Employee Experience in a Post-COVID World
Over this past year, we all have had to make significant adjustments to our personal and professional lives. While many of these changes will gradually reverse themselves, much of what we once considered to be "normal" is never going to be the same again. Many companies are moving to remote, hybrid, and/or flexible working models. Recognizing this reality is quickly becoming table stakes for staying competitive in the market for talent.
At Simulmedia, we have decided to lean into these changes and play a leading role in shaping the future of work in a post-COVID world. This does not mean that we are embracing hybrid work across the board. Instead, we are adopting flexibility in the workplace and taking steps to create an amazing experience for all of our employees no matter where they are working from on a given day. After all, the hybrid working model is merely the most recent manifestation of a more fundamental trend in the workplace toward better integrating our work with the rest of our lives. So instead of simply jumping on the "hybrid" bandwagon, we are focusing on the needs of our employees in a more holistic way.
We believe that we are better together. This refers to the benefits of camaraderie, efficient collaboration, ensuring client success through knowledge sharing, and, of course, working together in the office. As such, our employee experience initiatives are thoughtfully designed, in collaboration with our People team, to create an unparalleled work environment for all of our employees -- all the time and in any location. We want to incentivize employees to come into the office and make sure they love being here, but we also want our people to love their lives and take advantage of all the opportunities that our world has to offer.
So what does this look like in practice?
Well, much of it is still under development, but so far, we have implemented a few key starting policies, all assuming that everyone in the office has been fully vaccinated and subject to appropriate safety precautions until the pandemic is completely over. These initial policies include:
- Work-from-anywhere stipend: We prefer that our employees maintain their permanent homes local to our offices, but we also want them to experience the advantages of working from anywhere. To facilitate this, we have begun to offer a $1,000 annual stipend for each Simulmedian to offset the cost of traveling to and working from any location in the world that they choose for up to 1 month of each year. And for those that prefer to stay local? No problem! Those employees are encouraged to use their stipend to upgrade their home office setup or to do anything else that will help them work wherever they are most comfortable when not in the office.
- Collaborative lunch allowance: Every employee at Simulmedia is eligible to receive a reimbursement of up to $20 for lunch for each day that they work in the office. Furthermore, the allowance increases to $25 per person if they bring a co-worker along for lunch. We don’t just foster collaboration and camaraderie. We put our money where our mouth is!
- Pet friendly office: During the pandemic, many of us have become accustomed to having our furry friends by our sides and to being able to care for them in a way that reflects how much they mean to us. At Simulmedia, we don’t want our employees to lose that benefit simply because they are coming back to the office. Instead, they can bring their pets along. We are now a completely pet friendly workspace! And who knows? Maybe some of our future happy hours will involve frisbees in the park...
- Social justice learning days: The past year hasn’t just opened us all up to a new way of working, but it has also awoken in many of us a desire to ensure social justice and fight for positive change in the world. While there is only so much that a small company like Simulmedia can do, we believe we have an outsized impact simply by providing a platform for our employees to explore and discuss diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in a safe environment. To this end, we have begun a practice of quarterly all-company learning days focused on anti-racism and social justice. These events and the spirit of inclusion that they bring have become and will continue to be a fundamental element of our employee experience.
- Making employee experience a business function: As stated above, we have only just begun to define the full spectrum of initiatives that will make Simulmedia an even more amazing place to work. To solidify our continued commitment to this, we are bringing in the expertise needed to curate the best possible experience by hiring an Employee Experience Specialist. We are looking for a champion of our core values who comes from the hospitality industry and is eager to apply their uncanny ability to create a stellar guest experience to employees in fast-growth tech. This person’s primary job will be to expand all of the work described above and make sure that employee experience remains a fundamental part of who we are as a company.
We know that we are not the only company thinking about the new world of work in creative ways. We would love to hear responses from anyone else who is applying innovative ideas in support of a top-notch employee experience. Please share your thoughts with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!