To simplify processes, streamline tasks, and deliver truly outstanding employee experiences in 2021, many businesses are embracing powerful technological tools. From new software for employee onboarding, to the latest and greatest wellbeing apps and solutions – below, we take a look at the tools and techniques that are changing the face of employee experience (EX) as we know it…

Online onboarding and beyond

Following the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent widespread adoption of remote working, businesses have begun digitising their onboarding process – and it seems for many, the online onboarding experience is set to stay, whether you’re working from home or in the office. Whilst recruitment may not be on your radar right now, it’s likely that the way you welcome new starters to your business from now on will be vastly different, which is why it’s worth understanding how you can optimise the digitisation of this process in the future. Below, we explore a number of tools that businesses can use to maximise the success of their digital onboarding programs, streamline the process of welcoming new starters and improve day-to-day efficiencies once they’ve settled in.

Maximising connection in the online world

Video conferencing software will be vital in helping your new employees to foster meaningful connections with their colleagues during the remote onboarding process. It’s also a great way to introduce members of your team if they’re out of the office for business meetings. It’s therefore vital to ensure your employees have access to the right equipment to use this software to its full effect – which means laptops with functioning webcams and microphones.

The web and video conferencing category for business technology saw a 500% increase in buyer activity in 2020.[1]

It’s also important to put the right policies in place to ensure people stay connected. For example, all employees should have their cameras on in all meetings if they’re working remotely, and each member of your new hire’s team should book a one-to-one video call in the calendar so they can get to know their new colleague’s body language and personality. Virtual events such as quizzes, games and coffee meet ups are another great tool to introduce during the onboarding process, as they enable new employees to familiarise themselves with the brand and their colleagues in a truly immersive online experience.

Streamlining day-to-day tasks

Whether you want to simplify your new hire’s integration into your business, or you want to increase efficiency across your organisation, it’s a good idea to implement tools and techniques that help you to streamline your employees’ day-to-day activities. For example, you may want to invest in a job costing and project management solution which will help you to centralise project planning, schedule all employees work on a single platform, track the output of your workforce, and minimise your expenditure. Or if your budget is tight, you could manually review your existing workflows and then focus on optimising each process to cut down on wasted time and costs. The key is finding tools and techniques which help to minimise admin and free up more of your employees’ time to focus on business-critical tasks.

Enhancing every experience 

Beyond onboarding, there are a vast variety of new tools on the market that will empower your business to meet the ever-changing expectations of your workforce, and transform your employees’ experiences throughout their time with your business. Here are some of the key technologies that you may want to consider implementing to keep your workforce motivated and engaged, and make their working days as seamless as possible in 2021.

Workplace wellbeing

Increasingly, employees expect their employer to support their wellbeing – and this includes their physical, mental, emotional and financial health. Fortunately, there are a number of fantastic platforms on the market that offer a holistic solution that covers all of this ground and more. These wellness apps typically provide mental, emotional, and financial support both online and over the phone, diet and exercise videos and educational articles, and connection with colleagues via an in-app social media platform. To reinforce your strategy, you could also send out regular business newsletters that highlight your EAP offering and encourage employees to get involved, and offer feedback. The key is to listen. Are they taking full advantage of everything on offer in your wellness package, or is there something they need which you don’t currently offer?

Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best at work.[2]

In an increasingly remote environment, with some adopting a hybrid model of office based and home working, many employees want greater flexibility with their working hours so they can spend more time with family, take longer breaks during the day, and generally gain more work-life balance. This is a great way to positively contribute to the wellbeing of your workforce, without investing in any new technologies. All you need to do is shift to an output-focused model. This means that so long as your employees complete their daily tasks, they are allowed more freedom to choose which times of the day they work.

Powering performance

Whether you adopt a feedback intervention platform or utilise free survey websites to gather key information on your employees’ output, with the latest technology, you can make performance management a real-time, continuous and integrated process. Simply keep track of your employees’ progress, discuss it during your one-to-one meetings and then continue this process indefinitely to create a cycle of expectation-setting and feedback. This will ensure both you and your workforce have a more accurate picture of their performance, and can continuously improve upon the quality and quantity of your output.

Revolutionising recognition

Whether your employees are working remotely or back in the office, it’s vital that your rewards and recognition programme does not fall by the wayside. Now more than ever before, your workforce needs to know that you value their contribution to the business, so they continue to drive the results you want to achieve in 2021. But how can you achieve this in the online world? Well, here’s what we recommend…

Make every day exceptional with an M&S Gift Card

At M&S Corporate Gifts, we want to help your business make 2021 a year to remember. That’s why we offer the perfect way to recognise and reward employees – no matter where they are. Our e-Gift cards and e-Codes can be sent electronically and can empower your employees with the freedom to choose the most meaningful gift for them from a huge range of luxury products online. From our activewear range to a new notepad, there really is something for everyone at M&S.

Find out how your business can motivate and inspire your employees in 2021 and beyond – simply contact 0330 0580 734, or email anna.leng@mands-corporategifts.co.uk today.

[1] https://www.uctoday.com/collaboration/video-conferencing/video-conferencing-statistics/
[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/nazbeheshti/2019/01/16/10-timely-statistics-about-the-connection-between-employee-engagement-and-wellness/?sh=a99bbbf22a03