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HR Tech Conference Key Takeaways

Posted by: People Element

The HR Technology Conference was less than two weeks ago, but what was shared will continue to be top of mind for a long time. Below is a recap of some of the key insights discussed when it comes to employee experience, employee engagement, wellbeing, and communication.

Reimagining Employee Experience
HR industry analyst Josh Bersin kicked off the conference with his keynote session about the impact of the pandemic upon the HR technology market. Prior to the pandemic, the employee experience had to do with how to attract talent with perks and benefits. Whereas nowadays, ensuring safety and supporting productivity are key aspects to the employee experience, prompting a need for leaders to understand what things will impact these the most for employees.

Bersin goes on stating that 90% of companies have now implemented a work-at-home policy. This suggests how the line has been blurred between where the employee ends and the person begins, implying how we must define the employee experience to include all aspects of a person’s experience. The workplace is no longer limited to the office, but rather wherever the employee happens to be. The best HR tech will be that which can take into account how the employee of today is impacted by not only work, but life outside of work.

Changing How We Approach Employee Engagement
In the same vein of the employee experience being different, organizations’ approach to employee engagement also needs to change. Bersin points out that 40% of workers have new jobs, and new managers this year. Given this much change, leaders need to recognize this by allowing employees the agility to move into new roles and work across teams like never before.

To keep up with these changes, companies need continuous response-action platforms to provide engagement data in real-time to the right people to act on it quickly. Furthermore, companies will be seeking HR tools that focus on productivity, performance, simplicity, and resilience, in order to optimize the flow of work and improve team dynamics.

Supporting Employee Wellbeing
Later in the week we heard John Sumser, industry analyst with HRExaminer, discuss the role of HR in addressing workplace health and safety. He touched upon the issue of employee burnout and its impact on our mental health, describing how the loss of boundaries between life and work have taken a toll on wellbeing. He goes on to warn how HR leaders need to help with how employees deal with this reality, or risk the consequences affecting their work and behavior at work.

Sumser illustrated where we are in the timeline of psychological reaction to disaster, pointing out that recent improvements and recovery are what he calls the honeymoon period of a heroic response, and that we’re nearing a “predictable crash” before climbing back to recovery a second time.

Continue Communicating
With the shift to remote work, more employees will expect more communication. Lisa Buckingham of Lincoln Financial Group shared how they worked towards this with their employees by hosting virtual townhalls and conducting more frequent conversations. The outcome has been positive, leading to employees feeling a stronger connection with senior leadership and a greater sense of transparency.

Our major takeaway from the week is that by viewing the employee of today as an integration of work and life and understanding their challenges and unique needs, HR leaders and managers can better adapt to the changes in the employee experience and provide what’s needed to keep people engaged, productive, and safe.

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