Employee Experience Roundtable | February 2022 🌟

Employee Experience Roundtable | February 2022 🌟

👉 Managing Burnout & Zoom Fatigue . . . Again

TLDR: More and more companies are noticing Zoom fatigue and burnout becoming more prevalent amongst their employees. If your team is struggling with burnouts consider adding meeting free days or days off every few weeks to give employees a break. On a smaller scale, be intentional with employee time. Try shortening meeting times by 5 mins (i.e. 25mins vs 30mins) and ensure all employees are looping in all necessary team members at once to increase collaboration. You can also consider sending context and ‘pre-reads’ before a meeting. Alternatively, be intentional about how to support employees. Ensure managers are reminding employees to take their time off, don’t focus on avoiding burnout, but focus on supporting employees so that they don’t even have the opportunity to become burnt out. 

  • An immediately impactful way to decrease Zoom fatigue and help manage employee burnout involves implementing no meeting day, half days towards the end of each week or company-wide breaks
  • A few companies have seen success with this by encouraging employees to sign off mid-afternoon on Fridays to get a few hours back to focus on themselves and recharge.
  • Other companies have implemented no meeting days within the week as a way to give employees a break from Zoom. 
  • If your company has or is deciding to implement a no meeting-day, try to work with your company's IT team to block employees from booking video calls on a certain day. This ensures no-meeting days act as a solution and are enforced, not just a ‘good-to-have’ band aid solution.
  • A few larger companies have found success with a few company-wide weeks-off.
  • A few other ways to decrease burnout for employees are:
  • Gratitude initiatives that remind employees how much they are appreciated by their company. 
  • Support team members to balance their personal and professional lives.
  • Emphasize the importance of deciding if a meeting is necessary (specifically recurring meetings). For your teams or company-wide, consider conducting a calendar audit or canceling all recurring meetings and start from scratch! 
  • Focus on adding the most relevant attendees to a meeting to make tasks and decisions more collaborative. This takes the pressure off a singular employee and decreases the chances of needing another meeting to loop in relevant stakeholders.
  • Focus on supporting employees in a holistic way so that they do not get burnt out. There is no magical one-size-fits all solution! 
  • Implement and enforce frequent smaller breaks throughout each workday. 
  • This can be as simple as shortening every meeting by 5 mins to give employees a moment for themselves following a call. 
  • Or some companies have put 5-15 minute calendar holds on employees’ calendars everyday as breaks. It encourages employees to take a step back from their laptops! 
  • Be intentional about encouraging employees to take the time off. Have managers incorporate scheduling time off into employee 1:1’s, especially if you notice a trend of not many employees taking their time off. 

Providers like BetterUp can also be a great resource for your employees

👉 Office Re-Openings

TLDR: Supporting virtual events on top of in-office events places most people teams in limbo. Teams feel they are constantly juggling 2 event calendars, and are tasked to manage everything from Zoom links to vaccine passports. One way to make this process a bit more manageable is by engaging in a tiered reopening strategy. This can look like beginning with managers and slowly moving to larger teams of employees. Another way to keep employees engaged throughout this awkward phase is to lean into a local ambassador program, where a few employees from local hubs/offices can help organize local events to build connections while adhering to local rules and regulations. 

  • When it comes to office reopening strategies, most larger companies are offering an optional return-to-office a few days a week (and using hoteling-style) in addition to a remote-first option moving forward
  • For companies that are just beginning to look into what it means to return to in-person work, consider a tiered reopening plan. Larger companies broke up their office re-opening across tiers that will carry out over a month. The first tier allows managers to RTO first, the second tier allows teams to come back and any other employees will continue to slowly trickle in over the course of the month. 
  • When it comes to in-office food and drink offerings most companies are either supplying food in individually wrapped packages for employees. Employees must place their food orders at the same time they book their desks when coming into the office. Alternatively, a few companies are providing $25 per day food credits or gift cards for employees that work in-office each day. 
  • If your team wants to encourage people to return to the office or have employees make new connections in person, many companies have seen success with a local hub ambassador program. 
  • The ambassador program requires an employee to volunteer to be an ambassador for events in their local hubs where a few employees live in/near . These events aim to help build a sense of community for employees who reside near a local hub. Also, these local events must follow the protocols for the region! 
  • This is a great option should most employees be distant from your company's main office location, and if offices are still closed at the moment.

👉 Building ERG’s from the Ground Up

TLDR: Most Employee Resource Groups (ERG’s) are split into protected class groups and common interest groups. When building ERG’s from the groups up, begin with creating structure and having a plan for success once ERG’s are formed. This involves setting clear expectations and realistic timelines. Look out for employees who are passionate about a certain cause or hobby. ERG's that form naturally from a few excited employees are the best! Otherwise, put out an open call to employees looking to get involved more deeply in shaping company culture. From here, formalize your ERG’s by having internal champions write up a mission statement and ideate a few events the ERG would like to host. Also, consider budgets, stipends and support methods to ensure ERG’s have the resources they need to thrive. What has helped many companies is also getting an executive sponsor from your leadership for each group. 

  • When building Employee Resource Groups (ERG’s) from scratch, the first step is deciding a general structure for ERG’s. The two main structures are those that either surround a protected class (i.e., Asains@Epoch) or share a common characteristic (i.e., Swimmers@Epoch). These two ERG structures operate under the same main set of rules dictated by the company they are formed within. 
  • ERG’s that are more centered on common interests take the shape of clubs and counsels and can be formed on an ad hoc basis. It is important to communicate to employees that this is encouraged and available (i.e. via townhalls, having your exec share more about this opportunity)
  • A priority when setting up ERG’s within a company is setting realistic expectations for those that will become ERG leaders. These employees have day jobs on top of the ERG roles they are choosing to take on. While their time is spread thin, making sure these employee leaders are supported is a great way to ensure successful ERG formation. 
  • If you come across a few employees who are super passionate about a certain cause, empower them to get together and form a little group. Letting employees who are excited about a cause or hobby run with the formation of a small similarly minded group allows an ERG to take shape naturally.
  • Find a few more tips to setting up ERG’s here!
  • Once you’ve found your smaller ERG groups kick off the process of officiating an ERG by having these employees fill out a bit of paperwork that governs their ERG’s mission, what events they want to put on and any other information relevant to your company’s internal processes. Try your best to make this as simple as possible for your ERG leads. Send over a quick sample and questionnaire.
  • Given it’s a lot of work to formalize an ERG group, consider compensation for key champions within an ERG. The benefits to the business of having successful ERG’s is tremendous. Giving ERG leaders a small stipend (ranging from $5-$10k) as a bonus on top of their typical salary is another great way to reward employees that take the time to participate in the creation of and run ERG’s. 
  • Consider ERG budgets. This varies from company to company, but a main benefit of having ERG’s is that they provide value to the business. One way to empower employees to become ERG leaders and/or take part in ERG programming is to give them a budget to host the events they want to put on.
  • Another way a few mid-sized companies like working with ERG teams is having ERG’s ideate on events they want to host and having employee experience teams plan these events and work with ERG leaders to finalize logistics and host upcoming events. 
  • A few other ways to empower virtual ERG’s involve planning ahead, creating an event checklist and ensuring events are timely. Find the full list of tips here!
  • Get someone from your leadership team (i.e. C-Suite) to be the ‘executive’ sponsor for each ERG.
  • Their role will be to meet with the ERG leads regularly (maybe once a quarter) to understand their priorities and upcoming events to help them promote it and/or acquire additional resources and budgets. 
  • A few companies have seen success with their ERG’s by ensuring each group has an executive sponsor which acts as a direct line to leadership. Each ERG can lean on their sponsor for support and engagement from the top down. Additionally, these sponsors typically lead panel discussions hosted by a given ERG. 
  • Keep in mind when forming ERG’s, especially building the process from scratch within a company, sometimes the group that you’re forming needs the support, not the people that attend the group events.

👉 Ideas for Employee Appreciation Day

TLDR: It’s a mix this year - some companies are continuing to do the most for their employees, and some are leaning into the fact that every day is Employee Appreciation for them. Regardless if you are celebrating this day by going full out, there are numerous ways you can show your appreciation for your amazing employees! An effective way to understand how your employees want to receive recognition before investing in gifts, etc., send out a survey that asks how your company can appreciate its employees (i.e. is it via surprise treats? Learning credits? Events?). Another light-weight and engaging way to show appreciation for your employees is to open up a Slack channel for employees to share their gratitude for their colleagues, and encourage leadership and managers to take a moment and share their appreciation for the employees they work with. 

  • One idea to appreciate employees this year and all year around is taking a moment of gratitude to recognize all the different things employees are doing. 
  • Some companies are taking this one step further and sending employees a small gift (i.e. a succulent) for their desk to act as a reminder they are appreciated!
  • A few companies are taking a large-scale approach for Employee Appreciation Day by doing fun celebrations all week long. On top of their everyday appreciation initiatives, this week in particular, they have events like: Lunch and Learn Monday, Service to Others Tuesday, Wellness Wednesday, and Treat Yourself Thursday and more. 
  • Here’s a few other low-lift event ideas to support employees this year:
  • Having kudos board and encouraging employees to share gratitude and shoutouts for other employees
  • Sending out an appreciation email or Slack from leadership (maybe try a short video format!)
  • Sending small treats to employees
  • Compiling a video of company leaders shouting out offices and sharing their gratitude for employees

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