The events of 2021 have activated a debate on workplace culture, resilience, leadership and well-being. These topics are often treated as very detached and unrelated elements, and sometimes they emerge as opinions that depend on the moment and the person.
Discussions show that organizational culture is imagined as emerging organically. The discussions on the HR side seem to be dominated by the definition of hybrid work and the rules of new-style work. Building a holistic employee experience seems to have been completely forgotten.
In December I noticed postings on social media celebrating the giving of extra holidays, since “it’s been such a grueling year and we are all knackered”. An update from one company management team stated that “now it is not about working hard and stressing towards the end of the year, but rather enjoying good food and the company of your loved ones”. At the time the update came out, there were still a couple of weeks left before the Christmas holiday.
These discussions left me slightly confused. I wondered if it was a sign of a good leader to give extra days off and encourage employees not to work. Quite frankly, I don’t think so.
At ID BBN, the organization has always thrived by putting people first. Our standards are high, but we strive to ensure that no one’s workload is unreasonable – work is balanced between team members if necessary. With the help of resource meetings and active hands-on management, we ensure that motivation is maintained and work can be done – even two weeks before Christmas.
Employee experience development project
During the exceptional circumstances we have, we have experienced recently, we have paid more attention to the well-being of our staff. In the fall of 2021, we launched an Employee Experience development project that, as the name implies, focuses on employees and their needs.
The development project has four components: leadership, development, recognition and culture.
We want to create policies that:
- are fair to everyone
- enable growth at both personal and corporate levels
- take people into consideration
- reward success
- build on an open and transparent approach
In developing a holistic employee experience, we expect employees to be responsible for their behaviour, the way they live and the development of their abilities. The company has a responsibility to provide employees with a healthy workplace that supports development, training, planning, measures tasks correctly, and encourages community spirit. Jobs and job descriptions are important, but so are interpersonal relationships. Positive encounters and community support at work are important pillars of life.
An employer image does not exist without employee experience. Like brands, employer images are built in the eyes of viewers – in this case, from the experiences of employees.
The spice of life
Communality and people are the spice of life, and in these times they have become a real luxury. We noticed that when we had a memorable Christmas party in early December. You got in if you had a COVID passport and a negative test result. There was plenty of food, drink, music, entertainment and even an awards ceremony, but the thing that made the occasion a celebration was the ability to spend time under the same roof – smiling, laughing and having fun together, even having some serious discussions – with everyone feeling like they’re part of the team.
Some people met their colleagues face to face for the first time, even though we have been working together for months. The experience of physical togetherness was fantastic – it will keep us going for a long time.
Thus, on the eve of the turn of the year, I want to make a promise to all our employees: we’ll make some serious investments in the employee experience. We’ll build a holistic model of well-being that includes work-life balance, supporting a respectful and fair culture, involving staff in job development, training staff, improving skills and maintaining a positive and responsible corporate culture.
I can’t promise extra days off or easy weeks simply because we have plenty of work to do. However, I can promise that when a company succeeds, the success will also be shared with the staff.
2022 is ahead of us and it’s going to be an amazing year. Let’s enjoy it together!