The events of 2020 have had a profound impact on how people live, work, and do business. According to research conducted by Mckinsey, more than 80% of respondents said the crisis is materially affecting their daily work lives— people have widely varied experiences, perspectives, and outcomes.
From social isolation and long work hours to problems in collaboration, connectivity, information discovery, and mounting health concerns amidst COVID-19, employees have been navigating stress, anxiety, and grief for more than a year now.
With 90% of HR leaders planning to allow employees the flexibility to work remotely at least part of the time, even after the COVID-19 vaccine is widely adopted, the business world is indeed moving towards a hybrid setup—where employees juggle between home and office.
Therefore, the post-pandemic world presents opportunities for organizations to rethink and overhaul employee experience strategies while respecting individual differences in terms of employees’ skills, values, home lives, personal characteristics, and mindsets.
While employee engagement has always been a fundamental part of employee experience (EX), engagement, post-pandemic, has new meaning.
As per Deloitte, “Employee engagement refers to the emotional commitment an employee has to their organization and its employees, vision, and goals. It is NOT about employee satisfaction, high salaries or thanking an employee after a long day of work.”
In this respect, employee experience platforms have come to play a significant role in enabling seamless post-pandemic employee engagement.
Let’s explore in detail.
Before delving deep into the role of EX platforms in post-pandemic employee engagement, let’s first understand what an EX platform is.
An employee experience platform is a comprehensive, unified portal that integrates powerful tools and capabilities for communication, collaboration, learning, knowledge mining, and well-being— all within the flow of an individual’s daily routine.
Working in silos has a detrimental impact on employee engagement— Gallup research revealed 36% of employees felt disengaged at the workplace, and 13% felt actively disengaged (i.e., they shared their miserable experiences and unhappiness with colleagues).
Additionally, it is tough for organizations to establish a vision and a sense of purpose and build a strong workplace culture in a hybrid setup. Due to low engagement, organizations witnessed a drop in employee productivity and an uptick in voluntary employee turnover over the past year.
Employee experience is the journey an employee takes with your organization. EX platforms help ensure this journey is seamless by improving engagement and addressing any pain points along the way.
Given the challenges of an increasingly distributed and digital work environment, the market for EX platforms is growing, with analysts sizing the nascent employee experience platforms category at $300 billion in annual spending.
Let’s look at the ways EX platforms facilitate post-pandemic employee engagement.
Gone are the days of team lunch or quick chats in the hallway and coffee shops. Amidst the pandemic, due to lack of informal interaction, employee burnout has surged exponentially. In an in-person office situation, it’s easier for managers to notice when an employee is exhausted and struggling to maintain a work-life balance.
An employee experience software offers social capabilities, such as blogs, discussion forums, enterprise messaging apps, and audio and video conferencing tools that enable employees to engage socially with their peers and seniors. This creates a virtual “water cooler” in the hybrid setup.
Hybrid work makes the team and cross-team collaboration challenging, thus, impacting employee efficiency and lowering engagement.
In this regard, employee experience platforms host various enterprise messaging tools (Teams, Slack, and Yammer, etc.) and audio and video conferencing tools that help remote employees reach their peers easily and discuss ideas and project updates.
Frontline workers (nurses, factory workers, etc.) work on the site and often do not have access to the company’s network, leading to poor engagement and lack of alignment with the organization.
While they constitute 80% of the global working population and are the first point of contact for customers, organizations fail to incorporate their needs while designing the digital workplace.
A mobile-first employee experience platform allows frontline workers to access the latest company news and updates and find information. Moreover, such platforms ensure the frontline staff receives valuable top management communication through targeted push notifications.
An employee experience software helps create a conducive work culture that enhances employee engagement in the virtual setup.
HR leaders can establish clear goals, reiterate beliefs and expected behavior, and align employees with the organization’s vision through videos, message boards, blogs, and policy documents readily available on the EX platform.
Leaders can display “employee of the month badges,” awards, and achievements on the EX portal’s homepage to boost employee morale and increase engagement further.
Innovation is complex and requires collective brainstorming. Today’s employee experience platforms host gamification-based idea management systems that enable employees to capture, upvote, and comment on ideas. The management then shortlists and rewards the best ideas.
Participating in critical business decisions gives employees a sense of purpose and meaning and boosts engagement.
Moreover, employee experience platforms leverage workplace analytics tools that help employees schedule and manage their day’s activities and enable managers to track vital employee engagement metrics— both of which are crucial when employees function in a hybrid setup
Key engagement metrics include the following —
Learning is directly related to employee well-being and helps create positive engagement at the workplace.
Ninety-four percent of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their learning and development. An EX platform surfaces content from organization-wide content libraries and systems and recommends courses and learning insights based on an employee’s role and interests.
“We expect the tools to say – It looks like you’re searching for 2020 census data. Let’s help you figure out how to read that data,” Jared Spataro said, offering one example. The new knowledge you need should find you.
Working in a hybrid setup requires employees to process a lot of information simultaneously. Information overload is real and, when left unresolved, lowers employee engagement in the long run.
An employee experience software organizes structured and unstructured content available on the company’s network. With functionalities like meta-tagging and classification coupled with the platform’s cognitive search engine, employees can quickly discover the most contextual and relevant knowledge.
Mesh 3.0 is Acuvate’s autonomous SharePoint intranet solution for enterprises. Built with the best Microsoft technologies, including Office Graph, LUIS, Azure Search Services, and MS Natural Language Stack, Mesh supports advanced capabilities to boost employee engagement in the post-pandemic world.
Some of these include –
Microsoft launched its employee experience platform called VIVA in February 2021.
Experienced through Microsoft Teams, VIVA empowers people and teams to be their best from anywhere and consists of four modules—VIVA Connections, VIVA Topics, VIVA Learning, and VIVA Insights.
As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we help clients experience the power of VIVA through Mesh 3.0 and create wholesome, intelligent engagement in Teams.
VIVA Connections provides a gateway for organizations to deliver Mesh 3.0 (i.e., followed content, personalized news, relevant projects, right SMEs, etc.) to employees where they already are, i.e., Microsoft Teams.
Mesh 3.0 also complements the other three modules of Microsoft VIVA and brings home knowledge, learning, and insights on a unified platform.
To know more about Mesh 3.0, please feel free to schedule a personalized consultation with our experts.
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