The war for talent is real.
Some of the world’s top organizations compete to hire valuable talent that fits their culture, talent that can be further nurtured into vital leadership roles that would help drive the organization’s mission successfully. An organization’s overall success is always directly tied to the brilliance of its individuals, making it amply clear that not only are great people needed, but are needed at their best.
Great people in the organization also add to the overall financial health and standing, making it imperative that the talent in the company is retained. US employers were reported to spend $2.9 million per day, looking for replacement staff overall, making it $1.1 billion for the whole year in excess expenses. In Asia, turnover costs for highly skilled jobs were reported to eventually cost the organization 150% of the position’s individual salary level. Hence, there is little doubt how crucial it is not only to develop great people in an organization but to make them stay.
This emphasizes the humane aspect of work and work-life in general. To be their best, an organization’s people need to feel their best. Their happiness is directly tied to the success of the organization–and to it reaching its full potential. Employee engagement leading to a great employee experience is therefore crucial and tied directly to organizational success.
Let’s explore this from multiple available perspectives:
Considering An Employee’s Perspective Creates Purpose
Deep satisfaction with their work-life instils a sense of purpose and responsibility in people, empowering them to be more efficient and ultimately happy employees. It is thus important for senior leadership to deeply evaluate the process regarding employee engagement, morale, and productivity. They must recognize that productivity is not a separate entity-a common mistake-but is often a direct result of engagement and happiness. Helping foster a deeper sense of purpose at work must be a huge policy change, that astute and responsible leaders should consider for an organization.
Considering people’s feedback is hence important, as noted in a survey by Globoforce. The survey showed that 89% of HR leaders agreed that ongoing peer feedback and regular check-ins, is a vital aspect of the ‘values-based system’ they hope to inculcate and is directly tied to the organizational mission and vision. All of this goes far beyond than being an HR strategy and becomes part of the overall organizational perspective.
Fig. 1.1: A poll on employee motivations regarding job change (Source: Deloitte)
Engaged employees are found to be 21% more productive than non-engaged ones.
This kind of attitude needs to flow into the workplace too. Engaged employees are found to be 21% more productive than non-engaged ones. Engaged employees are sure to find purpose and meaning in their work. And when that happens, they become easier to retain–something that has been identified as a key aspect, and a major challenge for organizations across the globe. Retention is crucial for building the workplace culture for the long term and is also directly tied to both profitability and efficiency.
The importance of employee engagement and retention can be best understood, when we look at the numbers. Good retention was identified as increasing the company’s profits four times. In the US alone, low retention was estimated to cost organizations $430 million annually. In Asia, on the other hand, it was estimated that $12,000 per year was lost to an organization due to turnover. HRM Asia identified that 52% of the total workforce looks to change for a new job in a year: an alarming fact, that once again demonstrates why retention is crucial to an organization.
Employee Happiness Creates Customer Happiness
Committed employees create better customer experiences, which lead to better sales, conversions and retention.
The equation is simple: Happy employees equals happy customers.
Organizations have been proactive about deriving inferences concerning consumer metrics through NPS scores and then evaluating the respective measures. However, there is no doubt that employees are the key driving factor in creating a successful relationship between an organization and its customers. In fact, customer satisfaction is directly tied to their interaction with employees. Positive, engaged, committed employees create better customer experiences, which lead to better sales, conversions and retention (and better NPS scores, of course).
It is vital for organizations to keep the priorities of their people in mind as much as the customer, and view them as symbiotic, instead of separate identities. Investing in employee happiness has a direct result on the return of investment. Both of these are not independent, but go hand-in-hand. Recognizing that is an important step towards success.
Fig 1.2: A Rundown of job satisfaction by countries (Source: World Economic Forum)
One of the biggest examples of this, that one can find, is that of Zoom, voted both in 2020 and 2021 as having the ‘happiest employees in the world’. This recognition is even more notable when you consider that it was achieved in the years since the COVID-19 pandemic started, during which, the company, of course, experienced exceptional growth. It expanded its global user base from 10 million to 200 million, with a total estimated current market cap of $129 million. While this growth brought with itself some serious challenges regarding privacy and security–the employees remained happy and satisfied throughout–and in the long run, were able to navigate the hurdles. Other organizations, like Microsoft and Hubspot also managed to ensure a happy, satisfied and committed culture, which also led them into profitable avenues.
Considering Employees Helps Them Navigate Organizational Hurdles and Challenges
The COVID-19 pandemic posed an unprecedented level of challenge to the world of work, and created a lot of residual anxiety and uncertainty, effects of which are still being dealt with, to this day. However, SHRM quoted a Gallup survey, which revealed that employee engagement managed to reach an all-time high of 40% in July 2020. This was attributed to the increased communication between employers and employees that took place within this period, and the situation forced leaders to more so than ever consider their employees’ point of view to maintain the stability of their workflow and keep them productive and motivated.
Despite challenges, work continued to thrive due to both parties being in communicative sync with each other, and solving problems together, further reinforcing the fact that collaboration is built on trust and mutual respect; something that is created when one considers other perspectives and needs.
75% of SME’s now state that they will be able to survive a challenge similar to the one posed by the pandemic.
An important consideration regarding this comes in the world of small and medium-size enterprises (SME’s). Small and mid-cap companies also took vital action in upskilling their people, adding new revenue streams for their benefits, improving their core technology and safety measures for their employees–despite having fewer resources than large organizations. They also adapted flexibility into their operations. Meanwhile, sales were made strictly telephonic and corporate team building activities were strengthened. Overall, despite the challenges faced by them, 75% of SME’s now state that they will be able to survive a challenge similar to the one posed by the pandemic, according to SHRM.
In Asia itself, SME’s also employed focus groups to encourage effective use of financial limitations during the pandemic in sectors like: manufacturing, traditional wholesale and retail trade. A shift to digital transactions was also crucial in keeping them afloat, as reported by Asian Development Bank. These things simply would not have been possible without creative problem-solving, coordination and a drive to collectively overcome challenges: three crucial things that come directly from employees themselves.
Employees Can Succeed and Thrive in the Right Organizational Environment
Aside from all that mentioned above, the best employee experiences are also determined by the spaces in which they are created, which means that it is important for organizations to adopt the ideal workplace design; one that provides a diverse array of options that caters to the diverse needs of the people within. Design needs to be inclusive, human-centric and geared towards maximizing the potential of the people in the workplace, giving them more control, more choice, and as a result, creating increased engagement needs to be a primary agenda of organizations.
Fig 1.3: Survey on US companies’ plans to create the ideal hybrid working space (Source: PwC)
Both private working and collaboration are to be considered, hence. Technology integration needs to be applied logically to the overall space. Aside from all of that, social spaces are also to be considered. After all, people are naturally inclined to be social. A workplace should provide the right avenues for its people to connect informally as well, eventually going on to shape positive behavior, effective conversions and genuine connections that aid collaboration and create a more fulfilling vibe and atmosphere within the organization.
Employee satisfaction is a crucial part of organizations in the 21st century, and a vital part of their journey of success, growth, prosperity, and transformation. Both a humane practice, and a vital consideration–it will act as fuel for the journey of both employers and employees. It will help organizations navigate hurdles, create opportunities–and act as a pathway for long-term success, thus helping create a resilient backbone that organizations can lean upon in times both good and bad.