It is highly likely our mid-term recovery plans will need to be extremely adaptive and agile, so organisations will need to upskill their leadership and management in topics like flexibility and choice. Choice to work from the location that suits you best. Flexibility to select when that is. To further integrate work and life, juggling family and personal commitments in a way that suits. And that might change again next week.
All of this has been a huge focus of HR functions for some time but perhaps, if managed well, will become one of the very few but welcome positives of the current crisis. The remainder of 2020 could be the perfect time to re-launch a campaign on this—to clarify policies and empower employees to feel ownership over what they do, where they do it from and when they do it while also arming managers with the appropriate tools and understanding to not just allow but encourage flexibility in all its forms.
Leesman has a decade’s worth of compelling data on both employee experience and the competitive advantage of choice and flexibility. We know the factors that encourage connectivity, productivity and knowledge sharing, and we also know what prevents them. Our global research tells us that if you get these factors right, employees display immense pride. Pride interacts closely with talent retention and discretionary effort metrics, so it is also a valuable indicator in anxious and uncertain times. It is proof of connection—a sense of loyalty between employer and employee. In the post-COVID economic recovery phase, this will play a huge role, and it positions workplace as a critical strategic asset in organisational re-growth.
COVID is an unseen enemy, threatening our personal safety, curtailing our freedoms and risks derailing countless numbers of employees from roles they thought were good for them. Managing the emotional response to these challenges needs more empathy and active listening than ever before, and it needs real estate strategies that are sympathetic to those. It needs CRE and FM teams to be at one with HR leaders. Perhaps it’s time to accept that we are ultimately talking about employee experience, where experience is everything from where you work, to the technology you are provided, to the colleagues you work alongside. Perhaps it’s time for multiple functions to come together under one commander in chief – a head of employee experience.