How to Adjust Employee Experiences for the New Normal

By: Jennifer Ho, Vice President of Human Resources, Ascentis

For employers, today’s workplace is like a jigsaw puzzle — and everyone’s still trying to fit all of the pieces together. Unfortunately, it seems that the shape of each puzzle piece changes on a daily basis as the coronavirus pandemic rolls on. For example, within just a few short months, innovative human capital management solutions such as biometric facial recognition and fingerprint readers have been rendered obsolete as companies look to embrace sanitary, technologically advanced solutions in the COVID-19 era(employee experience).

However, the “new normal” for employers and employees need not be puzzling. A tech-enabled action plan can help take on risks and costs tied to three key areas for ensuring an employer’s long-term viability and for easing employees’ adjustment to a radically different environment.

  1. Leading with the Employee Experience

Workplace safety will continue to remain a top priority for organizations as businesses reopen in the coming weeks and months. A recent survey by consulting firm Korn Ferry shows that half of American workers have fears about returning to the workplace, citing health concerns. Employers across the U.S. are hyper-aware that many of their employees are nervous about returning to the office in some capacity, and these fears can often lead to decreases in productivity and the company’s bottom line.

Read More: Is Your Company Going to Enforce a Work From Home Policy Till The End of 2020?

Therefore, it’s imperative for companies to first define the kind of employee experience that they’re trying to achieve. Once defined, companies are better equipped to leverage the latest best-of-breed workforce management technology solutions that support that particular employee experience. This leads to organizations instilling confidence in their employees, knowing they have taken the necessary precautions to create a safe and healthy environment.

It’s also important that employees be kept in the loop about new health and safety compliance rules for the workplace – and they should be able to easily check their health care benefits and figure out how much PTO they’ve accumulated.

Supplying accurate, timely information can stamp out rumors, boost employees’ confidence and contribute to a sense of organizational camaraderie. The right technology coupled with the right policies can help your organization excel at this.

  1. Getting everybody on board

A big task for employers reopening workplaces is training current employees on new and evolving compliance requirements. As these new policies and technologies begin to be leveraged, employers will need to make sure they are effectively communicating these changes across their teams through their learning management system. An LMS serves as a comprehensive, convenient way to reach staff and even provides a self-service method for quickly and easily finding and consuming web-based training material.

On top of that, you must properly onboard new hires — perhaps some who will be working remotely for a while — so that they’re educated about those same requirements. As such, you might have some employees going through in-person training, others going through remote training and still others taking a hybrid approach. No matter how you approach this, employers need to remember that they are leaving a lasting first-impression on new staff. As new hire onboarding is designed to align new team members to the company’s story and the philosophy of how the company works while serving as an  introduction to its products and industry, HR pros certainly have their work cut out for them.

The right talent management technology can help your organization coordinate this training mash-up. To carry out this effort, you’ll undoubtedly need to lean on tools such as videoconferencing and instant messaging. Adopting technology for training and onboarding is essential in the modern workplace, but don’t forget to incorporate humanity into whatever you do.

  1. Helping with reskilling and upskilling

Whether they’re returning-to-the-workplace employees or they’re new hires, American workers face a reconfigured workplace, in terms of both procedures and layout. The way things were done in January 2020 isn’t the way things will be done in the future.

Some employers hit hard by the pandemic were forced to furlough or lay off many – if not all – of their employees. As employers try to ramp up again, some jobs may no longer exist or may have changed. Or perhaps an employer has had to pivot to a mostly online business model. Therefore, workers are being called upon to adjust to these new dynamics or even be reskilled or upskilled.

Read More: Put your People First: An Open Letter to CEOs

“Workers across industries must figure out how they can adapt to rapidly changing conditions, and companies have to learn how to match those workers to new roles and activities,” consulting giant McKinsey & Co. says. “This dynamic is about more than just remote working. It’s about how leaders can reskill and upskill the workforce to deliver new business models in the post-pandemic era.”

An employer that doesn’t embrace this new reality jeopardizes its very existence and risks putting its employees out of work. But an employer that dives into reskilling and upskilling, with an assist from the right technology, can survive and even thrive in terms of productivity and revenue.