While Singapore made the news in 2019 for falling far behind the global average in terms of employee engagement, in 2020, numbers were seen to go up with overall engagement levels rising to 56% from 47% the year before. According to the same research report by Qualtrics, while numbers saw a shift, so did expectations and priorities.
Singaporeans are beginning to prioritise a sense of belonging above everything else after the year of the pandemic. Continuous improvement in ways of working, the state of senior leadership, and collaboration across managers and teams, were the next few top engagement drivers in the country.
With work models, interactions and lifestyles changing at dizzying speeds, it’s understandable that employees are reassessing their expectations at the workplace. Another strong driver, not just in Singapore, but across the globe, is wellbeing at work – An aspect of the employee experience (EX) that has rightfully come to the forefront in recent times.
With multiple upheavals in the world of work, it has become increasingly important for organisations to refocus their efforts in the space of employee engagement. And here comes into play the need for a robust employee value proposition (EVP) that encompasses everything from empathy and learning to a systematic talent management system. With such a plethora of components and with the wide-ranging nature of its implications, a holistic EVP can be challenging to outline. Here are some factors to keep in mind if you are looking for an EX revamp.
Focus on flexible policies to ensure inclusion
With the remote and hybrid models of work giving employers a glimpse into the lives of their employees, it has become a topic of conversation that every individual has their own battles to fight on the home front. Whether it is a large family or elders to care for, financial imitations and household chores to continually keep tabs on, or even certain ailments to handle, the key to making the workplace inclusive is to put in place flexible policies that will benefit everyone. While differently abled people, single parents and others have in many ways found working from home a refreshing norm, their empowerment needs to be augmented and sustained. From maternity and paternity policies, to leave allowances, work-from-home guidelines and engagement initiatives – There is a need for managers and the HR team to understand that not everyone can participate in the same way. Protecting individuals with well-structured anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, enhancing diverse recruitment and engaging people across geographies and teams, will all come in handy to retain a workforce that thrives irrespective of the volatility of the world around them.
Relook at your tech budget & invest in necessary tools
While basic workflow and productivity tools are now a norm, and virtual meetings are even preferred by many, HR tech is set to grow in leaps and bounds and can be a significant driver of the EX and of collaborative synergies. Here it will become increasingly crucial for HR talent management systems to keep pace, providing employees with seamless communication avenues, work tracking mechanisms and efficiency building options. It’s not just HR process tools that need to be quite literally up to speed – Even internal portals, intranet platforms, reward tools and engagement apps need to be built and fine-tuned with a UI/UX that encourages employees to use them. Tedious processes and digital red-tape can deter a lot of individuals from availing all that the organisation has to offer. A water-tight EVP doesn’t just build culture, it also enables employees to navigate the company’s offerings and consequently embrace the culture that has been built.
Emphasise leadership training for C-Suite and managers
Everyone needs upskilling – tech upskilling, digital familiarity, resilience building, sensitivity training and so much more. However, what escapes many employers is just how important this learning process is for the leadership team. From C-suite level leadership to department leads, the responsibilities of the management team have grown to staggering levels in the last one year. For most people-leaders, productivity and empathy have become a balancing act, and the fine line in between is all the space they have to move. As the bridge between revenue targets and individual sensibilities, leaders are responsible not just for profits and growth, but also for the wellbeing and advancement of their people. This is much like before of course, but with the current scenario being extremely precarious in nature, the job is that much harder.
Prioritise regular and transparent communication
A well-structured internal communications strategy is ever-important, and can achieve a lot for the company. However, it’s imperative for the plan to stay holistic in nature. With a healthy mix of informative, policy-based communication, important updates, industry insights, and fun, interactive content, companies can speak to their employees in a wholesome manner. Whether it is to keep your workforce abreast with employment model trends in the country, or to send out regular newsletters featuring employee stories and milestones, speaking to your organisation’s people will ensure a sense of belonging and will continually reinforce the importance of transparency.
Align with employees’ expectations & wellbeing needs
There are two major sides to ensuring wellbeing at work. One addresses the professional and the other addresses the more personal side of an individual’s life. On the professional front, it’s important for companies to provide ample learning opportunities, as well as avenues for career advancement and growth. A huge part of this is also to empower employees with clarity on their job roles and to align with what they expect from themselves. Ask the right questions: Are they happy with what they’re doing? Do they see growth potential? Do they enjoy their work? Are they being challenged enough? Here, the onus lies on team leads and managers to keep a close watch on productivity, job satisfaction, ownership and improvement. This is also another reason why upskilling for managers is a non-negotiable factor.
On the personal side of things, people-leaders must be responsible for the wellbeing of their employees. This involves monitoring signs of stress and burnout, ensuring regular conflict resolution and keeping an eye out for toxic behaviour at the workplace. However, the onus to actually take action falls on the organisation as a whole. With a robust EAP in place, a dedicated office counsellor on call and policy refinement based on grievances, employers can ensure that the employee experience is one of happiness, contentment and empathetic interpersonal relationships.
As is apparent from the latest study of Singapore’s workforce, expectations are seeing a paradigm shift. However, the basic focus of an EVP is the people, and the basic tenets of framing the proposition will always remain people-centric. With these five factors in mind, you can make sure that your company is revisiting and improving the EVP regularly, never compromising on the end-goal of happiness at work.