It goes without saying that the Covid-19 pandemic has devastated the global economy. Physical contact has gone out the window in an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus; but in return, business and supply chains have slowed to a crawl. Only the accelerated rise of digital transformation has prevented the global economy from crashing down.

In order to quickly achieve this digital transformation, companies need to ensure that their talent are motivated, so that they may continue to work at peak efficiency, despite the somewhat desperate situation we have found ourselves in. As such, many businesses have begun to take another look at their management processes and rewards strategies; all in an effort to meet the needs of their workforce and improve the overall employee experience.

In a short interview with HR Asia magazine, Alvin Yuan, Chief Executive Officer of HealthMetrics, offers some valuable insight on how the improving the overall employee experience can not only help a business survive amidst the pandemic, but also succeed in a harsh business climate.

Alvin explains that HealthMetrics is lucky to not be as affected by Covid-19 as some other industries. However, the pandemic did lead to the company accelerating some of their plans, including the introduction of Telemedicine as one of their offerings. Many of their processes and client interaction has been moved online in order to get around the limitations put in place by Malaysia’s movement control orders. Alvin also encourages other companies to adopt similar digital processes from the top-down and to embrace this change.

Due to the rather extraordinary circumstances of today’s economic downturn, Alvin  also stressed the importance of company culture in allaying the fears and worries of employees when enacting drastic change.

“Company culture is a crucial element in the workplace as they need to be comfortable and at ease when they are performing their tasks. In order to achieve a great company culture, building trust and confidence among employees is instrumental,” he said.

Employees are often kept in the dark when it comes to the organisation’s information; especially that of financial status and overall company health. Transparency can go a long way, especially with regards to the company’s growth and condition. Such transparency can further enhance togetherness in  accountability as a team, when they truly understand the reasons behind certain instructions.

Alvin also encourages companies to empathise with their employees and see things from their point of view. After being a leader in a company for too long, it is often easy to forget that each individual has their own set of problems and worries to deal with. Even retrenchments that happen to an employee’s close family member can affect their performance and situation, so it is always desirable to keep an open mind.

With regards to implementing better talent management processes and rewards strategies, Alvin says that it is very important to get input from bottom-up in order to understand current trends and needs of emerging talents. This is because job seekers themselves are growing increasingly picky with what they are looking for in an employer, even in a tough employment climate such as now.

Onboarding is also a part of the talent management that many companies tend to not pay enough attention to. “As onboarding is among the first processes that talent will encounter once they join an organisation, having a proper session for this step will  give a great first impression for the new joiners. The employees will understand more on the company’s core values, vision and mission as well as the company’s overall culture,” says Alvin.

On rewards strategies, Alvin states that many employers put too much focus on financial matters such as bonuses and gifts for high performers. Monetary gain is one of the elements that employees will look through but when having some budget restrictions, employers can always look to encourage employees to give appreciation among each other as a form of rewards. This will not only improve employee’s motivation but will definitely boost team spirit that will contribute to a positive work culture.

Overall, Alvin subscribes to the saying of: “When your employee is happy, you will have a happy customer”. This saying has proven itself true over the years as employees are representatives of the employer’s brand and reputation. These employees are a reflection of their employers and by truly understanding the  importance of employees’ experience, it will give great results not only for customer’s service but also in terms of overall productivity.


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