We’re headed into 2022 with new insights about what makes virtual and hybrid work for everyone. Whether you’re ready to overhaul your onboarding process for virtual employees or permanently shift your work-from-home policies to accommodate parenting, these are the 10 things you can put on your to-do list to make a big impact on employee experience this year.
1. Survey Your Team
The new year is the perfect time to check in with your team. Research shows that most companies don’t have a strong sense of their employees’ day-to-day experiences.
In fact, according to Gartner, as many as 29% of employees feel that HR doesn’t understand their needs. What’s worse, employees are skeptical of sentiment surveys. “Surveys are great, but sometimes we are limited by only asking questions that HR thinks are important,” one HR employee responded to the Gartner survey.
It’s time to change your approach to the employee survey in 2022:
- Ask your team to weigh in more frequently, whether that’s during an all-hands meeting or a quarterly sales meeting
- Design open-ended questions for more qualitative answers
- Have employees rank priorities or needs
Most importantly, make a plan for how you will use the results of your survey—and be transparent. You can only improve employee experience if you take measures to address real problems and stay accountable to your team every step of the way.
2. Invest in Technology
When employees don’t have the tools they need to get the job done, overall job satisfaction dips. According to Future Forum, companies that adequately financed the switch to remote work during the pandemic had employees who were 54% more productive and 2x more likely to feel a sense of belonging.
In 2022, we’ll still be navigating hybrid work policies. But now we have more experience with the realities of hybrid work to draw from as we re-assess the technology needs of our team. Important questions to ask include:
- Do all of your employees have the tools they need to do their job well—from anywhere?
- How can you apply what you learned in 2021 to onboarding new employees?
- How can you use existing tools, like your virtual event software, to increase a sense of belonging and purpose?
Whether you’re designing brick-and-mortar spaces for team collaboration or sending out company-owned laptops for remote employees, tech investments will lead to increased productivity, satisfaction, and engagement.
3. Support New Hires
We’ll still be navigating “The Great Resignation” throughout the new year. With talent at a premium, upgrading your onboarding process will pay off in dividends.
While it’s important to highlight company culture and values during onboarding, new hires also need support:
- Understanding their role and responsibilities
- Making relationships with team members in their own and other departments
- Answering questions
- Navigating new company technology
- Feeling empowered within their role
The list goes on! And the need for support doesn't end after the first week or month. Especially when you're working virtually, you'll have to work harder to communicate with new hires via chat, video, or email—whether that's to provide meaningful feedback or just check in.
By returning to these support areas multiple times within the first year, you'll improve employee retention and engagement.
4. Consider the Needs of Parents
Without standard parental leave in the U.S., the needs of working parents are often swept under the rug. According to McKinsey, parents are at greater risk of leaving their jobs right now, due to high burn-out rates and the need for increased flexibility.
At its heart, this is also a DEI issue—more BIPOC parents are considering leaving the workplace than white parents. If you want to ensure that your organization stays inclusive, parenting policies will require your attention next year.
Thankfully, virtual and hybrid work have shown us how to better accommodate parents in 2022. To be proactive, competitive, and equitable on an issue that touches the lives of your team, consider:
- Implementing paid family leave for new parents
- Providing adequate internal support as new parents transition to leave
- Offering flexible working hours
- Acknowledging and respecting caring duties
- Providing stipends for child care
Your policies will affect how well working parents can tackle their jobs and still feel like part of the team. If you want to improve your employee experience, reducing the stress of parents is a great place to start.
5. Help Employees Grow
Leaders in human resources have identified career growth and professional learning as a top trend for job seekers heading into 2022. In fact, LinkedIn recently discovered that opportunities to learn and grow rocketed to the top of company culture drivers in 2020, beating out values like “belonging” and “collaboration.”
With "The Great Resignation" in full swing, you can't afford to lose top talent. Thankfully, the right virtual event software can support more engaging management training or upskilling sessions. With robust polling, graphic overlays, and real-time Q&A on the virtual stage, you can provide employees with the skills they need to get ahead.
Growth and learning happens in day-to-day work experiences, too. The more your managers support employees’ desire to learn and improve with feedback, resources, and complex projects, the more engaged and satisfied your employees will be next year.
6. Build Better Relationships
Last year, many companies started to change their approach to the physical office. By building more spaces for collaboration, rather than independent work, the office place can facilitate the one-to-one connections we miss during virtual and hybrid work.
We expect these trends to continue into 2022 and beyond, which means leaders will still be asked to help employees make connections with one another online. Here are a few tips for creating virtual community:
- Facilitating introductions for new team members
- Encouraging virtual open office hours
- Creating Slack channels devoted to water cooler chats or social clubs
- Providing your teams with more autonomy in virtual event watch rooms or DMs
From a company-wide standpoint, leaders can build better relationships with the entire team during all-hands meetings. By clearly communicating goals, celebrating milestones, and fielding questions in real time, your team will feel more connected than ever to leadership—and to your company’s business goals for 2022.
7. Empower Your Workers
Amidst fears that workers would take advantage of remote and hybrid work, some managers became micromanagers. The problem is persistent enough that Gartner recently released a guide to avoiding micromanagement during remote work.
Because it leads to lower engagement, productivity, and engagement, it’s time to ditch excessive check-ins for employee empowerment and autonomy. In virtual and hybrid work, this doesn’t necessarily mean taking a “hands-off” approach. Instead, it means managers must:
- Ask questions about employee needs, passions, and engagement
- Provide resources for collaboration and creative problem solving
- Make room for employee ideas and feedback
- Build trust with individual employees and among team members
When employees feel empowered to pursue their work with more freedom and agency, your whole team benefits—and your company culture shifts for the better.
8. Shower Your Team with Praise
Lack of recognition drives employees from their positions at record rates. In fact, a major survey conducted by McKinsey shows that “The Great Resignation” is being driven by employees who feel their managers and their company don’t value their contributions to the team.
In order to improve your employee experience next year, build recognition into your team’s day-to-day.
- Spotlight outstanding contributions on your virtual stage during an all-hands meeting
- Provide positive feedback during team meetings or one-on-ones
- Build a culture of team feedback by encouraging colleagues to shout out the team members who have done a great job
- Reward great work with bonuses, paid time off, or other incentives
The more your team understands how their role contributes to the company, the more valued and engaged they’ll be as you kick off a new year of business goals.
9. Over-Communicate. No, Really!
Your team craves clarity. Confusion around roles and responsibilities or even a company transition can lead to uncertainty and lack of productivity. So when it comes to company-wide communication, the more you share, document, and confirm—the better!
All-hands meetings, in particular, are a great way to set a high bar for communication and transparency. Whether you’re reviewing quarterly sales goals or rallying the team ahead of your next work sprint, use all the tools in your virtual event toolkit to eliminate confusion and build excitement.
- Graphic overlays quickly communicate major goals or milestones
- Real-time polls identify outlying questions or concerns from your team
- Live Q&A features give everyone a chance to bring questions to leadership
- Recording your meetings helps deliver content asynchronously to the whole company
Give your team more clarity and purpose in 2022 to improve your employee experience and boost engagement across the board.
10. Put Your Values Out There
Values matter to your team. As many as 70% of employees feel that their sense of purpose is defined by work. That means it’s crucial for companies to help employees feel more connected to a shared mission or values. In fact, when employees feel their role has a purpose, they’re more engaged—and productive.
While corporate responsibility is important, today’s workers are thinking beyond core values like “sustainability”or “community engagement.” They’re also thinking about your company culture as a whole—and how their work supports a culture they can believe in.
Share your values regularly, and tie specific actions to them. If you value collaboration, how can you create or celebrate moments of collaboration throughout the year, whether that’s during an all-hands meeting or on Slack?
Finding ways to enact company values builds overall culture—and demonstrates to your team that these values are an important part of getting work done, together.
To retain top talent and improve belonging in another year of virtual and hybrid work, invest in a better employee experience. Take the time to thoughtfully survey your teams about their day-to-day needs and experiences, so you know exactly what you can improve in 2022.
With built-in tools, you can use virtual meeting software to foster belonging, communicate major business goals, and reward hard-working employees. After all, the more you do to keep your team happy, engaged, and productive, the better your employee experience will be.