Companies want to offer their customers an excellent experience. Part of doing that is offering employees an excellent experience. There are two reasons for this. In many industries, job candidates are also customers. An example is the person who loves dining at a restaurant and decides to apply for a bartender job there. The last thing organizations want to happen is to lose both a candidate and a customer at the same time. The second reason is that employees are responsible for delivering the customer experience. The way they do that is by having their own excellent experience.
Most organizations have customer service philosophies. Examples include “Put yourself in your customers’ shoes” and “Put your customers’ needs first.” A customer service philosophy is defined as a group of shared principles that guide every customer interaction. Often, they are linked to the organizational mission, vision, and values. Customer service philosophies include references to honesty, respect, empathy, and making customers a priority. In thinking about external customer service philosophies, it raises a question. Shouldn’t organizations also have an employee (aka internal customer) service philosophy?
In a 2019 survey, Deloitte found that 84% of business and HR leaders viewed improving the employee experience (EX) as important—and 28% considered it urgent. In the pre-pandemic world, with low unemployment and rising turnover rates, providing a positive EX was an essential talent attraction and retention tool. Then COVID-19 hit.
The term “employee experience” is new and buzz-worthy, but the concept behind it is not. At the core of the employee experience come two critical building blocks: policy and process. Neither are sexy or groundbreaking. In fact, even the most astute and engaged HR professionals react to this statement with either a grimace, knowing how hard it is to make them exciting, or with a dismissive wave of the hand to say, “Obviously, the process impacts employee experience —everyone knows that!”
Willard Marriott, founder of Marriott International, is famously quoted as saying “Take good care of your employees, and they’ll take good care of your customers, and the customers will come back.” It makes a lot of business sense. But it raises the question, what does “take good care of your employees” mean?
A recent article in Human Resource Executive Magazine posed the question “Is a hybrid workforce the wave of the future?”. A hybrid workforce is being defined as one where there’s a significant number of both onsite employees and remote employees. It might not be a balanced 50/50 but more of a situation where the percentages justify the need to consider each workforce group’s needs separately.
When experts speculated back in January what the biggest HR trends would be this year, few could have predicted how radically the face of work would change just a few months later. The coronavirus has altered the course of HR radically and, perhaps, permanently. There are few silver linings to the pandemic, but some of these changes may be for the better. Many employers are re-examining their relationships with employees through an increasingly empathetic lens. And many HR leaders are embracing the idea of building greater agility and flexibility into their policies and plans. As you start to think about what the future looks like for your HR team, here are a few HR trends that have been upended by COVID-19—and a few that have been accelerated.