Being a Top Employer Means Listening to your Employees

| 3 May 2022

The workforce market is more competitive now than it has been in many years, largely driven by people re-evaluating their work/life balance following an unprecedented period of change and an unstable landscape. No longer can employers ignore the standards of the workplace experience they offer as employees are thinking differently about what’s important to them, and what they look for in an organisation, and rightly so.

In light of this, I’m particularly proud that earlier this year, Konica Minolta UK was officially certified by the Top Employers Institute for the fifth year in a row. This certification recognises our exceptional employee offerings, excellent HR policies, and people practices that demonstrate our dedication to delivering a better world of work.

Employees at the heart of the business

The Top Employers Institute looks at a number of areas within a business when deciding to award Top Employer status. In our case, this was centred around all our people processes and policies, with the Institute particularly looking at how we make people a key focus of our operations, ensuring this is a great place to work. I strongly believe we have our employees at the heart of what we do, and their engagement and employee-satisfaction plays a huge part in every decision we make.

At the core of every people-based decision we make, is inclusivity. As a business, we understand that everyone needs and wants something different, so we try to make all our processes and policies as flexible and inclusive as we can.

Take our choice-based working approach as an example. This was adopted in the summer of 2021 and gives full choice and flexibility to our employees to work when, where, and how they want to. Obviously, this looks different for the various parts of our organisation, and we always need to balance the needs of our customers, but we know this is a real benefit of working at Konica Minolta. We don’t dictate the number of days our employees need to be in an office, or mandate certain working hours – we give our employees the flexibility to work in a way that works for them and our customers.

Our employee experience and what we offer continues to evolve and change with the needs of our employees. It is an evolution that is influenced and impacted by listening to our employees.

Evolving expectations

Undoubtedly accelerated by the pandemic, over recent years we’ve seen a shift in what employees are looking for in their workplace. For example, we’ve seen a decline in the desire for heavily kitted-out workspaces, and offices with lots of attractive features, and instead seen more importance placed on workplace policies and benefits, connection, culture, and engagement on a day-to-day basis.

We’ve really listened to this and taken the time to evolve several of our working practices and policies to make them more inclusive to all our employees - including updating our family leave offering to reflect the various ways our employees can start a family. We also know how important belonging and culture is for an organisation, and therefore we have taken the time to develop our employee resource groups, giving everyone the chance to get involved and to learn about the different backgrounds of our team members, providing a truly allyship-based culture.

This is something we continue to shape further as we are still learning about how people want to work moving forward and how we can respond to those needs, whilst always providing choice.
Listening to the team

At Konica Minolta we make sure employee-voice is a big part of our decision-making process across everything that we do. Led by our CEO, we have a weekly connection point between our senior leaders and our entire employee community. During this, our leaders answer all and any questions posed, hear what’s on our employees’ minds, as well as providing a forum for updates on business projects, successes and (in more challenging times) how external factors impact our business.

We formally and informally listen to our employees when making changes or updates to anything affecting their working experience. For example, we updated our 2022 benefits offering this January, based directly on the feedback we had from our employees throughout the previous benefits window, introducing four new benefits identified and needed by our employees.

Our annual global engagement survey also gives us huge amounts of data on how our employees are feeling and the areas they want to see most change in. This insight is then used directly to influence how we approach employee engagement and experience going forward shaping what we prioritise.

Support and opportunities

As we start to feel a sense of normality after the pandemic, now is the time to think about the future of our organisation and what that means for our employees. There’s no doubt that things will look and feel different, but the experience and connection of our employees is paramount to an engaged community.
We’ll be continuing to evolve our practices and policies, learning, and shaping together our new ways of working, and understanding, even more, what will sustain employee engagement. We have a key focus on our workplace strategy and offerings, ensuring we provide choice, connection, and collaboration opportunities for all.  This truly creates a place where all employees can thrive.

We are also looking to provide more innovation and idea shaping programmes to vary input into business decision and problem solving this year, so a focus on skills development and career growth remains key in 2022 - we want to equip our people to thrive. Providing projects that stretch our employee’s talents and internal mobility are critical for growth and we continue to focus on how we can enable our employees to find purpose at work. Additionally, we are reviewing our 2022 charity partnerships to provide volunteering opportunities for our employees as well as responding to new societal needs that have emerged or worsened since the pandemic. Focus on employee well-being also remains a key priority, the pandemic has hit people hard, and we want to ensure we help people recover.

How to be an attractive employer

Ensuring your business is an attractive employer is a complex task, but my main advice would be to listen. I have seen many organisations try to design employee experience from behind a closed door, without really understanding their employees and what makes them tick. Listening, even when what you hear is hard is crucial to shaping what is actually needed and wanted.

Every organisation is different, and there is no one size fits all option, so really listening to your employee community is crucial. Also, always be willing to learn and change, the story is never complete, and adaptability is key. Some things work and some things don’t - it is ok to change course if that is what is needed.

An ongoing journey

We’re proud to have been awarded Top Employer again this year, but we also understand that the journey doesn’t end here. Employee experience and engagement grows and evolves with time. What works today, won’t necessarily work tomorrow, and it’s by really understanding your community and what is important to them, that you’ll truly be able to design a market-leading, engaging experience and provide a truly inclusive workplace where individuals can thrive.

About the author

Gemma Lee

Gemma Lee is the Chief People Officer for Konica Minolta's UK Organisation. Leading the People and Culture division, Gemma is responsible for making sure the people strategy is designed to enable growth and success for the future, whilst keeping the employee experience at the heart of everything the business sets out to achieve. Gemma thrives on empowering every individual within Konica Minolta and her People and Culture team, constantly driving towards Konica Minolta's aim of being the employer of choice.