Devin FosterSeptember 10, 2021
Topics: Employee Experience

Building a Better Employee Experience From the Ground Up

With 55% of the workforce planning to look for a new job in the coming months — and 26% of employees believing they lost career development opportunities due to the pandemic — employers are at a tipping point.

So how can organizations change course to retain top performers and attract new talent? It’ll take a razor-sharp focus on the employee experience.

Phenom’s Jonathan Dale, VP of Marketing, and Devin Foster, Product Marketing Manager dove into critical steps employers need to take now to design a magnetic experience for their existing talent. Catch the full episode below and read on for highlights!

Think beyond wage increases

The labor shortage has prompted monetary incentives aimed at getting employees in the door, from $50 interview bonuses to $1,500 sign-on bonuses.

But industry experts agree: financial incentives alone aren’t enough to turn new hires into engaged employees who will stay.

“One thing I think [companies are] realizing is that employees today, and even candidates… want to feel like there’s a future in it for them, that it’s not a meaningless job or role,” Dale said.

The takeaway? It’s up to employers to show their current workforce and talent prospects that employee career development is as much a priority as turning a profit.

Related: A Candid Conversation with Ben Eubanks: What’s Working — and What’s Not — in Employee Experience

Employee experience: The essential building blocks

To build the kind of experience that will help companies survive the Great Resignation, employers need to act quickly in a few key areas:

Reinforce cultural alignment

Efforts to cement cultural alignment among existing employees go a long way toward improving retention.

“If an employee is truly aligned with the purpose of the company, with the mission of the company, with what the company does or stands for, that employee is going to be usually highly engaged and happy to stay,” Dale said.

Provide opportunities for learning, skills development, and career growth

“Human beings are just like any other living thing. They want to grow … and they’re going to grow where the most opportunities are,” Foster said.

That means providing upskilling and professional development that are absolutely critical, including:

  • Career pathing
  • Learning and development opportunities
  • Internal mobility, including gig work or short-term projects
  • Mentoring programs
  • Employee resource groups
  • A strong referrals program

It starts with asking employees about their goals – and how the company can help realize them. This can take place during one-on-ones with managers, and even during the interview process with candidates.

“Giving them a path and the technology to get there is only going to be fortuitous for both sides,” Foster said.

Operate with more empathy

Don’t underestimate the value of simple gestures that show employees they’re viewed as humans with individual needs, rather than just a job role.

“[Employees] … want to know that the company they’re working with is treating people with empathy, and understanding that these really are challenging times. They want some level of understanding,” Dale said.

Show employees they’re valued

Communicate to employees that their efforts are noticed and appreciated.

“You’re really reaching out to them and saying, ‘We care not only about you, but we care about the impact you’re having for this business … Thank you for spending your waking hours delivering what we need and working together to achieve what we need as a company,’” Dale said.

Blog: $15/Hr Isn’t Enough — What Candidates Really Want

Design the experience … and the intelligence

Employees are like consumers, Foster pointed out. They expect a personalized experience uniquely tailored to their goals and preferences — which is where technology plays a major role in supercharging everything.

“It’s no longer about a process. It really is about an experience. So now, to get the future of work going and build it, you have to design the experience, and you have to design the intelligence – and that’s where we start talking about AI technologies and how that fits in on top of your experience, or powering your experience,“ Dale said.

Technology helps organizations connect the essential activities that enable talent to grow and become more engaged.

The talent marketplace: Tie it all together for a unified experience

Learning and development, internal gigs, mentoring, employee resource groups … even though organizations might offer some or all of these, there’s often no easy way for employees to access them — much less leverage them to self-direct a career path.

But an AI-powered talent marketplace empowers employees to design a career path based on their interests, goals, and aspirations. And AI matching capabilities illuminate the internal resources available – mentorships, gigs, development courses, etc. – to build the skill sets they need to progress to that next level.

“This is how it starts taking pieces of what today is separate technology and putting them into one, designing an experience and really having an impact on that single employee. And if you can have an impact on that single employee, and they’re engaged and they’re aligned with you? They’re going to be really productive, they’re going to love working for you, feel connected with the brand, and have a future there,” Dale said.

Yet, many organizations face the challenge of cobbling together several different solutions to support the employee experience.

Phenom’s platform is designed to solve that, as Dale describes: “The beauty is how we connect all of this data, all of the different systems, all this separate technology together into a platform — and in the fabric of the platform is AI.”

Find out more here.

Read: Employee Experience : The Definitive Guide

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