Perceptyx, the leading employee experience and people analytics platform, today released five key lessons for company leaders to take into 2021. These lessons are based on what Perceptyx has learned through its research since COVID-19 began impacting workplaces in early 2020.
Perceptyx has worked with hundreds of large global organizations to survey more than 750,000 employees about their specific work situations and how they and their organizations are addressing key issues. In analyzing the results, Perceptyx has identified data patterns that vary from anything they have seen in the past 20 years. The data makes clear that when the business context is unfamiliar, as it is today, leaders can’t rely on past experiences to address today’s issues. Too much has changed and what used to work, likely won’t now.
“2020 has fundamentally altered the processes that HR functions are responsible for – from where we work, to how we work, to how we onboard, train, and exit employees, to how we pay them, provide benefits, and give them time off,” said Sarah Johnson, VP Enterprise Surveys and Analytics at Perceptyx. “In an uncertain world, we don’t have the luxury of guessing. As leaders, we need to know for sure what is most important and what actions will resonate. There is real power in data and analytics to help organizations address the myriad of changes, as we have seen through the successes our clients have had using data to make informed, actionable decisions.”
The survey data Perceptyx collected points to five key lessons that every organization should take into account in 2021:
- Move Beyond Engagement. While engagement is, and always has been, a bellwether in determining the health of a company’s culture, right now it simply isn’t enough. We cannot rely on outcome measures alone; we need to listen “in the moment” and respond quickly. As the working world shifts, it is critical to listen to employees to learn specifically what they need to be successful. Real-time data provides insights that help not only inform strategy and policy in a very significant and powerful way, but also to help map the eventual return to the workplace.
- Help Women. The hundreds of surveys Perceptyx has collected make it clear that organizations must do a better job helping women be successful. Women have been more impacted than their male counterparts during the pandemic, and every company risks moving backwards when it comes to the progress that women have made in organizations globally. The answer is not more “programs,” but rather providing more degrees of freedom that will enable women to sort out their schedules and priorities in a way that works for them.
- Prioritize Resilience. Resilience is a quality that has been critical to organizations during the pandemic, and it will continue to be essential going forward. The impact of COVID-19 to date, and the uncertainty of the road ahead of us, have had a fracturing effect on all companies. It’s hard to maintain a culture when so many of us are working remotely. Many employees are hired and onboarded without ever meeting their colleagues face-to-face or setting foot in a company office. But making sure those new employees feel welcomed and invested in their teams is critical. All employees – new and current – need ways to build and maintain ties with co-workers, in order to continue to innovate and collaborate with a shared sense of purpose.
- Recognize Fatigue. The novelty of working remotely has worn off. Zoom meetings, wearing a mask, social isolation, online learning, family demands … all of this has taken its toll on employees.The longer the virus impacts our everyday lives, the deeper the fatigue sets in and starts to erode positive feelings about everything — including work and the organization in which they are employed. Be prepared for this fatigue to affect employees at all levels, and recognize it for what it is. Listening to your employees is critical to overcoming this hurdle, as it will vary by industry, organization size, and of course the individual.
- Be Empathetic. Patience with each other is important across the board, but managers in particular need to demonstrate extraordinary empathy for their employees. Not every manager can do this well, however, and thus there is a need for HR to help managers learn to listen empathetically.
“Times of upheaval can also be times of great innovation and change. This is the time to rethink everything, and to do so quickly and visibly,” Johnson continued. “This moment is a golden opportunity for the HR function to influence the direction of the organization, to come to the table with facts, data, and insights that will enable the organization to navigate the uncertainty and find a new path to success.”
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