Every business understands the importance of communication within their operation. Knowing what’s happening with their employees, collecting information at key times, and offering support when needed are all critical parts of maximizing enterprise success.
Of particular importance, however, are certain moments within the employee experience (EX) or employee lifecycle, but making contact at these touchpoints is unusually difficult now that most workers are remote. As such, many businesses are reenvisioning their EX framework, ensuring positive, productive communication across the employment lifecycle and regardless of location.
Onboarding – A Critical Moment
One of the most important points along the employee lifecycle timeline is the onboarding process, during which employees are hired and trained for their new roles. They may take part in employee training programs, work with a manager or mentor, or spend time reviewing internal handbooks and practice modules. These things can be done remotely, but without intentional changes, such programs may not work well.
What unique challenges do staff who are onboarded as remote workers face? In interviews, many report that they feel isolated, struggle to get to know their team, and find the lack of direct supervision and access to information to be a challenge, limiting their ability to adapt to and excel in their new position. These are serious concerns, but also issues that can be remedied through better communications channels.
A Question Of Culture
It’s not just the onboarding process that’s compromised by the new norms of remote work. A dispersed office community can also negatively impact company culture – and that’s a real problem for today’s workforce, especially for leadership. In fact, given the intense competition for top talent today, company culture can make the difference between retaining great performers and having them scooped by competitors. So, how do businesses craft a positive, growth-focused company culture? There are several factors that go into the process.
First, businesses that want to improve the employee experience and prove their commitment to their company’s community should consider investing in an EX platform. Such tools allow businesses to deliver personalized training experiences, gather employee insights, and quickly pivot based on operational growth, changes in demand, and other factors. Businesses that emphasize such connections and build flexible systems are also more likely to be ranked among the top places to work.
In addition to investing in comprehensive EX tools, businesses with a strong commitment to team development thrive by knowing what questions to ask their staff. They dig deep on issues like motivation, communication styles, and feedback. They get to know their company’s leadership, as well as entry-level workers. To develop internal cohesion – even when all staff are remote – thriving businesses keep the lines of communication open.
Seeing It Through – The Exit Survey
Exit surveys are a classic business tool used to understand EX at the end of an individual’s time with a company, whether they’re transitioning to a different company or they’re retiring. One thing that businesses get wrong about this practice, however, is that they tend to limit it to a single question set as a team member is headed out the door.
So, how can companies collect the maximum amount of information from exiting employees, given that they can’t exactly chase down former staff to collect more information about their experiences? One option is to begin collecting data weeks or even months before staff leave, at least when possible.
Often, this is only possible with high-level management who are planning to retire, but in such cases, it’s important to gather the most information possible. These leaders should also, ideally, provide any information they think will support team growth and development.
In many ways, COVID-19 has forced businesses to adapt their communications norms and remap EX frameworks, but the reality is that most companies badly needed to make these changes long before the pandemic. As the saying goes, though, necessity is the mother of invention – and this has been a particularly significant moment of necessity. Still, these improved communications systems won’t be limited by this moment in time. Rather, they will serve businesses well for years to come.
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