95% of PH employers prioritizing worker experience post-pandemic

Published August 11, 2021, 8:09 AM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

Majority, or 95 percent of Philippine employers, are now making workers’ experience a top priority over the next three years in order to recover from the effects of the pandemic.
But despite knowing that adapting to the new reality takes time and requires a hybrid work model, many are not ready for the challenges.
This was according to the 2021 Employee Experience Survey which global advisory, broking and solutions firm Willis Towers Watson (WLTW) yesterday ( August 10) released.
Conducted in April 2021, the survey covered 91 organizations in the Philippines, representing 483,000 employees.
Significantly, most of the surveyed Filipino employers believed that a positive worker experience is a key driver of engagement (89%), productivity (88%), overall business performance (88%) and employee wellbeing (87%)
During the pandemic, local organizations took rapid action, including moving workers to a remote or hybrid work environment, making job cuts, restructuring or cutting pay or benefits.
While these 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 companies.
More than half (52%) 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,” explained Lee Briones, Employee Insights Leader, Philippines, Willis Towers Watson.
“Many employers are not equipped to deal with these challenges,” he stressed.
“Our study reveals that 40% 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 become an imperative for organizations and it’s one that will take time.”
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to run its course, the stress on employee experience will not go away anytime soon.
Employers recognized that this elongated return will require focusing on three areas: a change in work model, prioritizing wellbeing and aligning total rewards programs to diverse employee needs.
Over eight in 10 employers (87%) 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% are flexible about where or when work gets done.
Some 70% are in the process of re-imagining careers in response to changes in the way work is accomplished.
More than half, 61%, are segmenting Total Rewards to account for a different workforce 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,” according to Briones.
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 wellbeing programs, supporting workers in a more agile and flexible workspace, and aligning Total Rewards programs to meet the needs of their workers.
The survey also found that a large proportion of the organisations (70%) are using digitalization to transform the employee experience over the next three years.
When asked to identify the areas needed to improve employee experience, three quarters (76%) 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.