The future of the modern workforce: driving value and engagement through wellness platforms
- 5 Min Read
The modern workforce has significantly evolved, with employees now looking for a more personalised experience on how to accomplish work. It is imperative for businesses to keep pace with these changes and to ensure that communication, engagement, and wellbeing are at the core of their business offering
The pandemic has created new challenges and opportunities within every industry, and inadvertently shifted the priorities of the modern workforce in the process – engagement has risen in importance for employees.
By 2023, it is expected just under a quarter of the workforce will be working remotely full time, according to research from Willis Towers Watson. Research by the Harvard Business Review went one step further and concluded “employers that don’t offer flexibility will see an increase in turnover as employees move to roles that offer a value proposition that better aligns with their desires.”
As businesses move towards a permanent hybrid working environment, bridging the gap between maintaining the office culture and a successful remote working model is now more difficult than ever before.
Building effective communication strategies
Repurposing the meaning of a successful working environment has led to employers looking to focus on building a much more collaborative workforce based around employee engagement. In the past, employee engagement and effective communication has often been a challenge for many organisations; the pandemic only exacerbated this problem.
However, the shift of employees moving to work remotely has proven a catalyst for businesses to come up with new and innovative strategies to ensure employees feel connected to their organisation, as well as recognised.
A recent roundtable discussion facilitated by HRD Connect highlighted the importance of organisations building a “person-centric” approach and to focus on individuals as a unique package; this approach would allow businesses to build a better picture of their workforce.
Personal engagement now takes precedence over other business factors, and it is now vital for businesses to get to know their staff via surveys, one-on-one catch ups, internal feedback, and focus groups. Only through gathering employee data will organisations begin to build a better year-round communication plan and contribute to the overall well-being of employees.
A recent survey run by Gartner shows 82 percent of business leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely “for some of the time”, while nearly half (47 percent) said they intend to allow employees to work remotely full time going forward.
Approaches will likely differ, however. Gartner’s survey revealed 43 percent of businesses plan to grant flexible days, while 42 percent will provide flexible hours. Communicating these different approaches will be crucial for the success of these policies and businesses will need to ensure those who do choose to continue to work remotely are not seen as ‘outsiders’; a level playing field will need to be maintained for those working remotely and those choosing to return to the office.
One participant from HRD’s roundtable noted one way to achieve this was to ensure content is available in multiple ways, and accessible by all employees at any time.
Utilising technology as a key driver
To stay competitive under new working environments, organisations will also need to re-evaluate whether their current platforms are still fit for purpose and look into new collaborative platforms.
These could include video conferencing and productivity tools, to help employees utilise technology and improve communications.
During the pandemic, the way information moves through an organisation has become much more dynamic and multifaceted. Technology has proven a great enabler to boost efficiency within the workplace as it helps keep businesses organised and promotes greater collaboration.
Technology can also be used to build personalised communication strategies using employee data and analytics. As individuals, we all now expect targeted services in our daily lives, selected by algorithms that build a picture of our interests.
This – as a concept – should be the same in the working environment, where HR leaders can utilise technology to gain valuable insights and build personalised communications.
Wellbeing and building engagement
Wellbeing and benefits programmes should be integrated within the business offering as all too often, benefit services and wellbeing initiatives sit apart in organisations.
According to PwC’s 25th Annual CEO survey, nine out of ten CEOs believe conducting wellbeing initiatives will drive long-term changes to their business model because of the pandemic.
These should cover areas such as mental wellbeing, stress management, and learning and development courses to empower the workforce and lead to a happier and healthier business environment.
Wellbeing is another primary driver for benefits and the overall business agenda, and it’s important to get some governance around this concept to ensure the responsibility for wellbeing does not solely sit within an organisations HR function.
All business departments and providers concerned have a role to play in ensuring employee outcomes. Again, communication can help make the collective purpose of wellbeing clear.
And launching the initiatives is one thing but will also be key for businesses to keep track of how communication is being received. Measuring engagement via dedicated surveys and gathering feedback on what’s working and what is not, is key to keep businesses evolving.
While it may be challenging to introduce new measures, it is during these times of uncertainty that opportunities are born. Businesses which collectively bring together people, ideas, and discussions from their workforce are proven to be very powerful.