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Returning to the office: the big impact on Employee Experience

Posted by KingEclient on 14 July, 2021

More and more companies are betting on Employee Experience as one of their main internal strategic levers. In a hyperconnected world, where workers can be the greatest brand ambassadors, the experience provided by the company is essential to attract and retain talent. And, indirectly, also to project the best perception of the company to consumers and increase revenues. 

What is Employee Experience? 

Employee Experience (EX) is the sum of all interactions that employees have with the company. Although it is a concept that is sometimes interchanged with internal communication, it is important to note that they are not synonymous. EX goes much further: it involves culture, benefits, work environment, tools, training and professional development, and so on. However, internal communication contributes to the above aspects being experienced in a better or worse way. 

Now, with a large part of the population vaccinated, many companies are implementing a plan to return a large part of their workforce to their offices. This is a complex task that requires the coordination of different company departments and many other elements to ensure the best possible experience. And here, as we will see below, communication also plays a decisive role. 

6 tips for a good Employee Experience in the Return Plan 

Here are some suggestions to improve the relationship between the company and returning employees, making the process of returning to the office a positive experience. 

1. Draw the Employee Journey Map of the return

What is the journey that employees will take when they return to the office? Visualizing the entire journey with its different stages will allow to identify in advance the weak points and the most critical moments of the return. 

In this map, it’s also important to consider where each employee is in the company’s life cycle; for example, returning to the office someone who has worked there for years is not the same as incorporating someone who has already started teleworking and has never been there before. Significant variables such as motivation and dedication will be determined by the cycle. 

2. Bet on a good onboarding plan

Before the pandemic, adaptation to a new position was quicker and more accessible, as employees generally spent 100% of their time in the workplace. They may only come in every other day, so complete acclimation to the dynamics and the team takes longer. Therefore, designing an onboarding plan that takes this into account is very convenient.  

In fact, the plan must meet the following 3 key points: 

  • It must have clear objectives on the part of the company. 
  • It must be measurable to evaluate its effectiveness. 
  • It must be tailored to the employee and the job they perform.    

3. Care for the wellbeing of your people

The Covid-19 health crisis has forced us to stay at home, without physical contact with others for months. Added to this is the fear of illness and the loss of loved ones. This situation has generated more anxiety, stress, concentration problems and depression in employees, which has increased sick leave.   

For this reason, companies should carry out wellness projects primarily focused on taking care of their employees’ mental and emotional health. Some ideas are: providing professional psychological help, motivational courses, yoga classes or workshops to improve anxiety.   

4. Ask them to find out what they are concerned about

In a situation like the one we are currently in, many employees hide their problems or do not share their concerns with the company for fear of losing their jobs. This lack of communication on behalf of the employee can mean that easily solvable issues become more complicated, generating an even greater problem. 

To avoid this, it is advisable to launch periodic and anonymous surveys, in which they can express in a simple way what they feel or what worries them, and in which they are allowed to make suggestions for improvements to the company.    

5. Act on feedback received

What is the point of investing effort and time in surveying employees if they are not listened to? If the company decides to care about them by implementing surveys, it is essential to act accordingly once the results are obtained. Failure to do so could be counterproductive and lead to a loss of trust. They will stop engaging in future surveys because they will feel that they are not being taken seriously. 

It is recommended to communicate the results obtained and implement an action plan to solve the main problems. In addition, it may be a good idea to designate some people to be responsible for implementing these changes.   

6. Improve internal communication

While good communication has always been important to keep the relationship between the company and its employees in good shape, when it comes to a return plan, it becomes essential.   

However, we must understand that communication entails much more than simply spreading information. It must make clear what steps will be done and what safety precautions will be implemented in this scenario, but it must also motivate employees to want to return by cultivating a sense of belonging to the company and encouraging them to work together toward a common goal. 

And how to communicate effectively in a time of over-information? Here are some ideas

 

  • Be clear about the main communication channels, and the fewer and simpler they are, the better. Once chosen, they should be used in a standardized way. 
  • Make communication bidirectional. Employees must also be able to communicate fluently with the company. This can be done by having a “Covid manager” who responds to real-time queries when they return.   
  • Communicate regularly. Giving all the information at once and going into a period of communication drought causes insecurity. It is best to launch small “capsules” of content periodically.   
  • Deliver only the key messages. The measures are many and can be complex. For better assimilation, use more visual formats that help understanding, such as small videos and infographics.   
  • Maintain interest. There has been so much information received during the pandemic that it is normal for employees to want to “switch off”. To keep them interested in what the company has to tell them, launch challenges, special days, celebrations, face-to-face activities; let them be part of everything that happens in your company! 

Generally, we remember more what we feel than what we do. That’s why the experience the company provides to its employees on their return to the office will be critical. With these tips, they will all feel like they are returning to the place they want to be. 

Written by Marta Garay, 

Senior Digital Copywriter

 

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