After Covid, the great employment re-engagement
Workers are re-evaluating their relationship with work. The employeeexperience is under so much scrutiny that businesses must act
The stresses of juggling work and life, dealing with uncertain employment, accelerating business and dig-ital transformations, working fromhome or not working from home, have created a great dislocation in the jobsmarket. And the numbers are stark. In the US, people have been quitting jobs at the highest rates this century.
The so-called 'big quit' may bean American phenomenon, but jobvacancies in the UK soared to anall-time high recently. Employeeengagement is a hot topic aroundthe globe.
“In recent times, organisations have shunted the idea of resilience onto employees rather than themselves; that way businesses don't need to devote resources to being resilient,” says Dr Adrian Madden,a senior lecturer in the Department of Management at the University of Huddersfield. “There is also the issue of trust between employers and employees. This has been significantly eroded as a result of Covid, not helped by a renormalising discourse of recovery, where workers should put aside these issues as the economy rebounds.”
However, when attrition is high or when it looks as if workers are in demand, with calls from politicians for a “high wage, high productivity” economy, then the issue of employee experience matters even more. The 'great resignation', as it’s also called in the US, should be met with a 'great re-engagement' by businesses around the world, especially now that skilled labour is in peak demand globally and attrition has indeed become an issue.
While customer-centricity is a well-worn business phrase, the most forward-thinking firms realise it is time to focus on employee centricity. But a lot needs to be done in this area. For instance, the Chartered Institute for Personnel Development, or CIPD’s, annual Good Work Index finds that job quality in the UK still falls short, with too many workers reporting a lack of development and poor wellbeing.
Defining what excellence looks like when it comes to employe eexperience is, therefore, important. This goes beyond remuneration, an improved work-life balance, snazzy office spaces or free breakfasts. It is increasingly about achieving happiness and meaning at work. It’s personal, hard to define and evolving, with greater expectations among Gen Z and Millennials. Pulse surveys and real-time employee feedback help.
“The employee experience needs to change because our whole world experience has changed. The pandemic has taught people that the core of their job can be done in a way that suits them. Employee experience has also become about individuality in the workplace,”explains Nathan Peart, managing director at law recruitment firm Major, Lindsey & Africa.
“Today, firms need to ensurestaff can thrive, not just survive,”
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