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In light of COVID’s toll on workers, new report offers six recommendations to improve employee experience and organizational culture


NEW YORK, September 30, 2021 / PRNewswire / – The pandemic has dramatically changed how, when and where work is done. And while a majority of companies reported that productivity increased as employees moved into remote working, for many it came at the expense of employee experience: employee burnout. employees, meeting time and the number of employees with mental health issues increased, while work-life balance, engagement and morale, and the number of employees reporting high levels of personal well-being has declined.

A new report from the Conference Board, Reshaping employee experience and organizational culture: lessons from the tumultuous events of 2020 and 2021, examines how the events of the past 17 months have reshaped both employee experience and organizational culture, and what lessons organizations can learn to thrive in the future. The report combines qualitative results from interviews with seven successful US-based organizations that reported gains in productivity and employee engagement, along with quantitative data from a April 2021 survey of more than 200 HR leaders.

Successful organizations have each demonstrated several of the following six attributes that can serve as lessons for those rethinking their talent management strategies in a world of work forever changed by remote working:

Nix the micromanaging: Trust your employees and offer flexibility.

  • Successful organizations trusted their employees to make the right decisions about when and how they performed their jobs.
  • 80 percent of survey respondents reported an increased emphasis on flexibility for employees, the biggest change in organizational culture since the start of the pandemic.
  • Flexibility is inherent in the confidence that employees will deliver results without being closely monitored.

Silence is not golden: Communicate frequently and transparently.

  • Frequent and transparent communication is necessary to build trust.
  • 68% of companies surveyed focused more on creating strong, consistent and aligned communication strategies.
  • More than half (56 percent) indicated that leaders and managers engage in regular two-way dialogue with employees.
  • 34% said that consistency in the words and actions of leaders has become a priority.

“Companies must not only trust their employees, but earn the trust of their employees,” said Robin erickson, PhD, Principal Investigator, Human Capital at the Conference Board. “The companies that have done this best are the ones that opened up the lines of communication through forums such as virtual town halls and higher level meetings where the leaders were genuine. These intentional opportunities for meaningful conversation have provided a platform for employees to provide honest feedback and break down barriers. between management and staff, and helped leaders realize their employees’ experiences. “

Indifference has never been so bad: make kindness a priority.

  • More than any other recent crisis, COVID-19 has placed organizational emphasis on employees.
  • Most organizations have prioritized employee well-being and safety to support workers during the pandemic:
    • 82 percent increased wellness initiatives.
    • 81 percent have implemented new workplace safety guidelines.
  • Many companies have asked executives and managers to have regular calls with staff, making sure they are doing well, have the resources they need, and feel connected to the company.

Beware of prejudices: commit to inclusion.

  • Creating an inclusive environment has become a priority, with 59% of organizations surveyed focusing more on providing stronger support, guidance and coaching for leaders and managers.
  • 43 percent increased their encouragement of employees to be fully dedicated to work.

“The events of 2020 and 2021 have accelerated the focus on diversity, equity and inclusion which has been increasing slowly but steadily for decades,” said Rebecca Ray, PhD, Executive Vice President of Human Capital at the Conference Board. “Recognizing the diverse needs and experiences of your employees helps create a work environment where everyone feels respected and valued, allowing your business to truly thrive. “

Keep your mission and goal on the back burner: amplify them widely and often.

  • A common goal can serve as a unifying force for distant and geographically dispersed employees.
  • 45% of HR managers surveyed said that since the start of the pandemic, they have focused more on ensuring that the mission, vision and values ​​are understood and widely upheld.

Don’t let a crisis go to waste: see it as an opportunity to change and be nimble.

  • Organizations that had already initiated HR transformations before 2020 have used recent crises as an opportunity to accelerate their transformation, rather than letting crises get in the way.
  • Organizations must be ready to seize opportunities and continue to evolve with ever-changing obstacles to ensure their sustainability.

About the Conference Board

The Conference Board is the member-driven think tank that provides reliable information about the future. Founded in 1916, we are a non-partisan, not-for-profit entity with 501 (c) (3) tax exempt status in the United States. www.conference-board.org

SOURCE The Conference Board

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