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Empathy, communication carry the media employee experience post-pandemic

By Amit Das

Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd. (The Times Group)

Mumbai, India

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If you want to have an edge as an employer going forward, make sure you get the employee experience formula right this year. It is time to listen and act.

2020 was a watershed moment in history, and it changed the world forever. It really was the perfect storm for businesses, and the pandemic accelerated one of the biggest business transformations in decades.

Showing care for employees remains a high priority for companies coming out of 2020.
Showing care for employees remains a high priority for companies coming out of 2020.

A few key things became prominent in 2020 that will continue to hold strong ground this year as well. While organisations understood the criticality of being able to adapt and find opportunities in the midst of chaos, one thing that really stood out was the fact their people were their most important assets in this journey of recovering, reinventing, and reimagining themselves.

While the first immediate reaction for organisations was to ensure they keep their businesses up and running, the second most important factor was ensuring the workforce supported them in this endeavour. Many businesses were not being able to cope with the new world, and they had to make some tough people-related decisions in 2020, which included large-scale layoffs and furloughs.

But on the brighter side, organisations also renewed their focus on engaging more with their employees and creating an ideal employee experience in this new hybrid work model.

As employees adjusted to virtual ways of working, organisations had to relook at how they could deliver an employee experience that was consistent, empathetic, and, most importantly, made work happy despite the absence of a happy workplace in the brick-and-mortar format. According to experts, listening to employees (and hearing and acting) was by far the most important business practice. This goes back to the fundamental idea that employees are a company’s top asset!

Along with health and safety, employee well-being and mental health were among the most talked about aspects of the workplace. This is how empathy emerged as the most important quality for anyone to have. How do you connect with your people and understand what they are going through? How do you understand their pain points and ensure those are taken care of when crafting an ideal experience for them? When it comes to people, emotions play a very important role!

It is ironic that it took a global health crisis for business and HR leaders to realise that when people don’t feel safe, supported, or emotionally secure, they simply cannot do their jobs. The pandemic was an eye-opener that paved the way for massive business transformations. And this focus on people will continue through 2021 as well.

Communication, transparency, empathy, and authenticity were the keywords that helped leaders sail through such a tough year. Talented leaders had to make sure employees had the appropriate digital and collaboration tools and support they needed to stay connected, motivated, and productive. It was also crucial to enable transparency, community, and openness within teams. The importance of building strong team dynamics and a strong company culture while working remotely also became a key differentiator for them.

It is interesting to note organisations now realise that their people are the ones who will help them achieve what they have set out in their mission. And, if you want to ensure you have the right people in your journey, make sure you listen and act!

About Amit Das

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