The Employee Experience as a Platform for Change

 The Employee Experience as a Platform for Change

An optimal and scalable employee experience program should cater to team members’ top-of-mind concerns, including mental health, work-life balance, and day-to-day workplace dynamics.

In this session of PANGEO, G-P Chief Human Resources Officer Richa Gupta and G-P Vice President of Employee Experience Megan Gregorczyk discussed what today’s top global talent values and how emergent trends in employee experience are impacting retention.

How can employees thrive in the remote-first environment?

In the last two and a half years, employees have critically assessed their relationship with work; a “Great Reshaping” and “Reconsideration” are taking place, with candidates and employees both looking for better work-life balance. As companies adapt to remote-first policies and procedures, technology has emerged as a path to define a human experience at work. “Employers should ask, how do you leverage technology to build some of that connection when employees cannot sit with one another daily,” said Gupta. Developing connections and expressing empathy using digital tools is an ongoing challenge, but early adopters of remote work who are willing to partner with employees to find the right mix of work scopes, technology, and policy will achieve just that.

Asynchronous tech stacks have made it possible for remote-first employers to manage outcomes, and not activities. Gupta identifies three key areas remote-first employers need to address to ensure teams thrive and reach their full potential:

  1. Flexibility in choice of how and when they work
  2. Prioritization of employee wellness and mental health
  3. Empathetic leadership fully vested in their teams’ growth and development, as well as outcomes

What are the markers of an employee-centric workplace?

“There’s a challenge out there with employers. How can they create rich, caring, productive work environments when they can no longer control the physical workplace,” said Gupta. At the center of it all are employees. “Humans have to be first,” Gupta explained. There are many markers of a truly employee-centric workplace; among the most important are that employees feel seen and heard digitally, through their computer screens. As a remote-first company, G-P is committed to ensuring three things for every employee, regardless of geography: the opportunity to be seen, heard, and needed.

Gregorczyk and her team are leveraging UX designers to help G-P employees maximize their time — with innovations like “burnout busters,” fully integrated and automated reminders for managers to make sure their teams take vacation time. “We’ve both worked for companies that have fully stacked benefit offerings, from massages to yoga sessions, but those aren’t the things people are struggling with — people are struggling with time,” said Gregorczyk. “We’ve aligned on three things that really matter to employees: balance, connection, and reduced meetings.” Many companies resorted to tracing mouse clicks, on-camera hours, and other activities to control output during remote work. G-P has taken an opposite approach, where employees define how and when they work.  “It’s really about letting teams be flexible and managing outcomes, not activity,” concluded Gregorczyk.

Is there executive buy-in for new, employee-centered environments?

A recent survey by Microsoft found that 80 percent of participants felt they could work remotely and be productive, but the number dropped to 10 percent when executive leaders were questioned. “There is this real gap, a real chasm, between how leaders see remote work and how employees see remote work,” said Gregorczyk. There is still work to be done at the executive level to embrace this new remote-first preference.

“As we work toward flexibility of choice in remote work, we need to think about how we give teams the time to focus on outcomes, and not activity,” Gregorczyk added. “Co-ownership in the employee experience is one of the biggest value propositions that companies now have,” added Gupta, who mentioned that after two decades as an HR leader, she’s noted a shift in leadership. She shared that executives now know they need to have employee buy-in, versus the traditional model of employee experience planning, which was more top-down and lacked employee input. “Employee centricity is a business imperative and no longer just an HR responsibility,” said Gupta. To drive early adoption of employee-centric programs with executive leadership, Gupta recommends looking at data, including attrition and retention numbers, and increasing the employee voice in the planning process.

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