Employee Experience Roundtable 2 | February 2023 🌟

Employee Experience Roundtable 2 | February 2023 🌟

Every month, Epoch brings together employee experience leaders to share learnings, compare notes, and lean on each other! Scroll down to see key takeaways from the conversation!  

How do you get virtual engagement with zero budget?

TLDR: Getting engagement with no budget requires you to be scrappy and leverage the budget you already have. For one company, within their weekly company-wide meetings they discuss what’s going on in the world or any upcoming events. There’s a  budget for that. For example, during Pink Shirt Day to stand against bullying if an employee posts a photo, they’ll donate to a charity. This allows them to leverage the charity budget while creating an event with no extra costs.

One company used to spend a budget on two wellness weeks. Instead, they decided to do a 6-week wellness challenge. People would join their groups to work together, get their steps in, etc. to get collaboration going across the country. Repurposing their budget allowed them to use it more effectively.

How do you position reduced budgets for gathering and trust-building experiences for employees? How are you setting people up to run their own employee experience on distributed teams?

TLDR: There are many ways to have fun while working with reduced budgets. Taking a look at what you can do from a global perspective such as screening a movie in different global locations with subtitles is key. To rent a movie and screen it for employees could cost as little as $5. Leveraging what’s in place from a DEI, workplace, and programmatic perspective is key to supporting employee experience. One company’s workplace experience team has hubs that hold events in the office and there are “spokes” in their smaller offices who host smaller things. With the pop-ups, they have panelists, food, drink, and a social impact component to it. They also leverage their ERG groups who are good at operating with less budget. They partner with other teams to leverage what’s already happening within the company as those events often already have a budget to use.

How are you incorporating smaller offices into activities with a low budget?

TLDR: There’s a big opportunity to get remote folks together and meet. If you have people in Seattle or Chicago for example, bringing employees in person allows them to connect. Some managers encourage this by paying for travel expenses. Look at the ROI business value compared to the cost. These events will make employees more engaged and productive which can offset costs. In addition, regular communication is used to engage remote workers and small office teams. 

How else has everyone been engaging employees?

TLDR: Employee engagement work isn’t one size fits all. It’s trial and error. There’s been a push to have employee experience be really meaningful to the bottom line as far as business goes. This is different from the start of the pandemic when companies just wanted people to connect. One thing a company has started is communities in practice where they created learning groups for people who are very excited about various topics or areas so they could share resources and gather together. This gets an inventory of employee skills (i.e. Excel, SQL, graphic design) while allowing them to connect. There are also interest groups like crafts, running, etc. that are more hobby-focused..

A topic that is coming up a lot on LinkedIn is burnout and layoffs. How do you engage and handle that with employees?

TLDR: Layoffs and burnout can make employee morale challenging to boost. Get your CEO to address it. Utilize team huddles with everyone in the company and discuss challenging topics. Reassure your employees that everything will be okay. In terms of burnout, one company is being conscious of the noise around burnout. Right now they’re in a stage of working with heads down but that doesn’t mean gathering and activities aren’t important. They’ve reorganized their Slack and revamped where and when people are posting and how people check on information. It’s important to regroup every once in a while to make sure the practices in place are still working for you.

Be cognizant that news that is business-oriented can be difficult but should be talked about. Allow anonymous questions to come in. Do everything you can to support employees.

How do you support middle management? 

TLDR: A lot of the load ends up on them. They work with individuals and middle management gets leaned on by senior managers. That group sometimes becomes less engaged as well. One solution is to do a mindshare with a theme each month for managers. Burnout, how to help employees that aren't motivated, etc. Discussing common challenges openly similar to how they’re discussed at the Epoch roundtable is a great way to get support in difficult times. Manager training is also important. A lot of managers don’t have a lot of training or experience in how to lead and delegate. 

How are you establishing company culture?

TLDR: Culture is built over time. Reaffirm and adapt your company values as the organization grows. Make sure the culture is reflective of the values across the organization, business processes, and programming. Culture isn’t just the fun stuff. It’s how we relate to each other. If you can root everything into values that build a strong culture. One part of culture is how you treat each other and the other part is how you work. Make sure as you implement programs they match your values. If your value is we win together, awards that value the biggest sales don’t match that

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