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Transform to perform: The benefits of reimagining your employee experience

No going ‘back to normal’ – why you need to focus on the employee experience (EX)

Future of Work|Talent
COVID 19 Coronavirus

By Lucy Cooper | September 29, 2020

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how and where we work and even the very nature of what we do.

What’s also clear is that there is no going ‘back to normal’ once the pandemic is over, with considerable shifts in both consumer and employee expectations.

Working remotely is here to stay for a host of industries and sectors and some companies, such as Twitter and Square, have announced their people can continue to work from home indefinitely. In a recent Willis Towers Watson study, employers estimated that, post-COVID, they will have five times as many employees working from home, compared to last year.

The attraction of remote working is also borne out by employee sentiment – in our most recent employee opinion survey, 73% of respondents said they’d prefer not to return to the office. Tellingly, they also report a more positive employee experience compared to employees working from company locations.

This raises the question of the very need for and purpose of the office, upending a paradigm that has been in place since the industrial revolution. It presents both a challenge and an exciting opportunity for your organisation to learn from this experience and reimagine the workplace under new assumptions.

Getting the balance right

How should you go about transforming the workplace as your business resets? With no models out there on how to respond to a global pandemic and the need to develop a post-COVID playbook in real time, there are key elements you should consider as your organisation adapts, pivots, grows and shrinks.

In making the shift from dealing with the immediate crisis to restoring stability, the big challenge will be making decisions that position your organisation for sustainable growth while ensuring a positive employee experience (EX). It requires a human-centric approach, recognising that asking employees to work in new environments, think in new ways and behave differently will have a significant impact on the EX.

Decisions you make in turbulent times send signals to employees, consumers and investors. Willis Towers Watson is drawing on our High Performance Employee Experience (HPEX) framework for this blog series “Transform to perform: The benefits of reimagining your employee experience” to help you explore how your organisation can transform in a way that puts the EX at the centre. We’ll cover lessons from high performing organisations and change masters who excel during times of transformation, explore how jobs can be redesigned to both enhance the EX and improve productivity and, as jobs and the workplace change, consider the implications for total rewards.

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