Prioritising employee experience: Attract, retain and motivate talent

For organisations to be successful, engaging with employees and understanding what they really want must be a priority.
By: | June 27, 2023

As organisations look to attract and keep the best talent, one key strategy is to engage with talent to build positive employee experiences and a strong workplace culture. Yet, many organisations struggle to implement effective employee experience strategies.

Devshree Bhatt, Senior People Scientist at Culture Amp, observed, “We’ve known entire roles and departments that have been created off the back of years of focus on customer experience. I think the pendulum has swung too far, and we have focused too much on our customers at the expense of our people.”

Bhatt was speaking at a recent webinar organised by Culture Amp and HRM Asia, titled Prioritising Employee Experience to Attract, Retain and Motivate Your Talent, where she and David Hickey, Executive Director of Meltwater, shared key insights into how CHROs can lead their teams to success with happier and more loyal employees.

Bhatt and Hickey identified seven moments that matter in the employee experience, or what employees encounter, observe, and feel over the course of their career journey. This starts during the recruitment drive, when the prospective talent converses with the recruiter during the interview. The next moment is the onboarding sequence, where the newly hired employee gets shown the ropes during the first day, including one-on-ones with their immediate managers.

The next two moments of engage and develop revolve around the interaction between the employee and their colleagues and mentors, with communication, support and developing themselves after receiving constructive feedback. These then lead into performance, where employees go through evaluation and promotion based on their performance aspects. Lastly, employees who wish to leave will experience exit interviews and become alumni of the organisation.

To discourage employees from leaving, organisations should continue to invest in employee experience, said Bhatt. This is particularly pertinent for high-performing employees who may become demotivated to stay in an organisation where there is less trust and collaboration between employees, and where they are less motivated.

“It’s really important that you get that motivation,” said Bhatt, as she acknowledged that not every organisation is in the position to offer everyone benefits, rewards and pay rises. “What you can lean on is the motivation for people to go above and beyond in their roles, while feeling like they’re growing and developing.”

Drawing on research by Culture Amp, Bhatt and Hickey also revealed that high-performing employees were motivated by receiving constructive feedback from managers and leaders, which helps to raise the sense of belonging in each employee. “Constructive feedback is critical to that, and I think people are thirsty for it. I think you need to provide the right environment to be able to deliver that feedback and provide the right training so that the feedback is coming in a constructive way,” explained Hickey.

In contrast, monetary compensation and benefits were ranked much lower in the list of priorities for motivated employees. “Again, a lot of leaders forget that sense of gratitude that demonstrates how people are important to a company’s success,” said Bhatt.

Organisations, thus, should prioritise recognition and appreciation for their employees over profits earned, as Hickey explained, “People are looking for a much more rounded offering from employers now. There is a deeper sense of appreciation that you need to find in an employer that can offer more than just a high-based salary.”

With over 920 million different data points across employee engagement and performance, Culture Amp is continuing to support HR teams and leaders from across the world create an environment where they can attract prospective new talent, as well as keep the great leaders and talent they already have.

Culture Amp also recognises the costs pressures organisations are under, with Bhatt sharing that 84% of HR executives and professionals often do not have the budget to invest in their technological needs. “Companies are going to have to function in tight economic times, but it’s really important that HR teams have the technology and the insights that tell them what they need to prioritise and saves them time.”

READ MORE: Creating a winning EX formula to retain your best talent

Meltwater, for instance, released a global survey at the end of 2021 to better understand the behaviour of employees across different regions in the world. Culture Amp studied the feedback collected and helped Meltwater understand the insights garnered by breaking it down into easy-to-understand pointers, later shaping the information into robust action items and initiatives.

In the long-term, these initiatives enhance the employee experience by allowing organisations to better understand employees, become more agile in what they offer, and allow employees to feel that their organisation is trying to understand and discern what is most important to them, Bhatt and Hickey concluded.