Manoj Agarwal, Co-Founder & CEO, Empuls

Manoj Agarwal is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Empuls. He has over 14 years of experience and has worked at companies like Yahoo, Manipal Education, and Flipkart in various roles. Manoj has been active on various industry and technology forums like IAMAI, CII, IGCC, Nasscom, and IIM. Manoj is a yoga and sports enthusiast and a voracious reader. He writes on various topics around entrepreneurship, products, culture, and spirituality.


The year 2020 has been disruptive in every sense of the word. At Xoxoday, we rode these challenges like everyone else using our own employee engagement platform, which helped us recreate our physical workplace digitally in a big way.

A perfect time to put the platform to the test

In the words of Napolean Hill, within every adversity lies an equal or greater opportunity. Working remotely while making sure our employees feel engaged and happy led to a fundamental shift in managing teams. There was unprecedented pressure on our HR and Managers to continue welcoming new employees, celebrating birthdays, cheering on customer wins, recognizing efforts, and gathering feedback. Technology came to our rescue and made it possible to keep our workforce connected, motivated, and empowered to do the good work.

Seeing a similar trend with our customers

This is not just our story. During this time, people-first companies that had already invested in digital technologies were able to sustain employee engagement and productivity. An analysis of our customer base revealed a spike in monthly active users up to 75% during the pandemic. We also noticed an increased demand for our products from across the globe and conservative sectors too, trying to invest in their people for long-term success. 

Designing the workplace of the future 

Resilient organizations acknowledge that supporting flexibility in how and where employees work played an essential role in their success. On the other hand, technology played a huge part in keeping remote employees motivated, productive, engaged, and satisfied. As the pandemic restrictions are being lifted in many countries, organizations are finding innovative ways to accommodate employee preferences in the new world of work. Companies like Prudential, General Motors, and Sodexo make employees a top priority and continue to seek proactive employee inputs for redesigning their work strategy and physical workplaces.

Disrupting the world of work 

In March 2021, Microsoft released its first Work Trend Index, which states that hybrid work is the next great disruption after the 2020 Pandemic. The way forward is clear – every organization will need a plan that puts people at the center and encompasses policy, physical space, and technology. People leaders and HR play a significant role in creating a hybrid work strategy that balances the best of both remote and in-office work modes. Fortunately, technology can be a great enabler in making a proactive and efficient transition.

Keeping the lines of communication open 

Technology that supports collaboration among all employees and enables them to participate, regardless of location, is key to the success of a hybrid work model. Pick communication tools that allow everyone to contribute and help your staff remain connected on the go. It’s the optimal way to keep everyone abreast of evolving policies, health updates, and company news.

Aligning employees with company goals

Employee expectations about work are changing, and leaders must get employee inputs on what is driving their productivity. There is a need for a broader definition of productivity, one that includes innovation, learning, wellbeing, and career advancement. This needs to be done with flexibility in mind considering the location of work, workforce generation, and other essential factors. It’s also vital to invest in performance management tools that help employers communicate goals clearly and employees to control performance and stay on top of things by allowing continuous monitoring.

Empowering your staff

HR and the leadership must take this opportunity to build a culture that gives employees a voice and empowers them to be engaged and productive. Seeking regular feedback, identifying common problems that affect your workforce, and addressing them with transparency and diligence can build a work atmosphere where everyone thrives. A digital survey tool that allows organizations to create opportunities for feedback at every step in the employee’s journey is the need of the hour because employees are at the center of this disruption.

Prioritizing wellbeing and experience

In 2020, the CTO was at the center of driving dramatic shifts in digital transformation. This year and beyond, the spotlight will be on the CHROs, compelling them to reimagine employee experience and wellbeing in a hybrid world. Design every employee touchpoint, from acquisition to onboarding, learning, retirement, and exit, with the employee experience in mind. The first step is to look for inputs on various initiatives and to use an employee experience platform to design and continuously enhance the experience using a data-backed approach.

Motivating your workforce

Address the different ways to motivate employees as you move to a permanent hybrid work model. You can leverage a digital recognition and rewards platform that helps you socially amplify employee contributions across the organization. For example, having a digital wall-of-fame can help you shine the light on people who display your values and deliver stellar performance.

Looking to the future

Transitioning to a permanent hybrid work model requires incorporating flexibility in your policies and processes by utilizing the best technology for your multi-generational workforce. Unlike what we saw last year, organizations can now take a more holistic approach to build resilience from within, using a combination of processes and tools to keep their employees engaged, productive, safe, and happy. It’s time to stay ahead of the digital curve with a human approach. Your choices will matter to your employees, all of which will depend on the right technology to make this run smoothly. 

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