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Exploring the Employee Experience: What Employees Want in 2021

According to new research, employees are looking for improvement in such areas as mental health support, company culture preservation, and productivity.

Across the globe, executive leaders are looking back on the unprecedented nature of 2020 and examining lessons to be learned for the new year. Much has changed, but what remains critical to business success is understanding the needs of the employee. According to new research, employees are looking for improvement in such areas as mental health support, company culture preservation, and productivity.

Human resources software and services company Ceridian, in partnership with Nielsen, conducted an online survey in August 2020, receiving 5,010 respondents across Canada, the U.S., UK, Australia, and New Zealand. It found that paramount to the employee experience this year was the employer response to COVID-19, with the majority (75%) reporting satisfaction with their employer’s response to the pandemic. This included manager support (74%) and clear and timely crisis communication (72%). However, less respondents reported positive results across the broader employee experience, including mental health support (64%), company culture preservation (58%), and productivity (55%).

Improve Employee Experience through Enhanced Company Culture and Holistic Support

Put simply, company culture consists of the shared values, attributes and characteristics of an organization. Prioritizing clear values, connection and purpose should be top of mind for leaders wanting to enhance their company culture going into 2021. Executive leaders can also enhance company culture by prioritizing their responsibility to support their employees’ holistic needs. According to Ceridian’s report, executive leaders have increased this responsibility from 35% pre-pandemic to 50%.

Employees’ holistic needs often include mental health and wellness requirements, which have stepped to the front of the line as the global pandemic has introduced new burdens to the world of work, and our personal lives. Whether conducting trainings on workplace psychological help or virtual meditation sessions, 2021 will continue to see a focus on employee mental health. Broader holistic needs include, according to the report, benefits policies, workplace flexibility and work-life balance. To better understand these needs going into 2021, employers can leverage technology and data with analytics and intelligence tools to address employee needs in a targeted and dynamic way.

Employee Sentiment Analysis as a Tool to Improve the Assignee Experience

One of the ways mobility professionals can better understand what employees need is to conduct employee sentiment analysis. At this year’s Global Workforce Symposium, one topic of exploration included sentiment analysis, defined as “the interpretation and categorization of emotions (e.g. positive, neutral and negative), tones, opinions and attitudes.” Sentiment analysis can serve as a strategic tool in creating positive experiences for the employee as they relocate while strengthening the attraction and retention of other candidates. To learn more about how to execute employee sentiment analysis, visit our learning portal for the full GWS presentation.

Build a Learning and Development (L&D) Strategy to Boost Productivity

Finally, executive leaders can enhance productivity by offering growth opportunities such as learning, development and skill-building. 77% of respondents said it’s important that their employer provides learning opportunities, which employers can identify through analytics that identify employee learning needs while understanding the impact of learning on business performance, connecting this further to broader company goals.

Even as COVID-19 reshapes in-demand skills, learning and development (L&D) remains a key strategy used by businesses and their leaders as they seek to engage and upskill their workforces going into 2021. For mobility professionals, Worldwide ERC® has built a robust Learning Portal and invested in LinkedIn Learning for premium Learning Portal subscribers. Visit: https://www.worldwideerc.org/learning for more information.

As we approach 2021 and continue to adapt to new ways of working, such insight into what employees need and want will be critical to strategic business planning. Considerations around company culture, holistic wellness and productivity may be front and center for the new year across critical industries around the world, including workforce mobility.

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