Great employee experience is necessary to steer the economic downturn

Ongoing geo-political conflicts, rising inflation, and the renewed focus on cost efficiency have concerned many employees over the past year. While the market conditions are predicted to improve in 2024, employees still harbor concerns about potential budget cuts and an uncertain future. A recent study by the ADP Research Institute found that nearly four in ten employees aren’t secure in their positions at work. This is perhaps why employees in India flagged higher levels of workplace stress. 

Faced with increased pressures from multiple fronts, companies also face the risk of higher attrition. In fact, 86% of employees in India polled by Harappa plan to quit in the next 6 months. Leaders and managers, too, are in a tough spot as they work to mitigate the risk of attrition in the foreseeable future. And the case for creating great employee experiences is strong. Globally, engaged employees bring in 43% more revenue. Simply put, investing in EX is good for business, and businesses need to pay attention to it. Here are some best practices that can elevate your employees’ experiences. 

A data-backed approach to the employee lifecycle

Employee feedback is a treasure trove of insights, and businesses need to ensure they’re capturing them in a timely and effective way that leads to actual outcomes for employees. A data-driven approach to employee experience allows companies to be more proactive in creating better employee experiences. Employee data provides insights that the HR teams can share with the leadership. Such figures allow for the creation of employee-focused initiatives and effective budget and resource allocation. 

For example, AI-powered reporting and analytics are great for better collaboration among internal teams, helping organizations identify their strengths and areas of improvement. AI offers the right context based on intent, language detection, and sentiment analysis, ensuring employee issues are addressed quickly. It breaks down silos, allowing for strategies to improve collaboration across departments, and a better understanding of the employee lifecycle. 

Improving EX isn’t just about improving productivity. It’s also about ensuring employees feel like valuable contributors to the company, and a data-driven approach helps arm leaders with the insights to make actionable change. 

Using AI to improve EX

Embracing technological advancements can lead to better business outcomes and a healthier workspace. In the AI age, businesses can leverage AI-powered solutions to deliver smooth employee experiences. Such technologies offer fast and efficient support and automate mundane and repetitive processes, providing employees the time to work on meaningful, business-critical tasks. 

For example, AI-powered bots with pre-trained intents provide intelligent, automated service to enhance EX. AI can also analyze large amounts of historical data to identify and automate recurring tasks. With generative AI, employees can get chatbot support at any time and receive instant summaries of past interactions, perfect replies, and suggested help center articles for them to review without having to draft them from scratch. AI ultimately ramps up productivity and collaboration across departments, helping companies identify areas of opportunity and continuously improve EX.  

The AI landscape is changing quickly, and there is much interest in generative AI. While AI holds significant promise to transform internal teams and processes, businesses need to apply AI thoughtfully and ensure teams are empowered to adopt it because employees are now concerned with the AI skills gap. In India, 73% of employees say there is a skill gap within their IT teams regarding AI technologies. 

Businesses in India must ensure that investments in EX take into consideration the business-critical goals it serves and that necessary training is provided. If employees need help to adopt new and emerging AI technologies, it would be counterproductive to meet business goals. 

Foster continuous development and training

On-the-job training is an important step in the onboarding process, but it shouldn’t stop there. Choosing the right processes and technologies that aid training lets employees grow and advance their careers, which is important for creating better employee experiences. 

Great ways to facilitate learning and development include creating online resources for employee training, AI-powered EX technologies, and mentorship. Organizations can segment lessons into specific training plans for different roles, so employees have a comprehensive path for growth. Mentorship programs within the organization can ensure better on-the-job training in an informal setting. AI-powered EX solutions can be great in helping employees learn on the go. By asking the right questions and using knowledge bases, employees can have frictionless training experiences. 

Focusing on EX opens up new avenues of communication between employees and management, ensuring team members stay aligned on their goals. Employees feel valued and understood when they are confident that the organization is addressing their feedback and concerns. This is crucial, as a sense of replaceability can lead to dissatisfaction, ultimately impacting productivity.

An important aspect of creating better employee experiences is understanding their needs and implementing process changes whenever necessary. Creating and maintaining engaged employees is an ongoing process, and businesses must evaluate if any changes made had the desired effect. If not, it is beneficial to develop a new approach. 

When times are tough, businesses can get through without sacrificing employee experience. In fact, prioritizing employee experience would benefit the company greatly. It’s important to be thoughtful in rolling out technologies and internal processes to improve EX. With clear goals and a laser focus on creating a positive work environment, investing in EX can lead to positive business outcomes. In fact, 94% of CEOs worldwide link EX improvements to bottom-line success. When your employees feel valued, they will help care for the business. 

Vasudeva Rao Munnaluri is RVP India & SAARC at Zendesk.

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