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It’s the employee experience you’ve been waiting for!

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Those with an ear to the ground in HR are warning that the Great Resignation is no longer looming — it’s here. Which means as far as retaining talent and reducing turnover goes, the time to start thinking about your employee experience is yesterday.

Why is employee experience at the heart of the Great Resignation? Because as the pandemic settles, a huge number of valued employees are poised to quit their jobs and search for a new one. If, that is, they feel that doing so will deliver the work environment and quality of life they want.


Employees leaving? Check out the other pieces in our employee retention series:


What do today’s employees want from an employer?

For many, the remote work that became synonymous with the pandemic offered a taste of a different kind of life — one with less time spent commuting, and more autonomy over when and where they work. Many noticed a boost in both mental and physical health that stemmed from not being stuck in an office from 9-5. Some experienced a new connection with family. And — as often happens during a recession — others used their time and energy to build new skills with the intention of leaving a stale career behind to forge their own path. After all, a start-up is worth the hard work if it means freedom. 

The tl;dr: There are many reasons people are making a change, but there’s one constant — they’re doing it now, and in record numbers. 

In April 2021, a record 4 million people resigned from their employers. A survey conducted by Monster in June 2021 suggests that a staggering 95% of workers are considering leaving their current job. 92% of them are willing to find a new job by switching industries. 

Now, stop for a moment, and imagine what those kinds of numbers would look like at your company. 

Despite the 11 million people still unemployed, with 9.3 million jobs open, it’s undoubtedly an employee’s market. What’s the bottom line? As human resources leaders, finding and keeping employees (especially top performers) is our number one priority

How do we do it? By building an unbeatable employee experience.


What is employee experience?

Employee experience (or EX for short) refers to the sense of connection an employee has with their work and with their company — their sense of fulfillment in day-to-day projects; their relationships with co-workers and management; and their company’s culture, values, and mission. 

EX starts as early as the application and onboarding process, and continues through to the final exit interview. When employees have an overall positive experience with their work and company, they’re happier and more productive. And when they don’t — especially in an employee-driven job market -— they leave.


Does employee experience actually matter?

Uhhh…yeah.

Recently, Arrowhead Credit Union saw a 49% reduction in employee turnover when leadership invested in retention efforts by prioritizing the credit union’s employee experience. By focusing on improving company culture through boosting employee recognition and rewards, they dropped their turnover by nearly half. Half!

So how can you build the kind of EX that makes employees want to stick around? We’re so glad you asked.


The four pillars of the employee experience

An effective employee experience is built on these four pillars:

Connection

The distance imposed by the pandemic put a major dent in many workers’ sense of connection to their companies and their co-workers. And now, it’s time to rebuild bridges. 

Connected employees are far more likely to stick around. If you’re interested in keeping your team, work hard and fast at cultivating a sense of belonging, both to other team members and also to the company’s mission and values. Celebrate anniversaries and birthdays, organize team-building and social events, encourage a culture of celebration for achievements and gratitude for a job well done. Facilitate affirmation that flows both vertically and horizontally.

Ramp up communication about why your work matters. What does it give to the community, to individuals, to the environment, to the human experience? How does it make the world a better place? Connecting employees to a bigger mission makes it harder for them to pick up the phone when that recruiter calls.

Performance 

People thrive when goals are clear, when they understand what success looks like, and when it’s easy to decide what to spend time on. But shockingly, only about half of employees report knowing what’s expected of them at work. 

Most of us are looking for individualized levels of support in goal setting, as well as continuous performance management that helps us grow. That means plenty of check ins, open communication, constructive feedback, and increased options for mentoring. In fact, workers who receive feedback each week are 4.6 times more likely to be engaged than those who don’t. 

Those who are engaged are more likely to succeed, and those who succeed are more likely to stay.  

 

Appreciation

Seventy-nine percent of employees who quit their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as the reason. In a survey of 613 employers, those with a recognition system had a 13% lower turnover rate. And in this job market, that could be a major game changer.

When you consider the cost of replacing even one departing employee (which some estimate to be as high as 250% the employee’s yearly salary), the importance of appreciation is clear.  When an employee begins to feel that their work isn’t noticed or valued, burnout follows — and the risk of reduced retention soars. 

Fortunately, as we noticed with Arrowhead Credit Union, the opposite also holds true — consistent, heartfelt appreciation can slash turnover rates by nearly half. In a Gallup poll, only 1 in 3 employees “strongly agreed” that they’d received recognition or praise in the past seven days! This behavior alone could set you apart in the race to retain top talent.

 

Growth

When work feels like a dead end, we get frustrated, unfulfilled, bored — even anxious. Engagement goes down, we check out, and we begin to search for more exciting opportunities elsewhere. 

To keep top talent, your team needs a chance to develop new skills and take on new challenges. They need to see that you’re willing to nurture, prioritize, and invest in their personal career advancement.

In short, great workers who aren’t allowed to grow, will go.


Next steps and resources

Have we made our case? The Great Resignation is here, and the new war for talent has begun. In the future of work, those who hire and retain the best people will win. And if you like the sound of that, let’s talk.

At WorkTango, we’re revolutionizing how the world’s most forward-thinking companies engage and inspire their people. We offer the only Employee Experience Platform that enables meaningful recognition and rewards, supports alignment through goal setting and feedback, and offers actionable insights through employee surveys.

WorkTango is built for the workplace we all want to be a part of – where priorities become clear, achievements are celebrated, and employees have a voice. So if you’re ready to improve (work) lives, schedule a demo today.