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Employee experience – the key to business performance

Findings from the 2021 Employee Experience Survey results CEEMEA

Talent|Total Rewards|Wellbeing
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By Ahmad Waarie | May 30, 2022

Maintaining an engaged workforce is crucial for productivity and delivery as shown by the 2021 EX survey in CEEMEA

Employees have been significantly affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Businesses were forced to take drastic actions to survive the worst economic crisis in decades, and their employees have suffered greatly as a result.

Overnight, companies had to switch to remote working and video conferences. Employees have had to learn a whole new way of working, with many not having in-person contact with their managers or colleagues for months.

As a response to this trying period, organisations have had to evolve and adapt to a new normal which puts their employees at the centre of everything they do. This meant changing how they work - with many taking on more flexible hybrid models - and reevaluating their employee benefits, with a more critical focus on health and wellbeing.

Maintaining an engaged workforce is crucial for productivity and delivery

The disruption of work has been a wake-up call for employers, emphasising the need to enhance their employee experience (EX). In its essence, Employee Experience (EX) focuses on four key areas: an employee's sense of purpose, how they interact with their colleagues, how they carry out their work, and their personal development and rewards.

I believe that it is imperative for organizations to ensure the employee experience is at the right balance between how employees feel about their company, how engaged they are, and how they feel about their benefits and pay. In fact, employee experience directly impacts business performance, which is why it is essential that employers manage their workforce effectively, ensuring employee satisfaction, health, and wellbeing.

30%
of companies in the Central Eastern Europe Middle East and Africa regions don’t have an EX strategy

Thus, managing employee experience (EX) has become more critical and a must for organisations to achieve better performance as they adjust to the new ways of working.

The 2021 Employee Experience Survey from WTW that covered CEEMEA (Central Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa) found that only 10% of companies have a transformational EX strategy, while 30% have no EX strategy at all.

Employers around the CEEMEA region are completely unprepared for this seismic shift in the way they manage their workforces.

This leads me to conclude that employers around the CEEMEA region are completely unprepared for this seismic shift in the way they manage their workforces.

In contrast, 93% of respondents said improving EX would be a priority over the next three years, compared to 59% before the pandemic. There is no doubt that attitudes are changing, and employers realize the necessity of improving their EX.

A great EX awakening occurred over the past 2 years:

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93% of Employers say enhancing EX will be a top priority over the following years

A strong EX strategy is beneficial to employers as well as employees, according to the WTW 2021 EX Survey. Organisations that have adopted such a strategy report substantial increases in:

40% Employee satisfaction

44% Organizational culture

35% Engagement

28% Wellbeing

In organisations with transformative EX strategies, productivity increases are 2.7 times greater than that of their industry peers. In addition, they perform significantly better in areas related to leadership, change management, talent development, as well as employee understanding of goals and objectives.

Ultimately, employers will continue to struggle without an effective EX strategy even after the pandemic is over. They will inevitably experience lower employee engagement, higher employee turnover, and lower productivity if their EX needs are unmet, which will negatively impact their business performance and profits.

Using EX to create a new talent eco system

The question is how organisations can ensure they provide the most effective EX to improve workplace culture and profitability? In what way can they engage their employees to maximise productivity and business performance?

At its core, this means enriching employees' experiences at work by listening to their needs. It also means striking a balance between what the organisation is willing to offer and what employees desire without compromising the organisation's bottom line.

In light of the fact that a complete return to the workplace is unlikely, a good place to start is by adapting to the new world of flexible working and by redefining strategies, programs, and policies to increase employee engagement.

In order to implement a transformative EX approach, employers must redesign their pay structures and policies to match high-demand skills and implement initiatives that promote and address workplace flexibility. It is important to create a talent ecosystem that incorporates alternative work methods and develops strategies that address redefining jobs, reskilling, and talent development.

Equal opportunity, diversity, and inclusion are also vital components of human capital and workforce strategies.

In my opinion, HR strategies based on the new working models should be more focused on attracting and retaining top talents, as well as fostering a culture of health and wellbeing for all employees, especially now that most organisations have adopted a hybrid model of remote as well as in-office work.

Moreover, companies must provide their managers with the tools they need to lead through change, and to do so, they need to be able to effectively communicate with their team.

Integrating technology to deliver a better EX

Generally, organisations should engage employees to understand their needs. The way to do this is to provide them with the opportunity to provide feedback, to listen carefully to what they have to say and to follow through with appropriate action after they have made their voice heard.

Developing a holistic EX strategy integrated with the business model and implementing it through technology and investment will enable employers to adapt to flexible work and improve their employee engagement and business performance more effectively. Investment in and availability of appropriate digital infrastructure, programs, and policies are essential for supporting this transition.

A new mindset

Overall, organisations need to adopt a radical new mindset to achieve transformative EX. By putting themselves in the position of their employees, they can achieve a better outcome for both their workforce and the company.

EX is ultimately linked to a happier and healthier employee, which, in turn, creates a more engaged and productive workforce. Wouldn't that be worth investing in?

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Managing Director Talent & Rewards CEEMEA

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