Poll: PHL bosses boosting staff ‘experience’


A RECENT poll by a British multinational revealed Philippine employers are focusing on enhancing the “employee experience” amid the lockdown measures that truncated how people perform their jobs.

The 2021 “Employee Experience Survey” by Willis Towers Watson Public Ltd. Co. found that 95 percent of Philippine employers said enhancing the employee experience will be an important priority at their organization over the next three years compared with just 65 percent indicating it as important prior to the pandemic.

“Most respondents believe a positive employee experience is a key driver of engagement (89 percent), productivity (88 percent), overall business performance (88 percent) and employee wellbeing (87 percent),” a statement by the risk management, insurance brokerage and advisory company said.

“Organizations took rapid actions during the pandemic including moving workers to a remote or hybrid work environment, making job cuts, restructuring or cutting pay or benefits,” the firm said.

A total of 91 organizations in the Philippines, representing 483,000 employees, participated in the 2021 survey that the company said was conducted in April.

‘Stress test’

THE company said that while these actions were less prevalent in Asia Pacific than reported globally, “they still took a significant toll on people with many reporting anxiety and work distraction, creating a ‘stress test’ on the employee experience for many organizations.” It said that more than half (52 percent) reported a negative impact on the employee experience as a result of the pandemic.

“Whether it’s due to employer actions such as pay reductions and layoffs or because of virtual work and personal hardships for some, the pandemic exposed shortfalls in the employee experience at many organizations. Many employers are not equipped to deal with these challenges,” Willis Towers Watson Philippines Inc. Associate Director Lemuel Mar Briones was quoted in the statement as saying.

“Our study reveals that 40 percent of organizations have undefined or a basic approach to the employee experience that is not aligned to the business strategy. Enhancing the employee experience has therefore become an imperative for organizations and it’s one that will take time,” Briones added.

Clear focus

AS the coronavirus continues to run its course in the country, the stress on employee experience will not go away anytime soon, Willis Towers Watson said.

Employers recognized that this prolonged return will require a clear focus on three areas: a change in work model, prioritizing wellbeing and aligning total rewards programs to diverse employee needs, according to the company.

Indeed, over eight in 10 employers (87 percent) recognize that the new realities of the labor markets will require a hybrid model for many roles. While many employers have begun the process of change, only 61 percent are flexible about where or when work gets done.

The company said that 70 percent are in the process of reimagining careers in response to changes in the way work is accomplished and more than half (61 percent) are segmenting total rewards to account for a different work force profile—“and there will be further challenges ahead.”

“As organizations look ahead to a post-pandemic era, their ability to move the needle on the employee experience will be critical,” Briones said.

He added that for these businesses to succeed, “they must start with a bold employee experience strategy that supports their business strategy and is based on a consistent model.”

“Then, they can turn to execution–adapting programs and policies reflective of flexible work, paying employees fairly, enhancing benefit delivery and well-being programs, supporting workers in a more agile and flexible workspace, and aligning ‘total rewards’ programs to meet the needs of a diverse work force,” Briones added.

Other findings

Other findings from the 2021 “Employee Experience Survey”

• Using digitalization to transform the employee experience fundamentally over the next three years was highlighted as a major focus for a large proportion of organizations (70 percent).

• When asked to identify the areas needed to improve employee experience, three quarters (76 percent) of employers in the Philippines say changing leadership competencies over the next three years is a priority.

• Developing change capability is also critical as only 42 percent of organizations finds senior leader effectiveness at managing change a major strength.

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