working for longer.
Now, it may seem that with people working for longer, there would be plenty of potential employees out there to fill those skills gaps, right? Well, it’s actually quite the opposite.
Despite 31% of the UK workforce being made up of the over 50’s, it’s people in that age bracket who still feel discriminated against or passed over when it comes to applying for new roles.
It’s not just the elder generations that are being overlooked when it comes to career opportunities. Despite 15% of the world’s population having some form of disability, it’s often the case that candidates with a physical or mental disability feel they are also being ignored or discriminated against. For example, in the United States it’s reported that 85% of college graduates with autism are often unemployed – despite having meaningful college degrees and valuable skillsets needed by businesses large and small.
To combat the potential labour shortage, employers will need to step up and deal with it proactively, rather than hoping it will resolve itself through growing economies or buoyant markets.
It should be up to employers not just to focus on improving the workplace for those with more visual disabilities; but rather, make working environments comfortable and positive for any disability – be it visible or not.
IMPROVING THE EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE IS JUST start of a healthy company culture
Improving the quality of life at work for your employees is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating a positive company culture. The health and wellbeing of employees is now a huge factor in positive employee experiences. Get the full lowdown with our free questionnaire - just hit the link below to get yours!