HRE’s Number of the Day: Employee experience

64%: Percentage of HR leaders who are making employee experience a higher priority when planning for return to workplaces.

Employee experience has increasingly risen to the top of the priority list for HR leaders in recent years—and the coronavirus pandemic has only heightened its importance.

According to an April survey by Gartner, 64% of HR leaders surveyed are placing more emphasis now on employee experience than they were prior to COVID-19. In a statement by Gartner, the firm notes that employee experience is just as much a “potential landmine” for employers as health and safety.

“Employees who don’t feel safe and supported will be less engaged and less productive,” the company said. “Leading organizations are working to identify and manage the moments that matter most to employees upon reentry into the workplace.”

What it means to HR leaders

Employers can do that with “employee journey maps,” according to Gartner, which emphasize important moments such as the first day back and first in-person meeting.

“For the CHRO, architecting how employees experience returning to the physical workplace is critical, both to maintain employee safety and wellbeing and to drive critical business outcomes,” says Brian Kropp, chief of research for the Gartner HR practice.

Communicating candidly about risks—as the perception of safety is just as important as safety itself, Gartner says—can also drive employee experience, as can acknowledging employees’ non-work stress. “An organization may be open for business,” the company says, “but the employee experience is broader than what is inside the building. Continued disruptions in daily life will drain productivity. HR can open a dialogue by inviting employees to share specifics of their situation and equipping managers to respond.

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