Insights Discussion: Supporting Employee Needs on the Changing Road Ahead [VIDEO & RECAP]

By Perceptyx - May 21, 2020

For this week's Perceptyx Insights and Research discussion, we focused our discussion on supporting employee needs throughout the ever-changing road forward. As restrictions around COVID-19 are slowly lifting, employees are now finding themselves in an unfamiliar and uncertain situation, concerned with health and safety more than ever. Employers are hungry for the data necessary to see the way forward in supporting the needs of employees as they transition to returning to work.

Brittany Head, PhD, Senior Consultant with Perceptyx, discussed this topic with four leaders of HR functions across major enterprises: Noa Besner, Sr. Director of Talent Development at NBCUniversal; Lauren Mutz, Director of Employee Engagement at BAYADA Home Health Care; Corey Stevens, Director of Program Management at WPP; and Meghan O’Brien, People Consultant with S&P Global.

Corey Stevens of WPP captured the spirit of the discussion best by saying “It’s important for organizations to understand that there is no cookie-cutter way to address all employees.” Indeed, the way your organization responds to employees will be unique, and must be aligned with what your employees are telling you. Continuous employee feedback drives the meaningful conversations across your organization.

Ongoing feedback drives meaningful messages from senior leadership.

Lauren Mutz shared how BAYADA CEO, David Baiada, has used continuous feedback from BAYADA’s “We Heard You” employee listening program to inform semi-weekly town hall meetings with employees, emphasizing two key messages: this is what we heard from you, and this is what we’re doing about it. The messages each week will be different according to the ever changing needs of the workforce.

NBCUniversal’s employee feedback program has been essential in driving unity between the different brands and businesses that make up the organization during this time of uncertainty. Noa Besner described how employee feedback has shown the importance in pride as a strong driver of employee experiences, and how the organization has used this data to craft meaningful messages of pride to all employees. Executive producer and reality TV luminary Andy Cohen has even lent his voice to NBCUniversal’s messaging to employees.

Build confidence in your people

The necessity for building confidence in your employees looks different as we navigate COVID-19. Employees are now concerned about health, safety, and the security of their jobs. Ambiguity drives stress and stress does not make for a pleasant employee experience. It is important to listen to your employees to understand the aspects of their experience where there is doubt or uncertainty and use your data to instill confidence in the future and in efforts being made to look after employee safety and well-being.

When speaking about how to communicate to new employees who have joined S&P since January 2020, Meghan O’Brian touted the benefits of listening to the needs of those going through the onboarding process and ensuring they feel confident in their decision to join the company by keeping them well informed. 

“Listen First. Then Build.”

O’Brien also remarked, “All of us are finding ourselves a little bit busier than normal in this new working environment.” True. But while we all find ourselves adapting to the necessity of being more agile and taking on new roles and responsibilities, it is important to build new and evolving programs for employees on a foundation of continuous listening and ongoing understanding of needs.

Towards the end of the discussion, our panelists agreed on the importance of taking an attitude of empathy in addressing employee concerns, never making assumptions, and rather than being reactionary, carefully understanding the needs of employees before building large-scale interventions to address these needs. According to Lauren Mutz with BAYEDA, “What’s going to make the difference for our employees’ experience is making sure what we do and what we build is founded on what people need, and it can change at the drop of a hat”.

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