In April 2021, the New York Times reported that the dominant emotion post-pandemic was “languishing,” -- a feeling of “stagnation and emptiness” that can be better summarized simply as “blah.”
This is unsurprising. Despite vaccinations and things returning to “normal”, people have lived through a traumatic, life-altering experience. The same goes for work -- those who were fortunate enough to have job security were expected to work through a pandemic and muddle through feelings of isolation, anxiety, and defeat.
In turn, employee well-being has taken a hit. A recent Gartner HR survey found more than ¼ of the workforce described itself as “depressed” as a result of the pandemic. The same survey revealed that only about half of employees agreed that their manager fully understood their problems and needs.
Just because things are slowly returning to normal doesn’t mean the residual effects of languish aren’t there.
Managers: as you lead your teams forward post-pandemic, now is the time to prioritize employee recognition and well-being. Thanks to technology, you can better connect with your people to provide personalized support and cultivate a feeling of security in adjusting to the new normals. Here’s how.
5 Ways Technology Can Help Cultivate a Better Employee Experience Through Recognition and Well-Being
1. Facilitate stronger connection, even from afar
One of the biggest challenges spurred by COVID-19 was adjusting to remote work. While working from home certainly has its benefits, it can be isolating and tough to foster connection amongst teams when everyone is out of office, physically separated.
Still, many companies have recognized the perks that come from working from home and plan on continuing to do so post-pandemic in either a fully remote or hybrid setting. To accommodate for physical separation and mitigate feelings of loneliness, managers need to double down on connecting with their people.
Luckily, technology can help. As we learned from the Zoom zeitgeist, modern technology can facilitate personal connection from afar to ensure a more personable, authentic employee experience for everyone. With employee well-being tools and a platform like ChartHop, managers can host consistent, personal meetings with their people, no matter where they might be working from.
This goes beyond scheduling 30 minutes a week to Zoom and chat. With ChartHop, employees and managers can fill out customizable 1:1 forms to set an agenda, record feedback, and track progress. Each week, both parties can come prepared to have deeper, more meaningful conversations as opposed to basic weekly status updates. Managers are armed with a richer sense of what their employees are working towards, what roadblocks might be hindering success, and where they need to provide support -- all components of an exceptional employee experience.
Sample 1:1 employees can fill out before meeting with their manager.
2. Personalize employee well-being for your whole team
Per the same Gartner report, less than half of employees (46%) felt that their organization’s well-being programs were personalized to meet their needs. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to employee well-being: each and every person is different and brings unique cultures, experiences, communication preferences, and work styles to an organization. This means, at some level, employee well-being needs to be personalized.
With technology like ChartHop designed to enhance employee experience, managers can manage their people as individuals and meet them where they are. For example, each new employee onboarded on the ChartHop platform can fill out a personalized “About Me” section complete with core demographic information, like gender, pronouns, and ethnicity. But the richness of these profiles goes beyond demographics -- employees can elaborate on fields such as working styles, time zones, personality types, communication preferences, and more.
Sample ChartHop Profile for a CEO with an About Me section.
In turn, managers are armed to tailor their management styles to meet their people’s needs. For instance, say an employee is working on the West coast and is feeling burnt out lately as they feel pressured to keep up with East coast hours. As a manager, you can look at their profile to see their time-zone/work preferences to establish better boundaries and ensure they’re working the same amount of hours regardless of their location, thus preventing burnout down the road.
Yes, these “About Me” profiles are also a great way to welcome new employees to an organization and ensure inclusivity across the team. And, they’re an even better way to get to know your people on a human, individualized basis, so you can customize support as needed.
3. Prioritize employee recognition
With most teams working from home or having limits to how many people can be in the office at the same time, it’s essential to continue building a sense of community and culture. Limited face time also means it’s vital to recognize employee recognition when wins can easily fall off the radar.
Luckily, you don’t need to be in person to celebrate your employee’s achievements. With ChartHop, everyone can easily recognize each other’s wins to foster community and build a stronger team bond from anywhere.
In ChartHop’s platform, employees can show their appreciation for their colleagues with just a few clicks. Using the Shoutout Bundle, employees can write long-form “shoutouts” that funnel directly into the overall org chart, allowing everyone to see individual and team-related acknowledgments in one spot.
If you have Slack, even better. The Shoutout feature can integrate directly into the Slack channel of your choice to automatically update everyone when praise or encouragement has been given. This way, everyone can celebrate their colleagues' successes and feel like they’re part of something bigger. Even the smallest act of kindness or encouragement can go a long way -- use technology to prioritize employee recognition at all levels to boost morale, motivate workers, and remind people that working together drives better results.
ChartHop's Shoutout Bundle can send shoutouts directly to Slack to maximize engagement.
4. Empower your people
Yes, part of management is supporting and advocating for your employees. But being a manager is also knowing when to step back to give people autonomy and ownership, as these are both science-backed contributors to employee well-being and job satisfaction. Whether it’s an employee experience platform or a People Analytics platform like ChartHop, technology should be designed to empower your people on all fronts.
Operationally, this means they have the tools they need to work smarter, not harder. Between Zoom, Google Hangouts, Slack, and other apps, your employees don’t need another platform -- they need one to condense it all. When integrated with other HRIS stacks, ChartHop serves as a robust self-serve platform that houses everything your people need to do their jobs in just a few glances and clicks.
A platform like ChartHop also empowers people to own their growth and professional development. From personalized OKRs and KPIs, to upskilling plans, everything performance-related is housed in one, secure place that drives accessibility and accountability. Managers: you’re there to support your people when they need it. With ChartHop, your employees have the tools they need to pave the way.
Sample Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) visualized on the ChartHop Org Chart.
5. Collect experience-related insights to drive action
Finally, your people should be empowered to contribute to the bigger picture and have their voices heard. A People Analytics platform like ChartHop makes employee surveying easy, allowing your people to share anonymous, meaningful feedback on core initiatives, like engagement, DEI, and company culture. No more bureaucratic, blind decision-making -- your people have a voice they want heard, and technology can help you listen.
As we mentioned, part of being a manager means advocating for your people and driving change. Especially if there are employee well-being issues or glaring red flags, like burnout, disengagement, and turnover, you need the tools to uncover insights and take action.
With ChartHop, managers have access to seamlessly consolidated data in a secure place, making it easy to slice-and-dice team datasets and create custom reports. Such robust reporting can help drive meaningful change around the employee experience on all fronts including DEI, engagement, compensation, and performance.
It can also help uncover less conspicuous issues that might be affecting underrepresented or marginalized groups across the organization as a whole. 1:1s are very intimate, and sometimes issues aren’t brought up by employees in such a setting. With help from HR and other business leaders, managers can analyze organizational data to uncover trends that might be negatively impacting employee experience.
Sample Data Sheet visualization of engagement, performance and demographic data.
For example, maybe leaders have found that productivity levels across working parents are down compared to their childless colleagues. While an individual working parent on a manager’s team hasn’t broached the issue and seems to be engaged with their work, it’s possible that they privately share these sentiments and would like additional support.
Anecdotal feedback can only go so far, especially when sensitive topics aren’t necessarily being surfaced face-to-face. Fortunately, an ultra-rich trove of people data accessible to managers can help managers identify insights and take action.
An Exceptional Employee Experience is a Few Clicks Away
After 16 months of languishing, it’s time to look to a new future, especially in the workplace.
As we approach a new normal, the residual effects on employee well-being may linger. Change won’t happen overnight, but a proactive approach that champions connection, recognition, inclusivity, and empowerment is an excellent first step to an exceptional employee experience.