Planning for the future of working
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on businesses on a global scale thanks to the onset of remote working and the push for companies to embrace cloud-first technologies, and organizations will now be planning for this new era of work. Although the C-Suite will have the initial plans and ideas as to how the business will circumnavigate this new world, HR teams have a vital role to play. The HR team is responsible for ensuring the business’ vision and values are reflected throughout the company and its employees, aligning the organizational culture, strategy, and focus.
When planning for 2021 and beyond, HR teams must have everything they need to build out their strategies. Technology is a hugely valuable asset when it comes to planning a future-proof strategy, with 74% of organizations planning to increase spending on HR technology for this year. HR technology can aid in areas that may otherwise prove to be difficult, with one of the most helpful digital tools being an employee experience platform, or EXP.
The EXP is an evolution of the traditional intranet. HR teams may have found use for their company intranets in providing policy and service information, a home for employee benefits and links to key HR systems, but intranets were firmly in the hands of Internal Communications teams... until now.
The employee experience platform (EXP) takes the notion of an intranet as a tool to enhance the employee experience and builds on to tackle a broader array of challenges. In the digital age of work, where our ability to connect rests solely on the technology in place, the digital experience employees have of work becomes of crucial importance. The EXP promises to deliver enhanced employee experience with a single platform that connects people, tools and knowledge. This puts the EXP in the remit of HR, Internal Comms and IT. Together these teams can use an EXP to deliver employee experiences that connect, engage and inspire employees to get the most out of work.
Whereas an intranet was able to tackle internal communications as a route to improving employee experience, an EXP has all the tools, features and systems to tackle the entire employee experience – from onboarding, to content management, to information for employees to be able to do their day-to-day tasks. An EXP is a tool for internal communicators, HR teams, IT teams and business leaders combined.
Shell powers employee experience with a Unily intranet
Shell, one of the largest companies in the world, has served as an oil and gas “supermajor” since its founding in 1907 and has become one of the most recognizable brands on the planet. Watch Shell’s video case study to discover how their Unily intranet transformed the employee experience for over 82k staff worldwide and drove savings of over $42m a year in productivity gains.
6 HR use cases an employee experience platform can serve
A modern EXP is more than just an instrumental intranet for employees – it’s an organizational tool that can aid HR teams in their overall strategy and benefit the business as a whole. Here are five common HR challenges an EXP can help you overcome.
#1. Enable remote access to the digital workplace
In the new world of work, remote working is appearing to be a new constant, with the percentage of workers around the world that are permanently working from home expecting to double in 2021, thanks to the new-found increase in productivity. This means that the majority of workers will unlikely return to the office on a full-time basis, and so this poses the question: How do HR teams ensure there is a centralized workspace that’s accessible to all?
An EXP can solve this problem by acting as a central digital hub, allowing workers to access it whenever and wherever they may be, and providing all the information, tools, and materials employees need to do their daily tasks. It can also act as a space for all employees to interact with each other, enabling communication when teams may be disparate, and overall boosting collaboration. Specific sites or pages can be developed to house resources that support workers with remote working guidance, policies and advice.
#2. Overcome engagement and isolation challenges
Another challenge that has come in hand with the move to a more remote working environment, is the fact that employee wellbeing and mental health has been shown to have declined in the past year by 60%. With teams being so dispersed and isolated, it can be difficult for colleagues to communicate and engage with each other.
Having an EXP makes it easier for HR teams to look after staff wellbeing, and to bring together isolated workforces. The collaborative platform acts as a ‘Digital HQ’, becoming a social space for employees to access and interact with each other, and giving them the ability to network and see what other team members are doing. Other features such as organizational charts and digital identities through user profiles make it easier for team members to locate and reach out to the right people, bridging the gaps that working remotely has created.
An EXP also makes it easy for HR teams to promote a healthy mind, body, and self, encouraging team members to reach out when needed, and providing all help and information any team member may need.
#3. Manage and monitor employee development
With teams being physically separated from each other, managing and monitoring employee development may pose a challenge. Whereas before, workers would be under the gaze of senior management and recognized for their smaller daily wins, remote working has now meant that unfortunately, a lot of employee performance will fly under the radar and not get the celebration it deserves, something that HR teams should be thinking about monitoring.
Recognizing employee achievements and ensuring they feel appreciated is essential – 70% of employees agree that motivation and morale would improve if managers simply said 'thank you' more often. This is more important than ever given the on-going situation we are all in, and so HR teams should be thinking about how they can ensure employees are still getting the recognition they deserve.
An employee experience platform can be a direct solution to making sure all employees are recognized and rewarded. Many EXPs have the inclusion of employee recognition tools such as kudos, and gamification to reward achievements. Not only does this allow senior teams to give recognition where it’s due, but peers are also able to give kudos and appreciation, meaning employees feel valued within their teams. It’s an easy way for peers to show gratitude, and the simple gesture can strengthen bonds between colleagues and improve morale as a whole.
#4. Build brand and culture recognition
Positive company culture has always held importance, but in present circumstances, it is more vital than ever. A well-defined, inclusive, and encouraging company culture is the glue that binds a business to its employees and can be the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful organization. In fact, 46% of job seekers cite company culture as very important when choosing to apply to a company.
An EXP can aid in making sure the company brand is represented across the entire organization and can be a handy tool for HR teams to ensure this. It should be designed in line with the business brand, everything from its name, to its color, to its logo, supporting the company identity and being a brand portal that all employees can refer to.
A company EXP can also be used to promote a healthy and positive culture across the company, even when workers are remote. Employees who don’t like their organization’s culture are 24% more likely to quit, so HR teams should be enforcing a culture of coordination, trust, and communication to keep morale high and workers feeling positive. It can be used to showcase the great things the company is doing, from charity support to staff treats, and can act as a unified atmosphere for the whole organization.
#5. Enable easy compliance
A big priority for HR teams is enabling compliance across the organization, which can prove tricky when the workforce is dispersed. There are working standards in place set out by employment law, meaning it's essential for the business to be seen as continually hitting these compliances.
But the law is constantly changing and updating, meaning organizations need to have a flexible approach to ensuring compliance. This is where an EXP can assist. Features such as mandatory reads, native forms, and targeted communications and alerts can make it easy for HR teams to ensure everyone in the company has read and is adhering to the standard compliance measures in place.
It’s not enough to just have policies and procedures in place, though – they need to be effectively communicated and acted upon throughout the organization. One such way that an EXP makes possible, is through the use of chatbots and mandatory content.
This is exactly what Shell did. Ethica, Shell’s Ethics and Compliance chatbot, was developed to making ethics and compliance a business priority. Ethica is capable of answering dynamic queries unique to individual users, such as “Who is my Ethics and Compliance manager?”. This drives efficiency by simplifying access to knowledge and supports Shell’s business aim to enhance ethics and compliance.
#6. Cut down on admin and enable self-service
On average, a fifth of HR’s time is spent doing administrative tasks and paperwork, making it a hugely time-consuming activity. Being able to save the HR team some time from monotonous paper-based tasks would not only make the team more productive overall, but it would have a direct positive impact on the business. According to research, two-thirds of businesses are wasting at least £2,000 per employee every year due to over-reliance on paper, meaning organizations could save both time and money from lowering the amount of admin the HR team does daily.
Digital tools, such as an EXP, can help speed up the amount of time it takes to do administrative tasks, driving efficiency across the team. Tools can be added to help streamline tasks for the HR team such as automated payroll, performance reviews, and new starter processes. An EXP can also enable self-service for employees across the business. Things such as accessing payslips, requesting time off for a holiday, and viewing benefits are all things an employee experience platform can allow employees to do themselves, meaning they won’t have to filter questions and queries through the HR department.
Having a self-search tool also means employees can find answers to questions they might have previously asked the HR team, freeing up further time for HR to spend on more productive tasks and reducing the team’s onus.
#7. Onboarding new recruits remotely
Along with the move to remote working comes the challenge of onboarding new recruits remotely. Now that organizations are realizing that recruitment doesn’t have to be within a certain mile radius of the office, it’s opened up a bigger pool of skilled candidates. But the task of onboarding remotely isn’t always a smooth one.
The onboarding process is extremely important, especially considering that 69% of employees will stay at a company for longer if they have a good onboarding experience. Onboarding can be tricky at the best of times, so when it comes to doing the process remotely, HR teams need to make sure it's as smooth, easy, and personable as possible.
Without a physical desk and workplace for the new recruit to come to, having a centralized digital workplace is essential and is where an employee experience platform can assist. An EXP can hold all of the training videos, information, tools, and resources needed for a new hire to get to grips with their new role and organization. It can act as a way for colleagues to reach out and welcome their new teammates and can be a central hub for the new employee to find and search for everything they need to settle in. This not only makes the process smoother and more collaborative for the new hire, but it makes it easier for the HR team to ensure they have everything they need to focus on orientation and training.
#8. Support frontline and remote workers
There is a greater focus now more than ever on frontline and remote workers, and HR teams should be putting them front and center in their current plans and strategy. 70% of an organization’s employees don’t sit behind a desk every day, and so when it comes to keeping them up to date and included in business plans, they need more than just something they can access from a computer.
A mobile intranet application is a surefire way of keeping remote and frontline workers included in all business plans and kept up to date in real-time. Having a mobile app means that employees can access the EXP from any location, at any time. It takes away the complexity of having to have internet access and a computer screen – business updates can be sent directly to their phones.
Additionally, features such as push messages and offline reading can heighten the employee experience, meaning that workers can be notified immediately about important information, and can download and save files to read in their own time – even if there is no internet access. These workers on the ground have direct contact with customers, so it’s vital they have everything they need to do their jobs efficiently, no matter where they are.
Invest in an EXP for your post-pandemic strategy
An employee experience platform should be at the heart of your HR strategy for 2021 and beyond, supporting the business and employees alike. If you would like to learn more about how an EXP can benefit your HR plans for the post-pandemic future, get in touch with us today for a free demo.
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