22 Jan Why employee behavioural experience is key to your workplace strategy
As business look to the future, they should reflect on their success of navigating a challenging 2020 and the impacts this has had on employee behavioural experience.
With the vaccine rollout underway, the road to normality becomes a serious possibility. So we can soon start to make plans for the future but the first thing we need to understand is where precisely are we now? That’s why Ricoh undertook ‘The Conscious Workplace Survey and Report’. By surveying over 1,300 people across the UK, we have established a clear understanding of what workers in the UK have dealt with this year. This includes employees working both remotely and in the office ranging from frontline workers to c-suite managers.
The Conscious Workplace Report
Our Conscious Workplace Report uses survey data captured in September 2020. This was used to evaluate managers and workers’ experience to help identify their most significant challenges and overall employee behavioural experience. This, in turn, enabled us to highlight the opportunities we, as businesses, currently face as we plan our future.
Almost all the participants cited four common concerns:
- Happiness, motivation and productivity are significant challenges
- Existing office spaces are unsuitable for a post-COVID world
- Managers are struggling to introduce new processes and look after their employees
- New technology also caused concerns for managers over security issues and its inefficient use.
So, why does all this make employee behaviour experience such an important factor? Because every challenge facing organisations across the UK, in terms of productivity, process and wellbeing, centre around your people.
What are the challenges facing employees and managers?
We may have come a long way, but there are still many teething issues that affect our day-to-day lives. And managers and employees are on the front line of dealing with them.
Anything that changes in our life causes friction and stress. Relocation, remote working, changing power dynamics – these are all common occurrences across the country, but they’re major events which have occurred all at once. Then there are all the little things we used to take for granted whilst working in an office environment; such as conversations, micro-rewards, and collaboration ease. Now all replaced with digital imitations that sometimes don’t quite hit the mark.
Sudden changes to routines, environments and ways of working can have a big physiologically impact, which can ultimately change the employee behavioural experience, ultimately impacting wellbeing.
Meanwhile, for managers, there is an additional layer; their roles have changed drastically. Once they were focused on organisational objectives. Now they must pay much more significant consideration to their employees’ wellbeing – whilst still ensuring things get done. And this is all happening amidst huge societal change, with distressing news and uncertainty across the country.
Managing employee behavioural experience needs behavioural insight.
One of the most difficult things to replicate from our office days is social interaction – a critical human happiness requirement. It plays a huge part in peoples’ mental wellbeing. We’ve all come to understand the challenges with video conferencing, collaborating while working remotely and getting quick answers to questions you could once ask in person.
Your people can no longer easily enjoy ‘water cooler’ moments, share stories or discuss projects. And it’s much harder to receive constructive criticism, praise or positive feedback from managers. A key aspect of how we get happiness in the workplace.
Behavioural science can help bridge the gaps between your peoples’ difficulties with motivation, happiness and self-worth – both as individuals and within our teams – and a manager’s organisational challenges of the economy, productivity and process. Leading to a more positive employee behavioural experience.
How can a strategy centred around The Conscious Workplace help alleviate these issues?
Organisations have to look at how they can evolve agile working practices that cater to a blend of remote and physical workplace environments. And people are central to that. So put in place an employee behavioural experience strategy to fit a hybrid work style.
Technology is a great example of this. There are many fantastic options out there that can help your business transform to meet new challenges and opportunities. But you need to pick the ones that are right for your people, or your business will never see the full benefit. It would be best to consider how any new technology will affect your managers and your employees, and how you can help them integrate the new technology into their working lives and use it effectively.
When it comes to wellbeing, it’s important to understand that the position we are in now isn’t sustainable, whether we’re comfortable working from home or not. You need to be conscious of your people’s health, productivity and happiness, and ensure you’re making critical business decisions with their future in minds.
Coming into the office will become a choice enabling aspects of flexible working to be maintained. Therefore organisations have a positive choice to cater to their needs. Making them feel valued, enabling those shared social interactions, and keeping them safe.
Get this balance right to create a positive employee behavioural experience across the organisation.
What steps do organisations need to take moving forwards?
One of the key issues to address is the disparity between IT experiences at home and in the office. Many people have found working at home to be easy; they can rely on their own setup to connect with others. But when they return to the office, they have to rely on the IT support and infrastructure there, which may well be lacking.
It’s vital that organisations look to technology that enables a seamless transition between the office and home working. And the same is true for existing processes. Scanning, printing and documentation also have to be as easily available to a remote worker as it is in the office.
And when it comes to your people, your greatest resource for identifying what you need to do moving forwards is the people themselves. The cornerstone of The Conscious Workplace is continual interaction to seek a positive employee behavioural experience. Asking them how they are feeling, what difficulties they are having, and then finding and testing the solutions to those problems to find the right fit for your organisation.
Where can I go for more information?
To learn more about creating a conscious workplace, read our report – The Conscious Workplace.
Ricoh empowers digital workplaces by using innovative technologies and services, enabling individuals to work smarter. Our Work Together Anywhere webinar series is a great research destination for insights and to gain further understanding from experts.