Empower your employees at work and beyond

With more people working from home than ever before, how do you maintain employee morale? How do you keep the collective chin up, and make sure that every employee still feels supported? These are big questions for HR teams as they grapple with the new work-from-home norm.

Employee wellbeing has been on the radar for years now. But it’s only relatively recently that ‘employee experience’ has become the buzzword it is today. These days, more companies realise that, by investing in their employees, they will perform better out in the market. In fact, a recent study by Forrester found that 53% of organisations are prioritising employee experience in the next year.

It’s all well and good to say that the employee experience is important. But it’s another thing to take proactive steps to improve it.

To help you take the right steps, we are sharing the approach we take here at Docusign – which (humble brag) appears to be working. Docusign was recently ranked third in the Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards for 2020. Here, we speak to Joan Burke, Chief People Officer for Docusign about the approach that she and her team take to ensure that employees are supported, wherever they are.

Technology is key

The first point to note is that employees today need a seamless digital experience at work. Indeed, the digital experience is interwoven with the employee experience – as technology enables productivity, collaboration, and more flexible ways of working.

Get the technology right, and then you can focus on creating a culture of empowerment, which is at the heart of making employees feel valued. Burke explains, “We don’t just want to be the best place to work, we want to be the place where people feel empowered to do the work of their lives.”

Train and support your managers

It might sound counterintuitive, but to empower your employees you need to invest in your managers. Give them the training and support they need to lead by example. It might require a big change in mindset: “At Docusign, we train managers to empower their employees to take risks (as long as it isn’t catastrophic to the business) and tackle tough problems,” Burke says.

“When employees trust their managers to support them – even when they fail – they are more likely to innovate and take ownership over their work without waiting to be told what to do.”

Additionally, research shows that trust and space between employees and managers lead to higher job satisfaction, and increased commitment to the work.

Encourage decision-making

A really effective way to make your employees feel valued is to empower them to participate in decision-making processes. As this Forbes article states, inviting your employees to join in decision making is a great way to show them that you trust them and value their opinion.

At the same time, opening up decision making will help the ideas flow – potentially opening the door to better ways of working or generating revenue. It also helps to foster a culture of inclusivity, which is so critical when people are working remotely.

Find out what really matters

As we’ve noted before, making your employees happy is one of the smartest things you can do as a business. To do so, you need to find out what matters to them. Use online tools to measure employee satisfaction and find out whether or not your employee wellbeing initiatives are actually working. Don’t be afraid to ask the big questions, too – it shows that you really care.

For example, at Docusign, our employee self-review form includes two pretty powerful questions: “Are you doing the work of your life?” and “What can we do to help you do the work of your life?”.

As Burke acknowledges, “You can’t define what empowerment will mean for every employee, but you can use the information from your surveys to ensure employees have the support and tools to define it for themselves.”

And, by giving employees the tools and support they need to feel empowered, you’re on your way to becoming the place that more people want to work for.

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