Redesigning employee experience for the future of work

Mallory Loone, Co-Founder of Work Inspires, provides tips on how organisations can redesign the right employee experiences for their employees.
By: | November 30, 2022

What do “The Great Resignation” and now “quiet quitting” have in common? It stems from poor experiences. Now, employee experiences have been a common topic for years, so why address it now?

According to the World Economic Forum, most companies will have about 25% of their workforce comprising of Gen-Zs by 2025, which means a company on average will have at least four generations in the workforce at the same time. The generations that are mostly affected by movements like “quiet quitting” are Gen-Z and Millennials.

Does that mean organisations need to shift their entire workforce to “accommodate” these changes? Not necessarily. The United Nations’ Human Development Index comprises of three key dimensions:

  1. Long and Healthy Life (Well-being experiences)
  2. Knowledge (Learning Experiences)
  3. A decent standard of living (Working Experiences)

Currently, Singapore stands at number 12, whilst Malaysia stands at 62 with the leading top three countries being Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland.

With these foundations in place, let’s see how we can redesign the right employee experiences.

Creating effective well-being experiences 

We are aware that mental and emotional well-being has been prominently talked about since the pandemic. Some best practices that have been implemented included in well-being engagements and in-house mental health first-aiders.

So, what is the missing piece? Let’s look at the root causes of why stress and burnout happen.

1.   The choice of working style

Yes, emphasis on the word “choice”. We understand that some industries or businesses are always at their peak and workloads are never-ending. However, it can be the choice of companies and leadership to still emphasise the right culture and being a purpose-driven organisation.

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“Some industries or businesses are always at their peak and workloads are never-ending. However, it can be the choice of companies and leadership to still emphasise the right culture and being a purpose-driven organisation” – Mallory Loone, Co-Founder of Work Inspires.

It can also be the choice of leaders to have healthy engagements and conversations with their team members, listening to frustrations and working together to create solutions.

Lastly, it is also the choice of the employees – we can choose to complain or choose to be part of the solutions being offered.

2.   Go beyond the “talk”

I am sure you have attended more than enough talks and workshops on well-being. It is time to go beyond that. More often than not, we have seen repeating issues raised about policies, transparency in information, and working arrangements. Aligning with DEI and ESG, how can companies start creating actionable policies and initiatives that can help close the gaps?

There are no “perfect” policies that would fit all, but in the end, it comes to what each company needs. For example, having standard “maternal or paternal” benefits would only suit a certain demographic. What about those who choose not to have kids? Similarly, have “gym benefits” to promote health, but what about those who choose other sports?  

Cultivating effective learning experiences

As we live in an ever-changing and agile world, the question we need to ask is, “Can we remain relevant?” The relevance here goes beyond just attending conferences or learning about the latest trends. How do you make changes based on that knowledge and how can companies facilitate such learning experiences?

1.   Create a learning culture

Training is merely a learning method and does not necessarily equate to actual learning. Cultivating a learning culture can be as simple as having a learning session with the team, being a mentor when there are questions asked, being encouraging for the team and being a mentor who guides. 

Yes, it sounds simple, but organisations need to have a certain framework or structure to make facilitate learning.

Here are some key practices you can use:

  • Have an internal mentoring programme where peer-to-peer learning is practised.
  • Create a customised measurable learning journey based on developmental needs, that is, what is next after the management trainee, and effective talent/ succession planning.
  • Consistent leadership alignment to ensure that the gaps between hierarchy are closed.

2.   Sandbox for innovation

Every company wants to innovate for the future, and they preach creativity and agility. However, there are also countless times when we work with our clients, and we hear ideas rejected because they are “more work” or because it is unconventional. Some ideas did not even have a chance to be shared merely because there are differences in opinions, positions, or the lack of a platform.

To improve this, you can put in place these practices:

  1. Create a space to allow for collaboration among departments, where it can start as a problem-solving space to help improve efficiency and effectiveness.
  2. Hackathons or dialogues for employees to brainstorm ways they see as the “future of work” for the business.

These will cultivate a sense of ownership and belonging, which leads to the retention and development of talented employees. It also serves as a motivation for employees to be more proactive and invested in the company’s business.

Practice healthy working experiences

Finally, we come to our day-to-day practices. Here are three simple ways organisations can create a healthy workplace.

1.   Tie culture to performances

Have clear values that are advocated from the management all the way to the tea lady and most importantly, allow them to relate it back to their own needs and work. If you are going to do a relaunch of purpose, mission, vision, and values, do it right and ensure that it ties back to performance measurements.

2.   Call out unconscious biases

We know the importance to have a “whistle-blower” but let us all practice calling out those that show bias and favouritisms at work. This, in fact, is one of the most frustrating problems employees faced.

3.   Tying personal goals to career development

All of us spend most of our lifetime working. So, help make it meaningful by tying employees’ personal goals into their career development plan. For example, financial freedom would be popular, so how can we use an employee’s job crafting to achieve that?

In summary, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to create employee experiences. But if we do not do anything about it, we are losing an opportunity. So, let’s practice the concept of “just one more” by starting with one key action – the rest will likely fall in place. 

About the author: Mallory Loone is Co-Founder of Work Inspires, a people engagement company that focuses on sustainable results through interactive and customisable L&D, team bonding, and employer branding solutions.

Join her at CHRO Series Malaysia 2022, which is taking place on December 7. In her presentation titled, Redesigning Your Post-Pandemic Employee Journey, Loone will address how organisations can reimagine their employees as customers to boost retention.