Employee experience as a catalyst for growth

August 14, 2020 | 08:00
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Employees are the lifeblood of any organisation. With technology advances entering the workplace, more people than ever are seeking out uniquely human elements in their work experience. By putting employee experience at the heart of the workplace, businesses can create an environment in which their people will gain a sense of purpose and remain motivated. 
employee experience as a catalyst for growth
Quach Thanh Chau - People Leader, PwC Vietnam

While disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are ushering in new considerations for businesses everywhere, the goals and fundamentals of a meaningful employee experience remain the same. The new normal of remote work and how we do business are redefining what employees need in order to do their jobs safely, efficiently, and effectively.

For many organisations – both global and local – such sudden changes have raised the challenge of keeping people engaged. Employee experience has been propelled into the limelight.

Employee experience will vary for each business. At PwC, employee experience is about enabling our people to do their best work and creating an environment where everyone feels they can succeed. Such outcomes are not realised overnight. They require consistent efforts to seek feedback and a commitment to continuously take actions to improve the daily experience of our people.

The present health crisis has greatly accelerated changes in major facets of the future of work: from digital transformation to the adoption of new ways of working. It has highlighted the need for clarity in communications, appropriate technology to enable the workforce to work effectively and most importantly, considerations for employee wellbeing. As new ways of working become less dependent on physical space, redesigning employee experience will become essential.

There is a correlation between employee experience and the proven real benefits for companies that invest more in employee experience as compared to organisations that focus less upon it. A 2017 MIT study showed that businesses that provide a great employee experience are 25 per cent more profitable than those that do not. In addition, companies that focus on employee experience have lower staff turnover rates and higher productivity.

So how can companies cultivate positive employee experience? While there is no solution for every company, here are the top three areas that businesses can consider.

Purpose, brand, and culture: Purpose at work is about how to get people aligned with something bigger. Connect the company’s purpose to what individuals do at work. A culture of trust, one where leaders lead by example can inspire employees to deliver a higher quality of work.

Focus on select behaviours that promote belonging, enable people to make an impact and foster individual growth. When you connect the company’s purpose to what individuals do in their day-to-day jobs, they see connections between what they do and how their contributions make a difference to the company and to society. This will cause a shift toward a culture that values and cultivates a fulfilled workforce.

Design of the workplace: While the organisation provides the right environment for a positive employee experience, it is the employees who ultimately make work more meaningful for themselves. The world is changing fast and so are ways of working and workplace trends.

Empower your people with the flexibility to work where and how they do their best work. In the case of PwC, flexibility is not just about flexible hours or working less. It is about encouraging our people to work differently and find their own work-life balance for a healthier and more productive life.

These initiatives are continuously validated through our Global People Survey which captures data that allows the firm to take action toward building a more fulfilling experience for our people.

Technology as an enabler: The pandemic has greatly accelerated the rise of workplace digitalisation. Creating better human experiences is critical for any digital transformation and will require considerable attention given that technology has become deeply integrated with the employee experience and integral to an organisation’s productivity.

Digital innovation that enhances the people experience must consider the technologies, data, and analytics tools that enable people’s best work; they must also be as flexible, mobile, useful, and user-friendly as the technologies people use in their personal lives.

As with products, services and customer experience, organisations should continually innovate with regard to the experiences of their employees. There is more than one way to achieve this.

Building an organisation that is sincerely inclusive will promote a sense of belonging and authenticity needed for real collaboration; making the workplace safe for experimentation will encourage a growth mindset; and focusing on end results will highlight the impact of everyday work, motivating employees. To set the stage for more meaningful work, provide your people with the space and tools to uncover what that means for them.

Highlights in PwC Vietnam’s approach to elevate the employee experience

Flex+ programme: Introduced in Vietnam in 2017, Flex+ provides flexible initiatives for working hours, arrangements for working parents, extended holidays, birthday leave, and more. Such policies encourage different ways of working and empower people to find a sustainable balance between their work, wellbeing, and personal growth.

Global People Survey: Carried out across the PwC network, the Global People Survey is an important indicator of employee engagement and satisfaction at PwC both globally and locally in each member firm including Vietnam. The survey results provide insights about what affects the daily experiences as well as long-term growth of each employee at PwC.

Their candid feedback in areas such as work experience, teamwork, growth and development, and flexibility and wellbeing help shape PwC Vietnam’s people-focused agenda and enable the organisation to proactively respond to its people’s needs. Some examples in recent years include introducing more flex+ initiatives, and continually upgrading and customising new learning platforms.

By Quach Thanh Chau

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