Organisations have come to understand the importance of fostering an employee-centric work culture where Employee Experience and agile HR processes play a key role in the company’s business success and sustainability.
Sandhya Rana, General Manager – Human Resource at Alok Masterbatches, is an HR professional with close to 2 decades of experience.
She speaks to us about the impact of Employee Experience on the organisation’s success, the importance of agile HR processes for business sustainability and what agile workplaces of the future will look like, particularly in the post-pandemic era.
How does Employee Experience impact business sustainability, and what role does HR play in this process?
As the saying goes, the first impression is the last one and HR is the first department that interacts with every prospective candidate. An employee interacts with HR even before he is on board and hence HR plays one of the most significant roles in employee experience, excitement and his/her overall life cycle in any organization. The way HR treats an employee creates an impression about the overall culture of the organization.
If HR is transparent, steadfast and displays agility in its action, the employee feels motivated and will reciprocate equally well. This improves the performance leaps and bounds and ultimately leads to business growth and sustainability.
In these current trying times, when no one knows what lies ahead of us, HR’s role has become even more critical in providing the right work environment, empathy and support which is the need of the hour and vital for employee engagement and retention.
Every organization focuses on hiring and retaining the best talent, and if these people do not have a positive experience in the organization, they will look for better opportunities. HR plays a significant role here by creating the right company culture and gearing the other departments and management to walk the talk and lead by example.
HR can facilitate optimal usage of AI, technology and the use of digital means to support people in these times where personal meetings and access is restricted. At the same time, we must ensure that it is not overused thereby avoiding its challenges such as stress and other mental health issues.
HR can focus on creating a workplace that emphasizes individual strengths, which is inspiring, collaborative and focuses on creating an employee experience that is meaningful, refreshing and enjoyable.
What are the kinds of agile HR policies/processes needed in organizations today to be able to survive in an era of disruption?
It is high time that HR comes out of its traditional rulebook approach and adopts agile HR practices. HR should implement programs, strategies and systems that encourage expertise, collaboration and decision making which eventually leads to adaptability, innovation and speed. Some of them can be as under:
- Hybrid Work culture
- Encourage automation and use of AI and have digital HR Platforms
- Reconsider workspace arrangements
- Crisis management teams
- Productive employee engagement
- Support, share and Collaborate
- Special focus on physical & mental health
- Restructure performance management that aligns with the hybrid work model
- Developing programs to foster diversity in teams
- Identify & train individuals as Mental Health First Aiders to support.
- Also training leaders across levels to act as “In-hand Coaches” not managers.
- Making organization systems and culture more conducive to diversity and inclusion and taking conscious efforts to encourage the same.
What are some of the ways in which your organization has worked towards enhancing employee experience in the post-pandemic workplace?
We are endeavouring to achieve the same by:
- Health Support Initiatives (Mental & Physical)
- Personal Connect with Employees
- Being Agile and Building Resilience
- Virtual Networking with teams
- Transparency, continuous communication and information sharing
- Adopt & encourage Automation and AI
Tell us more about the correlation between employee experience, engagement and business sustainability and how are organizations working towards strengthening these areas?
It is indirectly and equally correlated to each other and it has a snowball effect. If an employee’s experience is not positive, the person will not be engaged and his commitment levels shall go down. He may spread negativity in the larger teams which can be further detrimental for the organization. This in turn will have a direct impact on business. Hence, it is highly critical that an employee has an enriching experience at the workplace to be productively engaged and contribute to business and his own personal and professional growth.
What do you think an agile workplace of the future would look like?
I believe agile workplaces of the future will:
- Be more Lucid
- Make use of ‘Scrum framework’ to drive rapid innovation and delivery or use of KANBAN Board to manage a constant flow of daily tasks rather than regular meeting and updates discussion.
- Be more agile and people-centric
- Foster a culture promoting innovation, experimentation and supporting learning
- Be a demographically spread team
- Have more technological interventions (Phygital workspaces – i.e; Physical & Digital workspaces)