Top Trends Shaping Employee Experience In 2021

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Top Trends Shaping Employee Experience In 2021
Employee Experience
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Employee experience has been considered to be a new, predominant role and meaning in this post-pandemic world. With more employees working from home and balancing their personal and professional lives, how employers treat their employees becomes a crucial concern. Keeping the employees comfortable and motivated in every situation assures business continuity with maximum productivity and ROI.

Companies are taking essential steps to provide exceptional, positive experiences for their employees, which is the need of the hour. In order to provide a fruitful work atmosphere in this pandemic, several companies have carried out various initiatives/programs like virtual office parties on Zoom, reacting to the pandemic with sincere compassion, providing relief funds and a host of other wellness programs to support employees. In 2021, most Fortune 500 companies are conducting free vaccination drives to support their employees' mental, emotional and physical health.

However, as the global pandemic continues to affect our lives, employee experience is invariably changing. Employers are rethinking their talent priorities and reworking their employee experience strategies to make them as relevant today as they are tomorrow. Employee experience has evolved beyond the simple provision of a comfortable, distributed work atmosphere.

An overview of employee experience

"Employee experience" refers to the employee's perspective about their company throughout their working relationship. According to a study conducted by ParlonsRH, 70% of HR professionals across the world place the highest priority on providing excellent employee experiences. As important as a great customer experience is to the success of every business, a great employee experience is vital in helping your organization stand out from its competition. It can boost engagement, business productivity and offer a variety of benefits.

In 2020, the novel Coronavirus crisis disrupted the employee experience and prompted drastic changes to the way we work. All companies around the world have undergone significant changes, affecting workplaces, communication tools, and services. Businesses have changed their approach to ensure their workforces have what they require to perform their works effectively and feel secure, comfortable, and cared for while doing so.  Such organizations pivot successfully during this unprecedented time of Covid-19 are flourishing. If they follow the employee engagement and experience lessons learned in 2020, this trend will likely continue.

This article will deep dive into the key trends in employee experience that every HR manager and employer must watch out for in 2021 and beyond.

Key Trends to Make a Winning Employee Experience in 2021

A successful employee experience is an outcome of HR efforts, methods, and tools that increase employee productivity, reflecting the organization's values, work culture, and business brand.

Employers and HR teams are responsible for creating a productive, flexible, future-proof workplace, ensuring it strengthens workforces and boosts performance. This article will examine what to focus on in 2021 for the best possible employee experience.

  1. The New Norm of Remote Work

    One of the most noticeable changes in the pandemic period was the shift from office-based work to working remotely from home. According to the statistics of Empuls, around 88% of organizations have promoted their employers to work from home ever since the COVID-19 outbreak. Moreover, many organizations now realize the advantages of offering flexibility in employee schedules and workplaces.

    Despite the flexibility remote work affords employees, we must consider its consequences on employees' personal lives. According to McKinsey's recent survey, working parents experience the advantages of work-from-home differently. The report says that around 63.2 % of remote-working fathers are involved; however, only 38.5 % of remote-working mothers are engaged.

    To encourage an effective employee experience, companies may need to transform how they communicate and collaborate with their remote workforce, provide them support to balance their work and personal lives. It is clear that the trend of remote work is here to stay and will continue to grow across various fields. There is no better way to increase employee engagement and improve employee experience than rewarding employee recognition, no matter how your workforce is distributed.

    Read More: Tips and Tricks to onboard your remote employees

  2. Advanced Technologies To Empower Workforce

    Earlier, technology was considered a comfortable tool that allows employees to work effortlessly and enhance productivity. As more and more employees work remotely and encounter various hurdles at home, technology will continue to play a vital role in 2021.

    Today, most businesses are relying on new technology to maintain their competitive advantage. Thus, workforces need to be comfortable using advanced technology and adapting to the changes that come with it. Investing in advanced technology will continue to grow in importance, and remote working will continue to be discussed.

    As per the prediction of Forrester, more than 30% of organizations will invest more in the cloud, safety, risk, networks, and mobile. Employers and HR managers will thus need to leverage cloud-first strategies. As technology gains in importance, businesses must ensure that it meets the requirements of their workers to encourage their use.

  3. Collaboration Tools; New Workforce Requirements

    Teamwork is a key element in employee engagement. Like that, team collaboration is a critical component of business success. Engagement is influenced by how a team of employees sees teamwork, collaboration, communication and respect. Research conducted by the Queen's University of Charlotte indicates that 75% of employees consider teamwork and collaboration are essential.

    Even though email and other communication mediums are essential, they can be overwhelming and cumbersome. It may be difficult for employees to concentrate on their work if they attend endless meetings, respond to questions, and manage administrative tasks via email.

    Thus, businesses need to adopt robust team collaboration platforms that are flexible, efficient and cost-effective, that provide an effective way to communicate like real-time messaging, audio and video conferencing, and meetings. The collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Slack are gaining momentum in this new normal.

    A collaborative approach can increase the chances of success through collaborators working together toward a defined goal. Effective collaboration can bring:

    - Enhanced productivity levels

    - Improved workflow

    -Enhanced team relationships and employee motivation

    -Boosted efficiency

  4. Invest in Effective Onboarding Process

    Establishing a fruitful employee experience starts with intelligent, engaging communication and an adequate and smooth onboarding process during the recruiting phase. Since 2020, the pandemic has indeed changed the way onboarding is done. Due to the present scenario of remote work, most new hires have no opportunity to meet their new colleagues in person or develop relationships by having office conversations and attending team lunches. In fact, onboarding new hire is one of the most critical opportunities for introducing employees to the organization's work culture and laying the foundation for engagement.

    With onboarding experiences continuing to transform in 2021, employers and the HR team must ensure that newly hired employees connect with their organization and colleagues. Employees can be introduced to their coworkers via collaborative platforms like MS Teams and Zoom in such cases. In order to create a smooth virtual onboarding experience, organizations must come up with integrated solutions that automate the complex, lengthy process of onboarding.

  5. Provide Opportunities to Learn New Skills

    According to Oracle Netsuite, professional development opportunities are crucial for employee engagement. Employee training programs are profitable for both the company and the employees. According to Emplify, around 70% of employees would prefer to leave organizations that are least interested in investing in employee training, which means workforces are always seeking to learn and grow in every aspect of their work. 

    In this virtual learning era, employee training can be tailored to fit all budgets and specific roles. That's why e-learning and learning management platforms (LMS) have become a popular HR technology in 2020 and 2021.

    Microlearning is becoming more and more critical in delivering clear, concise, multimedia-rich employee training in the modern workplace. This bite-sized form of training is faster than conventional training and ensures quality learning while providing short, precise nuggets of data.

  6. Automation to enhance employee productivity

    As the costs of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered automated service desks and HR helpdesks are popular, companies will leverage these technologies to boost their employee productivity. The modern IT service desks automate employee requests and entire tasks of employees instantly and ensure a quick, better and smarter employee experience.  Automation enhances hiring, onboarding, training, employee performance reports, and retention in human resources.

  7. Smart Chatbots for Quick Employee Service and Support

    The use of conversational virtual assistants or smart chatbots is projected to surge in 2021, enhancing agents' knowledge. The advantages of implementing an AI-powered conversational chatbot or virtual assistant (VA) are infinite. It ensures 24/7 support for employees and customers, an instant response to employees' queries, eliminates waiting times, auto-resolves employee requests, decreases expenditure etc.

  8. Ask for feedback

    Checking up on employees is very important in today's world. Listening to employee feedback is the best- possible way to understand how they feel about their work environment and company. Today work schedules are flexible and expand to more flexible; thus, feedback from employees has become a more crucial issue as teams synchronize.

Conclusion: Tech Trends to Change Employee Experience

Employee experience is an essential and ever-evolving business function that tracks the thoughts and feelings of each workforce throughout the company's journey.  Thus, effective employee experience should be a priority regardless of which industry your organization is in.

In an effort to create a positive employee experience, businesses should examine all these factors and identify the bottlenecks that hinder employee satisfaction. Technology can help businesses adapt swiftly to these trends and benefit from continuous growth in 2021 and beyond as these trends shape the employee experience.

Employee Service Index: A Modern approach to measure employee support and service  

In today's competitive environment, employee experience is a strategic issue. The measurement and improvement of employee support and service have become priorities for many organizations. The employee service index is a new concept coined by to help companies measure the status of each company's employee support levels and locate their progress, enabling them to improve their performance. ESI scores can help you enhance employee productivity and boost your business profitability.

Read More: Companies can now measure performance with regard to employee service and support with ESI

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