Three experts on work, employee experiences and balancing life held court on DisrupTV Episode 324 and the takeaways are keepers.
Here's an abbreviated list of the lessons on the latest episode as companies and employees struggle with the new hybrid normal.
Tiffani Bova, Global Growth Evangelist at Salesforce
A strong employee experience leads to good customer experiences. "The happy employee leads to happier customers and growth," said Bova. "The trick here is that growth starts with employee experience. The great resignation and quiet quitting are a reflection of the lack of investments we've been making for employees that last few decades."
"It's not fair to think that customers are going to love your company before employees."
Enterprises have overemphasized customer experiences relative to employee experiences. Companies that have solely focused on customer experiences have created imbalances where "the employee gets that second rung of attention," said Bova. "It's about making sure we give more attention in a more intentional and thoughtful way," she explained. “If you do something for the customer what is the intended or unintended consequence on the employee?"
Technology improves employee experiences. "The biggest disconnect between what executives think is happening and what employees think is happening is in IT," said Bova. She added that technology impacting employee experiences goes beyond HR software. "I think a lot of it has to do with executives that are not actually using the technology they're deploying," said Bova. "Outdated tech, outdated processes and a lack of integration is slowing down employees."
Priya Krishnan, Chief Digital and Transformation Officer for Bright Horizons
Life balance is an equation. "We are in the service of others and it's shocking for me when there isn't an employee first mindset," said Krishna. She said companies need to think about helping employees solve the work-life equation. Krishna resists the work-life balance approach.
"I talk about a work life equation because there are days, I have to prep for a board meeting and it means switching off from home," she said. "I'm also not feeling guilty about switching off from work. It's less about balance and finding that equation that works for you. It's easier said than done."
Hybrid work. "During the pandemic we all went from living at work and then went to working from home," said Krishna, who argues that hybrid work will become the new norm. "Employers need to pay attention to hybrid as it's the way of the world so far."
There's no handbook for the most important parts of your life. "Nobody gives us a handbook for the three most important events in our life: When you enter the workforce, when you get married and when you have children," she said.
These life events should matter to employers. Krishna said employers need to tune their benefits to families. If your mind is in a crisis at home, you're not going to be functioning well at work. "How do we restructure our benefits to what employees are looking for?" asked Krishna.
She added that benefits should be nimble enough to cover a sandwich generation of employees taking care of parents as well as kids. In addition, the definition of families is changing. "Most organizations have five generations in their workforce so it's not one size fits all," she said. "there are people who have different needs."
Morra Aarons-Mele, Author of The Anxious Achiever
Achievement, anxiety and fear. Aarons-Mele said anxiety and achievement often go together. She started by breaking down the anxiety and fear differences. Fear and stress are external. Anxiety is internal and usually triggered by past events.
The link between anxiety and achievement. Aarons-Mele said "there are many of us out there who always push and never stop because our anxiety is constantly motivating us and telling us if you don't do this you're going to fail."
When is anxiety bad? Aarons-Mele said her line is when anxiety is dragging you down instead of motivating you. "Is my anxiety serving me or harming me. That's the deciding question," said Aarons-Mele.
Companies, culture and anxiety. Aarons-Mele said companies need to ensure that they don't reward people for always being anxious. If companies foster anxiety-ridden performance, employees will burn out.
Know your triggers and minimize them. Aarons-Mele said anxious achievers need to identify the triggers, say parents' unreasonably high standards, and minimize them. "I actually think therapy is the best leadership tool you can invest in," said Aarons-Mele, who noted that triggers are specific to individuals.