Leaders and managers at all levels of business have seen more changes to their roles over the past two years than they did during the last decade. Today leadership has a dual purpose: to drive business growth and invest in their employees’ experience.
With eighty one percent of Canadian employees feeling burn out right now, according to data collected by Ceridian, a positive employee experience is not a nice to have, it’s essential.
Engaged employees mean higher productivity, better retention and happy customers, which leads to better business outcomes. That’s a win for everyone. To achieve this, businesses need to understand who their people are, what they need, and how they can meet those needs.
All Managers Need to Be Connectors
Employees are craving connection after being apart through the pandemic, but they also want to retain flexibility in how they work. Managers therefore have a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between employee needs and employer policies – supporting employees in their personal as well as professional lives, paving the way for better work-life balance and career growth.
The first step is recognizing that employees have unique constraints. Every member of a team has a different home environment. Some have children. Some don’t. Some have private home offices. Some take meetings in a busy kitchen. Some may have greater responsibilities outside of work.
Forcing all employees to work in a certain way or be in the office at specific times can lead to employee disengagement and resentment. At Salesforce, we haven’t put in place office mandates. We need to move on from the “where” we work and focus on how we can create exceptional employee experiences wherever we are.
By leading with flexibility and giving employees choice, we can deepen engagement, drive productivity and build a more inclusive workforce.
Managers should be recognized and listened to as the main connection point to the company for many employees, and a critical retention and performance indicator. During the pandemic, Salesforce employees cited managers as their #1 trusted source of information for the first time.
Technology As An Enabler Of Culture
We know that when technology is well-integrated with an organization’s culture, employee engagement goes up and attrition goes down.
And whilst we can survive — and thrive — without an office, we cannot exist without the tech we rely on for work. According to Salesforce’s MuleSoft 2022 IT Leaders Pulse Report, four out of five respondents agree that improved customer-facing (86%) and employee (85%) technologies are critical for their organization to compete.
With the right collaborative tools we can make day-to-day work more efficient and more enjoyable. Accelerating connections across teams, regions and time zones, streamlining administrative tasks, curating and sharing documentation with time-saving automations are just some of the ways companies are unlocking productivity from anywhere.
This is why Slack introduced Slack canvas, a new surface where teams can create, organize, and share essential information.
Just like most customers say that the experiences they have with an organization are as important as the products and services they provide, employees too seek people-centric experiences.
Salesforce Canada’s latest Digital Skills Index found that 81 per cent of Canadians say they don’t have the resources to learn the digital skills required by businesses today, and 86 per cent say they are not prepared to meet the digital skills requirements of the future.
Amid the increasing digital skills gaps and ‘Great Resignation’ trend, for companies to continue evolving and improving their Digital HQ they must ensure they are investing in and attracting the right IT professionals.
According to Salesforce’s MuleSoft 2022 IT Leaders Pulse survey of 1,000 senior IT leaders, 98% of respondents say the ‘Great Resignation’ has created skills gaps in their organization’s IT function, primarily within IT and solutions architecture (60%), and cloud and infrastructure management (45%).
To fill roles, IT leaders must look to broader, company-wide process improvements, through automation, that foster innovation, enhance user experiences, and drive efficient growth.
Employee Experience is Not a One Time Fix
Flexibility and collaboration are growing markers of driving engagement and retention. Yet the ‘quiet’ withdrawal trend shows that employee experience is not a one time fix.
Companies must continually listen and adapt to ensure they are meeting the needs of their people. By making the employee experience more simple and efficient, they can prevent disengagement and increase productivity, which directly benefits a company’s bottom line.
The sooner businesses recognize this and equip their managers with the skills and technology they need, the sooner they’ll reap the benefits.
Margaret Stuart is Country Manager at Salesforce Canada.