One of the ways to keep people connected is to deliver an integrated employee experience.
One of the ways to keep people connected is to deliver an integrated employee experience.

WATCH: Why employee engagement matters in the hybrid workplace

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Mar 29, 2021

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By Colin Erasmus, Modern Workplace Business Group Lead at Microsoft South Africa

Keeping people connected has been a recurring theme over the past year amidst the shift to an increasingly distributed and digital work environment. One of the ways to accomplish this is to deliver an integrated employee experience.

Employees want to be engaged, collaborate, and upskill themselves. But this must now happen without the social structures of an office. According to Microsoft’s Work Reworked research published at the end of 2020, 88% of leaders at large enterprises in South Africa expect they will adopt a more hybrid way of working permanently.

Maintaining engagement

So, even though we are starting to see more employees returning to the office, their expectations have changed. Now, extreme flexibility will define the post-pandemic workplace. At Microsoft, we believe that hybrid work is the future. Every organisation will need a new operating model where maintaining employee engagement will be critical. Engaged employees are happier, perform better, and are less likely to leave the organisation.

People want to feel part of a team, but they also want to understand what success will look like. The technologies and tools must empower them while giving them scope to grow through up-skilling opportunities.

Business leaders must understand that this hybrid environment is about integrating individual technologies, tools, and collaboration for a more holistic employee experience.

Beyond the technology

Ensuring teams continue to feel tight-knit and connected to the company’s culture will be challenging. It is therefore essential for organisational thinking to change to better understand the requirements of a hybrid environment, the expectations of employees, and how to integrate this to deliver on a better employee experience.

It is a case of bringing this experience into the tools that employees use and tying human resources into the entirety of the business.

Part of this move towards empowering workers involves centralising the employee experience and enabling teams to self-organise in ways that solve business challenges in more dynamic ways. By doing so, employees gain autonomy without losing the sense of shared purpose.

Last month we introduced Microsoft Viva, the first Employee Experience Platform to bring tools for employee engagement, learning, wellbeing, and knowledge discovery, directly into the flow of people’s work. Viva is designed to help employees learn, grow and thrive, with new experiences that integrate with the productivity and collaboration capabilities in Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams.

This is a journey towards establishing a platform that will become a new enterprise software category in much the same way that the likes of customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning have become. Technology will be the enabler to integrate what was once a fragmented workplace environment into one that deals more effectively with the flow of work. Now the focus is entirely on the daily needs of people at work to help the organisation create a thriving culture with engaged employees.

For more information visit: Employee Experience & Engagement - Microsoft Viva.

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