The stories we hear about the post-pandemic ‘Great Resignation’ are hardly surprising. Following a period when many had more time to reflect and enabled by a new reality of hybrid working which is less bound by geography and working hours, a tide turnover is inevitable.

Statistics suggest there is truth in that narrative, however, to speak in terms of the average organization’s experience is to paper over a lot of nuance and diversity. Ask ten Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs), and you’d hear ten different stories, as industries, company cultures and workforces react in unique ways. Articles discussing the Great Resignation might not necessarily be offering the right insight. So the question is: How can good interventions be identified?

What our research shows

Understanding current employees’ opinions and needs is essential. NTT’s most recent Global Workplace Report found that 95% of the organizations are satisfied with their current employee experience capabilities – which should mean there’s a good level of employee understanding. However, we also directly polled employees about their bottom-up perspectives on the workplace. Fewer than two-thirds report being happy with their current employer. When near-universal satisfaction on the policy-making side is set against significant dissatisfaction on the policy-following side, it seems that many businesses have issues with communication and understanding their people.

Tuning in and listening

The focus should be on dialing into the needs of teams and individuals. Converting offices into more collaborative and interactive spaces, or redesigning benefits packages to be more inclusive of hybrid working colleagues, or introducing more flexible working tools might be positive steps a business needs. Without tuning into to the voice of the employee (or VoE), there’s no way to know.

Colleagues at the office

Converting offices into more collaborative and interactive spaces might be positive step that a business needs.

That phrase – voice of the employee – intentionally echoes voice of the customer (VoC) because so many of the methods businesses have cultivated for understanding their audience can equally be applied to their own employees. From surveys like Net Promoter Scores, to more directly quantifying habits by measuring how people use tools, CHROs can tap into a wealth of expertise in their businesses which can deliver insights into, and drive action from, VoE data.

The fact that just 39% of the organizations we surveyed have structured VoE programs – and only a third use standardized benchmarking methodologies like NPS – might explain the gap we found between employer and employee satisfaction levels. There’s also good reason to believe that listening to employees can, itself, positively impact on employee experience: less than 50% employees we polled said that their employer fully values their health and wellbeing, showing that interest can be an important first step to demonstrating care.

From will to action

Employee loyalty stems from a sense of belonging. What that belonging looks like and how it can be cultivated in a hybrid working world, is particular to different workforces – and will have changed by the events of recent years. We’ve never had more powerful tools to gather and analyze data on the employee experience, and there has never been a more important time to apply them. All it takes is the will and motivation to put them into action.

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