Employee experience has become one of the hot buzzwords in business.
Corporations have come to the realization that investing in their workforce can pay big dividends, according to Forbes. But one thing missing from all the hype is a straightforward, concrete way that modern businesses can improve employee experience in their organization.
The reality is that the nature of work is changing, and the traditional workplace is becoming a thing of the past. No longer do most workers spend their day in an office, sitting at a desk. For companies in 2019, designing a great employee experience has nothing to do with perks like free lunches or dog-friendly work environments. What employees do want and expect are better, more flexible ways to do their jobs in a way that achieves a proper work-life balance.
That’s why, for innovative companies, a focus on communication will be the single easiest way to improve the employee experience.
We’ve written before about the importance of internal communication. At most organizations, there are clear communication gaps between teams and management, and this leads to lower productivity and morale. When employees are not aligned with company goals, they can become disengaged from their jobs – which negatively impacts the company’s bottom line.
Strong internal communication practices are necessary for an outstanding employee experience. When goals are clearly defined, and employees receive relevant information promptly with the ability to provide instant feedback, organizations thrive. Jack Rooney demonstrated this way back in 2000 during his tenure as CEO of U.S. Cellular. By concentrating on improving internal communication, he was able to increase employee satisfaction and customer service.
Rooney’s flagship communication initiative was an email address that went directly to him. This way employees could voice their concerns or send suggestions straight to the top. That was an innovative idea for its time.
But today’s workplace is a vastly different place – and requires a new kind of innovative thinking.
About 80 percent of the workforce can be described as “deskless.” These employees work remotely. They’re in the field, spending all day servicing customers and working on-the-go in hospital wards, on retail floors, driving trucks, and so on. They often do not have consistent access to traditional forms of corporate communication, such as an intranet or email. They may not even have a company email address. This makes finding a way to communicate with these “in the dark” workers even more critical for creating a productive work environment.
So, if communication is the key to improved employee experience and engagement, but all communication methods fall flat, what is the answer? How can a company solve this issue?
The problem with most of today’s organizations is the simple fact that they are doubling down on communication methods that aren’t working. Management tries sending out more emails or putting up more posts on the company intranet. But typically this just results in information overload for employees. They begin to view company communication as a distraction and ignore it. They delete emails without reading them. They stop visiting the intranet. This is why continuing to use these same modes of communication, and expecting different outcomes, becomes the very definition of insanity.
Instead, the answer is to meet employees where they are.
Companies should look at extending their methods of communication. Bringing communication directly to employees fits better in their day than an outdated communication process. This not only helps companies retain the best and brightest staff, but it also helps immensely with attracting top talent in a hyper-competitive labor market.
Just imagine the benefits in both improved productivity and institutional knowledge by having employees staying at companies longer. And think of the advantage companies will have when fighting tooth and nail to fill open positions with the best talent.
Putting information at the fingers of employees not only is possible, but it makes smart business sense. Intranets and email systems are incredibly complex pieces of technology and require significant IT involvement to keep them running. This is why many companies balk at trying to overhaul their current systems.
But change doesn’t have to be complicated or involved.
The easiest way to improve the communication experience for employees is by putting information in their hands – on their mobile devices. More than 75 percent of adult Americans now have mobile devices, and almost 90 percent of Millennials use them. Most workers are walking around with miniature computers in their pockets.
So, it’s easy to see why the single easiest way to improve employee experience is to bring company communications right to their pockets. Intranets won’t have to be rebuilt. Email systems won’t have to be reconfigured. Significant IT resources won’t have to be added. In fact, the simplicity of a mobile app would make life easier on the IT department.
The nature of work has completely changed. Employees are no longer limited to a geographical area. They can work anywhere, at any hour. And they are quick to change companies. This is why crafting an excellent employee experience has become just as important as compensation when hiring and retaining the best employees.
And it starts with bringing communication directly to your employees.
Organizations that do not realize this will find themselves left behind.