6 Ways To Engage Employees for a More Meaningful Employee Experience
Employees today are eager to learn and develop in their careers. And as The Big Quit has taught us, they aren’t afraid to move on if those opportunities aren't on the table. So how can employers create experiences that engage their workers enough to stick around for the long haul?
In a word, empowerment.
On Talent Experience Live, Phenoms Jesus Latorre-Socas, Lead Product Manager, and Tom Tate, Director of Product Marketing, defined six actionable ways companies can not only engage employees, but help them evolve within your organization.
View the whole episode here ↓ or read on for the key takeaways!
1. Make OPPORTUNITIES attainable
Seventy-six percent of employees are looking for career growth opportunities, and ensuring employees are aware of available internal opportunities is critical to improving the employee experience. “But when you think about EX … it’s such a big realm. It’s no longer just about transparency. You have to do more,” Latorre-Socas said.
Transparent internal mobility opportunities are important, but if an employee doesn’t get the job they applied for they will want to know why. What skills are they lacking? What training should they be taking to advance to the roles they aspire to? “That’s one of the missing keys,” Latorre-Socas said. “Identifying what is required for a role so that [employees] can work toward closing those [skills] gaps.”
Tailoring internal job recommendations so they’re personalized to individual employees is a way to level up opportunity. That’s where AI-driven technology comes in to deliver a curated job list that matches employees’ skill sets, experience, interests, and goals, he explained.
An internal talent marketplace platform is a great tool to utilize, as it helps to:
- Share roles with employees based on their skills, location, job history, and interests — all using AI-powered intelligent job matching
- Encourage employees to express interest and apply for new positions with less friction
- Empower employees to grow their skill sets through tailored on-demand learning programs
2. Offer a clear TRAJECTORY for their future
Organizations tend to think of their teams’ career paths as linear, but employees don’t see it that way. In fact, 74% of employees don’t feel they’re reaching their full potential. They want to know ALL the opportunities available to them, personally. For example, a product manager shouldn’t be limited to moving up through the product management function. Depending on their interests and skills, opportunities in HR or sales may actually be a better match.
Providing a clear picture of the organization’s career architecture and an understanding of what’s necessary to move forward — whether through education, a certification, or a meaningful mentorship/sponsorship — will set up employees for success.
But when this data is scattered across multiple systems, how can organizations clarify the experience for their employees? “That’s really the big piece of trajectory that has to be solved,” Latorre-Socas said. And solving it requires a partnership between HR, IT, and a unified platform partner to understand the vast amount of data, bring it together, and turn it into an experience that will drive engagement and evolution, Tate added. Data unification is key.
To help solve this, companies can use career pathing tools to:
- Promote best-fit career moves and illuminate skills needed to progress
- Support employee upskilling with personalized learning and development courses
- Help employees map out goals and support them in making informed decisions about their career paths
3. Provide gig programs to gain real-world EXPERIENCE
With a gig program (or an internal talent marketplace), companies can match employees to short-term projects and work experiences. This gives them exposure to other departments, teams and roles they may be interested in, allowing them to build skills through hands-on experience.
An internal talent marketplace benefits the employer, too, especially with 47% of businesses reporting a shortage of skilled employees. With a talent marketplace, short-term needs can be filled efficiently, all while upskilling the workforce.
“It’s really about opening up the doors to the unknown,” Latorre-Socas said. “That unknown is what leads to new skills.”
A gig program also mitigates risk for hiring managers and employees, Tate pointed out. Neither party is taking a blind risk on something that might not work out. “Gigs give you the opportunity to crawl, walk, run,” he said.
4. Curate the right DEVELOPMENT opportunities
Research shows that companies that invest in training and development programs can experience 24% higher profit margins. Why? Because learning and development connects the dots between an employee’s current role and the trajectory they want their career to take.
But too often, companies provide an overwhelming amount of training courses. Latorre-Socas compared them to a restaurant menu with pages and pages of options. When there’s so much to sift through, you can’t be sure the choice you make is the right one.
Employees are eager to learn, but they need direction on which training might be useful for their career path. “I think that’s the next real piece where AI needs to play a critical role: weeding through the noise and getting you the content that matters, depending on where you want to go,” he commented.
The right learning and development program can help employees:
- Thrive and gain real-world experience
- Discover and cultivate the skills needed to progress with tailored courses
- Inspire growth and eliminate skills gaps for internal jobs
It’s also another area where strong data unification is needed, Tate added, so that new skills gained through courses are visible to recruiters and hiring managers. “If I’m going to go take a coding course, I want to know that the time and effort I put into taking that is going to pipe back into my employee experience platform so my managers can see that … I’m taking the time to upskill and level up,” he said.
5. Help employees build a NETWORK
Networking is a key aspect of career development, but for global organizations with a lot of remote workers, this can be a challenge — especially for new employees coming on board. According to a Gallop poll, only 36% of U.S. employees report being engaged in their work and workplace. And as Latorre-Socas noted, “If people don't know who to connect with, how do they actually find that someone to connect with?”
Here are the best ways to help employees network right now — with links to explore the tech that actually makes these methods easily attainable:
- Internal Events. Events (virtual or in person) are still one of the best ways to network. The ability to empower all employees to easily create and promote them will be priceless to future employee engagement.
- ERGs. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) help employees find co-workers who share similar interests so they can lean on each other and move important conversations forward. Tech that helps set up these virtual communities and makes meaningful connections among colleagues is invaluable to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives.
- Mentoring. Mentoring is not only a form of networking but a necessity for career pathing. Different mentors can serve different needs — and AI-based matching can now recommend the strongest match between mentor and mentee, helping each to develop a successful career trajectory.
6. Instill a sense of belonging through CONNECTIONS
Pre-pandemic, relationships were forged around the water cooler (or beer fridge and foosball table, depending on your company’s style). But what about companies with remote workforces?
Helping employees establish meaningful, one-on-one connections takes networking a step further. This leads to belonging — quickly becoming a major component of EX, Tate pointed out.
Unfortunately, SHRM reports that only 26% of leaders say that employee engagement and connection is a very important part of what they think about, plan, and do every day. So how can we change this?
By leveraging technology, employers can facilitate connections that aren’t strictly based on business, but are more personal. As Latorre-Socas noted, “It’s really connecting those individuals who have those similar ideas, similar preferences.” For example, Employee Experience innovator Tandemploy, who is now part of Phenom, offers a software feature called “Lunch Dates” where AI helps match colleagues and facilitate a meeting over lunch or a cup of coffee.
When organizations make it easier for employees to connect with people at work, especially through mentorship programs, belonging can really take root. Here are some of the benefits:
- Employees can be matched with best-fit mentors who will help them foster hard and soft skills
- Mentoring nurtures a culture of inclusivity and equity
- A trusted mentor can help employees track goals, progress, and objectives
When organizations make it easier for employees to find their people at work, belonging can really take root. “I think that’s really the next big leap for technology ... making those connections in a meaningful way,” Latorre-Socas revealed.
Ready to boost your employee experience? Book a demo today!