Kasey LynchDecember 21, 2022
Topics: Employee Experience

Successful Strategies for Engaging and Retaining Your Employees

First, there was quiet quitting. Then came productivity paranoia

These 2022 headline-grabbers may come with a lot of hype, but they form the basis of a very real truth: Research shows organizations that fail to engage employees by investing in learning and treating them with respect risk losing the race for talent. 

In 2023, securing employee engagement means more than providing a list of internal job openings, a hodge-podge of training courses, or a lip-service approach to DEIB. From what we see at Phenom, organizations that are nailing engagement and the employee experience are focusing on:

  • Upskilling through everyday learning opportunities

  • Creating an inclusive culture where employees feel safe being themselves

  • Making internal mobility opportunities more accessible and transparent for everyone

  • Leveraging data and tech to drive a more streamlined, personalized employee experience 


This season on Talent Experience Live, we discussed all things employee experience with amazing guests from Degreed, Granite Construction, and Newell Brands. Keep reading to catch the highlights and learn about the top strategies these brands use to boost employee engagement.

Building a Positive Learning Culture with Degreed 


According to research from IBM, job skills have a half-life of about 5 years. It’s even shorter for some technical skills. 

By now it’s apparent that people want to learn and level up their skills. The big challenge? Giving employees the freedom to learn the right skills in real-time, and then apply them for noticeable growth.

“When people think about learning in the context of work, we’re conditioned to think about training – a teacher in front of a classroom, or a course,” said Todd Tauber, SVP of Strategy at Degreed, an employee learning platform.

Degreed is built on the recognition that a lot of growth and development happens on a day-to-day basis, Tauber said. 


“[It’s] through things like reading, watching videos, listening to podcasts, and connecting with communities. That’s called everyday learning. And that experience is largely missing from L&D.”

Give employees control over upskilling


A platform like Degreed helps employees take an intentional, focused approach to upskilling, using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to make tailored recommendations according to the employee’s real-time needs and goals. 

According to Tauber, integrating a Talent Marketplace platform that manages internal mobility opportunities is a critical value-add. “When [employees] can see how the learning connects to the opportunities, that gets them excited,” he said, increasing usage and ROI. 

As for the future of L&D? Tauber sees data taking a leading role to help make sense of the voluminous content that’s been at center stage for the past several years. 

“On its own, [content] is not enough to do what we want it to do anymore. People are drowning in too much content. What’s exciting is the way organizations are starting to think about putting data to work through AI and ML … to create new kinds of experiences.”


Watch the full episode with Tauber here for more.

How Granite Construction is Planting the Seeds for Inclusivity and Belonging


Learning is a critical element of the employee experience, just like engagement is important to fostering a culture of inclusivity and belonging.

Jorge Quezada, Vice President of People and Culture at Granite Construction, joined TXL to discuss how his company practices inclusive diversity for ALL employees, from back-office knowledge workers to frontline laborers on job sites.

That means applying inclusivity to all current employees as well as creating an environment that attracts the diverse talent they plan to recruit in the future.

Here are a few other pillars of Granite’s approach to DEI&B:

Practice “Safety for All.” This is one of Granite’s core values, and it means more than physical safety for construction workers. “It extends beyond physical safety,” Quezada said. “In order for us to have that physical safety, there has to be a level of trust, collaboration, and understanding.”

Why S
Learn by unlearning. If you’re human, you’re biased — it’s how our brains are wired to learn. A big part of DEI&B involves unlearning, according to Quezada. “Everything about inclusive diversity is about helping people unlearn what they’ve learned, relearn, and then help them feel comfortable [with the process]. Because this work is always evolving.” 

Keep the conversation going. DEI&B commitments have to live and breathe; they can’t be trapped in a text box on the career site or on a plaque in the lobby. Quezada believes the companies that keep the discussion at the forefront consistently will be the ones that attract diverse talent. “That’s how companies will be defined in the future — by the environments we create, the environments we sustain.”

And how can organizations leverage technology to support DEI&B? One way is to use a Talent Marketplace platform to magnify ERGs — especially critical for enterprise organizations with distributed workforces.

View the full episode featuring Jorge Quezada here.

How Newell Brands Illuminates Internal Mobility with a Talent Marketplace


Employees need a clear path toward career growth at their workplace, which can be easier said than done — particularly for large enterprise organizations. 

As the parent company of household names like Coleman, Crockpot, Rubbermaid, and Yankee Candle, Newell Brands has no shortage of internal opportunities for employees. The challenge is creating a simplified internal mobility experience that employees will engage with, according to Ashley Blackmore, Newell’s Director of North America Talent Acquisition & Operations. 

“When you have 29,000 employees … how do you make it constantly visible so they know the opportunities exist, and they can go after them?”


Prioritizing internal mobility represents a sea of change for Newell, which traditionally focused more on external candidates, Blackmore said. The company chose Phenom Employee Experience and Talent Marketplace to improve visibility and dynamic personalization so employees could better navigate internal opportunities.

Blackmore worked strategically to shift the cultural mindset around internal mobility which has been critical to the successful adoption of the platform. That involved getting the right people on board. “That’s key, getting your key stakeholders as well as your leaders of HR very engaged in how to approach this as a culture,” she advised.

Referrals are one of the biggest areas Newell has seen ROI, using the platform to market campaigns that boosted referral numbers with increased bonuses, contests, and swag giveaways.

Get more on Newell’s internal mobility transformation. Watch Ashley Blackmore’s full interview here.


Join us for Talent Experience Live in 2023 for a brand-new season on recruiter efficiency. Get notifications about upcoming episodes.


Bonus on-demand employee experience events 


That may be a wrap on TXL’s employee experience season, but there’s much more to explore from Phenom:

Experience Phenom: Talent Marketplace


Traditionally, organizations view Talent Marketplace technology as a way to connect employees with internal job openings. That’s still critical. But a truly effective Talent Marketplace includes a range of opportunities that help employees not only advance their careers but also stay engaged with the organization.

“In every industry, we know the strongest companies are those investing in employee growth,” said Jess Elmquist, CHRO, Phenom. “We need to make sure we have a dynamic mission and purpose, that we’ve created the values, and ultimately, have a platform where employees know that they can engage, plan their career, and make a home in our organization, long-term.”


Access sessions and product demos showing how to build a more resilient, capable workforce. Watch on-demand here


Fireside Chat: Turning Skills-based Talent Mobility into Reality


With Effie Gikas, Sr. Director, Enterprise Talent Enablement, Cigna, and Josh Bersin, industry analyst and thought leader, this fireside chat was full of insight and strategies that can help your organization leverage skills intelligently.

Learn why adopting a skills-based approach is the way of the future and get the inside story on Cigna’s transformation to a skills-based organization in this SHRM-accredited webinar.

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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