Kasey LynchOctober 25, 2023
Topics: Employee Experience

Unmasking the Evolution of Employee Satisfaction: What's Your Worth It?

On this episode of Talent Experience Live, Becki Feldmann, AVP Sr. Employee Experience Designer, explored the profound interplay of intention and purpose at work.

Discover why it’s critical to listen to team members and act on feedback to create high-trust, high-performing work environments (both in-person and remote) where team members care about their work — and each other.

Keep reading for the highlights, or watch the entire episode on demand below.

The importance of intention, purpose, and values 

“There are a lot of definitions of intention, and the one that I like best is purpose,” Feldman said. Once you’ve reflected on your purpose, you can start being more intentional about both personal and professional decisions. 

Identifying purpose starts with knowing your values. It’s also about figuring out what lights you up. Feldman shared a favorite quote: Do not ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that.

“It’s about intentionally living your gifts to serve the world in the best way possible. When you do something that you love, you end up having more to give,” she said. When employees are encouraged to tap into this at work, good things happen for engagement and retention. 

She should know. 

Along with 39 other women, Feldman was chosen to contribute a chapter to the book Intention (MDC Press, July 2023), part of the best-selling anthology series

In her chapter, “Stop Wishing, Start Doing,” she shares how personal and professional experiences have shaped her approach to finding purpose, setting and achieving goals, and creating the habits that have helped her succeed in and out of the workplace. 

Sharing stories has a positive ripple effect, Feldman says. The power of storytelling can:

  • Give others the courage to share their own stories

  • Inspire others to make positive changes 

  • Create better connections between people

“I think we need a whole lot more of that in our increasingly disconnected world,” she said. 

What has been a lasting impact of COVID on the employee experience? 

Feldman has observed that team members now evaluate life and work differently, seeking new ways to best integrate the two. People are more carefully considering how they spend their time, prioritizing what’s important to them rather than what’s expected of them.

In short, when it comes to work, people are asking, “Is it worth it?”

The best employers will tune in to their employees’ “worth it” and make adjustments to deliver on that. “It’s critical that we listen and we learn what team members want and need — what makes something ‘worth it’ for them. They’re willing to make changes because of it,” Feldman said.

What does “worth it” mean in the context of the employee experience, and why is it important for retention?

The “worth it” for many employees — especially younger generations — traces back to work-life integration. “We have some generational conflict popping up,” Feldman said. “Our newest generations in the workforce want to work to live, not live to work.     

These implications affect the broader employee experience as well as the finer details of HR, like how offers are negotiated. For example, making work worth it for many people now means:

  • Requesting more time off versus higher pay

  • Participating in more meaningful work

  • Having the ability to make decisions about where work is done

Employees will have individual “worth it” criteria as well. Feldman shared some of her own to illustrate: a culture where her ideas are respected and where people can build relationships.

“The team member experience matters now more than ever. Organizations that recognize this and take care of their team members [will see] greater retention, greater customer satisfaction scores, and also improved talent attraction efforts. Because the story people are hearing is that it’s worth it,” Feldman said.

Related: How This Retailer Increased Employee Retention With an Intelligent Talent Marketplace

Why is job crafting important?

Whenever possible, fostering the ability to “job craft” can benefit employees and organizations alike. involves recognizing the aspects of a job that invoke the most satisfaction — which typically tie into an employee’s strengths and values — and then tailoring job roles accordingly. 

“Job crafting is such an awesome way to re-engage with your work, to lean into your purpose within your current role if you can, or grow it into something else to deliver value to the organization and to fulfill who you are as a person. It’s a win-win for both the team member and the organization,” Feldman said. 

How can leaders and employees collaborate on career development? 

The key is to develop an ongoing listening strategy between managers and their direct reports to discover what makes employees come alive, and how to bring that into work. This requires team leaders to use relational skills that aren’t typically taught. 

These skills — listening, empathy, and transparency — help leaders uncover what direct reports need for sustained engagement with the organization. 

That level of connection is where the magic happens, Feldman said. “When our leaders build this connection with their direct reports, that’s when they’re able to help unlock potential in team members and help them feel seen, heard, and valued on an ongoing basis.” 

Related: 4 Ways to Support Employee Growth: Career Pathing Best Practices

How does purpose tie into the discussion around returning to in-person work? 

It’s undoubtedly one of today’s most volatile HR topics: asking employees to return to the office after years of remote work. The path forward depends on bridging the gap between decision-makers and employees, Feldman said — a challenge she’s observed is at the heart of discord surrounding this issue.

“Decision-makers need to empathize with what team members are potentially losing,” Feldman pointed out. For example, the freedom to integrate work and personal life; the ability of parents to be there for their kids after school; having time go for a run instead of commuting.

That puts the onus on organizations to make it “worth it” for employees to return on-site. “The in-office experience needs to change. We can’t expect team members to return to the office only to do what they were doing at home — spending their day in front of a desk on Zoom meetings,” Feldman said.

Encourage collaboration and in-person feedback, she urged, and create in-office moments that can’t happen at home. Check out by Chip and Dan Heath for more on this, Feldman suggested.

Here are some tactics she recommends for a smoother return to in-person work:

  • Bring employees into the conversation and listen to their concerns

  • Consider business needs alongside employee input

  • Make decisions based on the specific needs of individual workgroups

  • Communicate new policies as an invitation to re-connect and experience the value of in-person interaction

And, of course, continue to help employees find and fulfill their purpose at work. 

“What’s really amazing is when leaders tap into this need and this purpose that team members have, and help them find ways to live out their purpose at work. That’s when that magic happens. It’s a win for the individual and the organization.”    

Discover what else employees are looking for when it comes to their workplace experiences by downloading the 6 Elements for a Meaningful Employee Experience infographic now

Kasey Lynch

Kasey is a content marketing writer, focused on highlighting the importance of positive experiences. She's passionate about SEO strategy, collaboration, and data analytics. In her free time, she enjoys camping, cooking, exercising, and spending time with her loved ones — including her dog, Rocky. 

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