Nacho is CEO of BairesDev, a leading nearshore technology solutions company, and General Partner of BDev Venturesa venture capital fund for B2B companies.
Although there is no official announcement about it, there is a palpable feeling that the end of the pandemic could be very close. The moment we’ve been waiting for over two years seems to be almost here, and with it comes an important question: What will things look like from now on?
I am someone who thinks that things will never be the same, as the pandemic was too big a disruption to imagine that we will easily reverse its effects. However, there are people who think that we can go back to how things were before the pandemic. Many business executives may be the most vocal among them, noting that they need employees to return to their offices to get back to “business as usual.”
However, his desire clashes with what a sizable portion of the workforce now wants, which is essentially to maintain some kind of flexible work arrangement. You have surely seen this debate countless times in the news. On the one hand, executives explain how they need to be tidied up in the office for their companies to be truly productive. On the other hand, employees say they will not return to the office, trying to somehow maintain their work-from-home arrangements.
The abyss that opened between the two positions seems impossible to bridge. Without a commitment from both sides, it is felt that this phenomenon will add to the multiple factors already fueling the “Great Resignation.” However, as problematic as that context is, I think it also offers a great opportunity for executives to revamp their operations by reimagining the experience of their (EX) employees.
Accept the new landscape
It is clear that the situation will not resolve itself if both sides stubbornly refuse to compromise. In the current situation, however, companies have the most to lose. As the Great Resignation has shown us, many employees have no problem leaving a company that doesn’t align with their aspirations.
Today, most employees want more than just a living wage. They are eager for purpose, human connection, growth, and a better work-life balance. A quick look at some of the most recent surveys clearly shows that employees are more likely to dismiss openings that don’t match what they think the job should be.
These aspirations are profoundly reshaping the business landscape to the point where EX has become crucial for businesses. Employee wishes, then, are the biggest hurdle for executives who want to return to the good old pre-pandemic ways.
Of course, there is a way forward in this context. Given that there will always be companies that better align with the aspirations of the workforce (offering hybrid work arrangements, flexible hours, personalized experiences, and motivating projects and goals), there is no alternative for reluctant executives but to accept that the way of working pre-pandemic won. I will not come back.
Ultimately, those executives will have to come to terms with changes in the business landscape, where the workforce is more active and purposeful and employees’ personal circumstances, beliefs, life stages and identities also play a role. Naturally, accepting this is the first step. Businesses in post-pandemic times will no doubt need to take a more active stance and prepare to better engage and attract that workforce. In other words, they will need to work on their EX.
Taking a deep look inside
Over the past decade, many companies have shifted their focus to improving their customer experience, seeking to deliver more sophisticated brand experiences to better meet customer needs. The current context calls for a similar approach, but this time, the focus should be on internal and EX teams.
If you’ve already gone through a customer experience renewal process, you know what I’m talking about. Basically, it’s about using technology-enhanced methodologies to collect data about your employees and their needs and aspirations. With that data, you can spot patterns and gain insights that can help you redefine your work environment and your entire EX.
That redefinition process will be different for every company, but I believe there are a number of steps that can help you establish a basic roadmap for the tasks ahead of you.
1. Adopt methodologies and technologies to understand the pain points and desires of the employees. The more granular the data, the better your analysis. Try to be as complete and detailed as possible.
2. Understand your employees’ travel. If you really want to understand your employees’ pain points, you’ll need to take a look at their entire journey with you, from onboarding to daily tasks and beyond. Also, you’ll need to understand the journeys of each role because they don’t necessarily look the same.
3. Make iterative changes to your EX. Once you have the complete picture of your current state of affairs, make any necessary adjustments to your employees’ journey. This may mean integrating new technologies, changing operating schemes, implementing new mindsets, and even changing your mission. Remember that these changes must be iterative, since you can’t expect to make a single transformation that sticks forever.
Before you dive into this EX renewal process, you will need to have the necessary buy-in from other executives and leaders within your organization. Without that, you’ll face added friction that can bring your efforts to a near halt.
The time to act is now
In the future, companies will need the best talent to thrive in this highly dynamic business environment that sees new challenges constantly emerging. The only way to do that is with a solid EX who takes into account the wishes of the workforce.
The time has come for that process to take place, so anyone who opposes it needs to reconsider their position and understand that a better EX can be beneficial not only for employees but also for companies that want to succeed in the after world. to the pandemic.
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