Technology has enabled employees to work remotely and employers to source their workforce globally. However, technology can also fuel employee anxiety over issues like job security.
The World Economic Forum surveyed businesses in 15 industry sectors and 26 advanced and emerging countries. Among those surveyed, 43% plan to reduce their workforce due to technology; 41% will increase the use of contractors for specialized work; and 34% will expand their workforce because of technology. The following outcomes are predicted:
85 million jobs will be displaced
97 million new roles could emerge by 2025
40% of workers will require reskilling
94% of leaders expect employees to pick up new skills on the job
Employee Relations is more vital than ever
The 2021 Littler Employer Survey points out that employers must address employee well-being while employees are experiencing “crisis fatigue” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Leadership communication and Employee Engagement cannot be ignored. During these times, uncertainty breeds discontent. If employees worry about being pushed out of their jobs, their productivity will decline, and unhappiness will flourish. Effective communication is the bedrock of positive employee relations.
Improving Employee Engagement through Communication
There are various beneficial initiatives a company can consider:
- Establish a workplace environment where employees feel safe to give feedback on the Employee Experience and workplace issues. Ensure prompt feedback and that there is no threat in raising concerns. Some companies also support the concept of anonymous reporting for workplace issues.
- Give all employees access to a communication system such as an app, forum, or web portal. Avoid the culture of “have and have-nots.”
- Give recognition for employee achievements and actions that support the desired business culture. People like to hear “thank you” and “job well done”, especially when its shared publicly with their co-workers.
- Routinely assess the Employee Experience through various means like pulse surveys and survey instruments. Be sure to follow up with actions where there’s a negative undertone. Follow-up communication on the actions taken is vital to employees, it proves that the company cares. To the contrary, future surveys will get much less sincere attention if employees believe that the company’s leadership aren’t listening.
- Create company videos to reinforce the culture. Even videos that include instructional training can highlight why the company likes doing things the right way.
- Routinely assess the work mood with pulse surveys. The company can proactively detect where stress, lack of motivation, and anxiety exists. HR policies may be adapted to support flexible work arrangements, while better shift rotation could apply in some work areas. Employees need to feel that their work and personal lives are important to their employer.
- Diversity and inclusion should always be embraced. Company communication must never favour one demographic of employee over another. The welcoming of new employees should be treated the same, while the promotability of high performers must be regarded as equal opportunity.
- Don’t overwhelm new employees during the onboarding period. Create engaging company videos that help orientate new individuals, while communication should highlight where they can access such materials and who will assist them if they have questions. Assigning a mentor for a “fast start” beats tedious paperwork and dull presentations.
- Train Managers and Department Influencers on now to promote the company values. They help fulfil the company mission.
- Review HR policies. Where improvements are made to counter any bias, discrimination, or unfair assessment of work, communicate these changes and the reason for the update.
- Give employees the opportunity to contribute innovative ideas. Avoid discouragement by giving feedback that suggests an idea is worthless.
Strengthening Employee Engagement is not an overnight process. Starting now therefore makes obvious sense. Evaluate existing systems to determine if leadership and employees have access to the right information. Where digital communication plays a significant role, it should be measured by reach and feedback to improve the overall effort. Effective communication with constructive HR policies, supported by technology, strengthens Employee Relations where it matters most.