Posted on Jun 28th 2019.
With the growth and rise of streaming/on-demand services such as Netflix and Spotify, people are growing accustomed to a more personalised experience, with recommendations that are specific to their wants and needs.
Social media has become the biggest news provider in the world, offering updates based on things you like or have previously viewed and even fast food apps recognise your regular orders and offer up favourites based on previous purchases.
With almost everything else in our lives offering up a personalised experience, why aren’t we getting this in the workplace?
Studies have shown that employees feel more engaged when they have personal goals to be working towards and some flexibility in their working hours, rather than feeling like they are simply “filling a seat”.
Making work an experience that is personalised has been coined the “Consumerization of HR”, and will only improve employee happiness and wellbeing.
We’ve decided to take a look at some of the things that businesses can do to improve the employee experience at work and get the best out of their staff.
One of the first things you can do to offer a more “personalised” working experience is to explore the idea of flexible working hours, and remote working.
Having some flexibility with working hours works really well for a lot of employees, and allows them to work around their plans. Instead of having to take a full day off for an afternoon event, they could stay later throughout the week and leave earlier on that day.
As long as the work gets done and they are working their contracted hours, does it really matter when they do it?
Obviously there will be some businesses where strict working hours need to be in place, but if you’ve got the ability to offer changeable hours then there is no reason not to.
Remote working is the idea of working away from the office, usually from home. Working from home can be a fantastic option to give to employees, especially if they have long commutes to work.
Being able to work from home on a Friday and skip the after work traffic is something that employees wouldn’t take for granted, and shows that you are taking into consideration their personal life. Remote working also works well for instances where someone needs to wait in for an important package, or don’t feel quite well enough to work in the office but could be getting on with things at home.
With social communication better than it’s ever been, it’s easy to keep track of what employees are doing whilst working at home and get regular updates.
Another idea that we’ve seen floating around recently is the idea of “unlimited” holidays, allowing for unpaid leave days after all holidays have been taken. The option to take time away from work whenever they need to can be a very effective way of employee retention, with staff coming back feeling refreshed and recharged after some time off.
Being able to let employees step away for a couple of days if they are feeling overwhelmed or stressed will also help a lot with mental health, which is something that employers need to be thinking about.
Even the happiest of employees can start to feel complacent in their role without any sign of improvement or progression.
After the initial training period is over, expecting employees to remain in the same position with the same amount of basic knowledge is not healthy, and failure to give them the ability to learn more will only stunt them.
When you hire someone, you need to see them as an investment that you will continue to nurture and grow. A lack of opportunity to grow is often one of the biggest contributors to employees feel dissatisfied with their position and leaving.
Providing training opportunities that allow employees to better themselves and improve on their current knowledge of the business will definitely produce a much more engaged workplace. You can tailor make training programmes to specific people, allowing them to improve on areas they are struggling and hone their skills.
If you provide the brass ring, there will be people waiting to take it and run with it. Invest in your employees and reap the benefits of more skilled, engaged workers.
Training can even be given at their desk through the use of online training courses and programmes. It’s never been easier to train your team.
Encouraging employees to engage with each other and collaborate is never a bad thing, and giving them the tools to do so is a step towards a better workplace.
Implementing social communication tools such as WhatsApp, Slack and Skype into working practises promotes the idea of teamwork and make communication a lot easier. Being able to send files and documents, give updates on where projects are at and set tasks for each employee is now possible through the likes of these tools, and should be utilised to the maximum.
We spend most of our time communicating through the likes of WhatsApp and Messenger, so why not use it to your advantage and implement this tech into your work.
On the topic of social tools, social media is also something that should play a large role in your business. Most businesses have social media profiles these days, and it’s almost considered a sin if you do not.
As we mentioned before, social media is the place that the majority of people get all of their news and updates, so using this platform to your advantage seems like a logical step.
Social media is even a very useful tool when it comes to recruitment, with the likes of LinkedIn specialising in professional exchanges and recruitment tools that allow you to find the perfect candidates.
One of the most important things to consider when trying to improve the employee experience is where or not the employees are actually listened to, and if they have a platform for it.
We recommend that all businesses operate an “open door” policy, allowing employees to come and speak to managers with any issues that may be facing. You will often find that businesses that have a disconnect between the normal staff and members of the managerial team will have lower employee morale, feeling like their opinion or happiness isn’t being considered.
Holding frequent “one on ones” and catch-ups with employees allows manager to gauge how well the team is working, and sort out any issues before they become worse. They are also monumental as far as employee growth goes, with feedback on their performance being key to improvement.
Performance reviews should also include the option for employees to give feedback on their work experience, allowing for suggestions on how to improve the day-to-day ongoings.
Even though everyone enjoys getting a pay check at the end of each month, working day in and day out without any kind of goals or incentives can leave employees feeling stagnant.
Setting specific personal goals for employees to work towards is so important for growth, and will only improve morale in the workspace. You’ll find that laying out goals will also mean an increase in productivity, as employees will want to work harder to achieve these goals.
Incentives can also be very helpful in boosting morale and productivity, and are a fun way to get everyone working together to achieve important work for the business.
You might think that offering incentives have to be expensive prizes like iPads, but this is not true and offering this kind of gift does not really benefit the business. Offering incentives such as an extra paid holiday, free lunch, or even manager for a day can all prove to be fun incentives that are focused around the business’ needs and come at a relatively inexpensive price.
Even the smallest rewards can produce great work, so get creative with it.
Lastly, if you want to create a working environment that is personal to each and every employee, make an effort with them.
Create an open environment where employees can speak freely (whilst getting on with work, of course), and make sure to engage with staff on a regular basis. Have a dedicated space away from desks for lunch where employees can relax and talk about their lives, and take an interest yourself.
Celebrating birthdays and promotions is also a great way of making your employees feel valued and like a member of the team, as opposed to a number of a payroll sheet.
Whilst there needs to be a difference between work life and home life, there is no reason why the lines can’t be blurred slightly for a better working experience overall.
Making a few small changes to the day to day operations of the business can go a long way to creating a team of passionate, attentive employees that are loyal to the business and want to produce the best work possible.
Work starts with the employees, so keep them happy and let the rest sort itself out.
If you need help implementing anything we’ve spoken about in this article, give Wurkplace a call. Our team of experts have lots of experience in optimising HR practises and ensuring a happy and engaged workplace environment.
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