What’s in this article
Gone are the days when ping-pong tables, foosball, beer taps, and yoga mats were considered essential workplace perks. With the rise of remote work, it's clear that these office luxuries can no longer compete with the true essentials: comprehensive career development and fair compensation plans. These foundational elements are now the cornerstone of the modern-day employee experience.
What used to work for the previous generation of employees doesn’t necessarily work for the new one. Millennials now make up 50% of the workforce — a number expected to be 75% by 2030. Companies need to pay attention to their Millennial and Gen Z employees, and adapt to changing trends and needs to ensure higher retention, loyalty and productivity.
In a world of virtual teams, high burnout rates and recognition incentives, how can employers ensure they are building an attractive work environment that delivers on what today’s employees value?
The future of work is all about employee experience
Companies are beginning to realize the importance of the employee experience and how it can serve as a strategic competitive advantage. With the modern-day workforce demanding a more engaging, inclusive, and fulfilling workplace, it's become essential for companies to focus on every aspect of the employee journey — from hiring to onboarding to career development.
A job-hopping survey shows that poor career development opportunities (which includes when companies aren't offering clear career paths) is one of the top reasons for employees to look for another job. However, the appetite is there — 78% of employees (4 out of 5) would be happy to learn new skills with their current employers.
Employees who feel supported in their career growth are more likely to stay with a company longer, resulting in lower turnover rates and increased productivity. The bottomline: ping-pong tables and free office swag are the empty-calorie snacks to the real employee development protein that modern day workers crave.
“[Employees] want to accomplish something in life, which means they want to progress in their jobs, and they want to achieve some sense of self-actualization, which is mission and purpose.”
— HR tech leader Josh Bersin
The connection between employee experience and business success
Building a positive employee experience is crucial to not only job satisfaction, but also overall success for both employees and the organization.
The employee experience is the sum total of everything an employee encounters when interacting with their organization, from recruiting to onboarding to performance management.
According to Forbes, companies with a strong employee experience 40% less turnover than competitors — and 4.6 times more productivity!
Employers must be committed to creating an environment where employees feel valued, supported, and empowered to succeed. By doing so, they’re not only improving company culture, but also boosting productivity and innovation. In the end, human capital will always be the greatest and most defensible economic engine.
6 pillars of the modern-day employee experience
What should employers consider about the modern-day employee experience? The idea is built around four key pillars:
- Skill and career development
- Internal mobility
- Overcommunication and visibility
- Role of the office (in a hybrid/remote context)
- Work-life balance
- Collaboration and teamwork
Skill and career development
Skill and career development is critical to meet the demands of an ever-changing world and to keep employees engaged and competitive. Clear pathing and goals, as well as gamification for engagement, are key elements to offer employees and keep them engaged.
From winning gold stars in kindergarten to scoring the most points playing video games as teenagers — we love measurable success. Skill mapping tools that offer different levels of star rating keep employees motivated to develop their skills.
Employees who have the opportunity to continuously develop their skills by accessing training, mentorship and opportunities for career growth are more engaged, motivated, and have higher job satisfaction. As the employer, you can be the hero that reminds them the world is their oyster. How powerful is that?
Those who get it, get it.
Airbnb has a strong focus on employee development and growth, offering a range of training and career advancement opportunities to help employees grow their skills and advance their careers. Through these programs, employee engagement, satisfaction and performance improved — No wonder the company keeps being voted as one of the best employers to work for!
Working hand in hand with skill and career development, internal mobility is important to help employees take their careers to the next level and stay loyal to their employer. By allowing employees to upskill and make lateral moves within the organization (think cross-onboarding) and work on projects outside of their departments, they enhance their knowledge, get exposed to new peers and mentors, and develop a more T-shaped skill set.
Employees can be more empowered, able to identify areas for improvement and work on acquiring new skills that will make them more valuable to the organization. This leads to higher job satisfaction and a better work-life balance, as employees feel empowered to take control of their own professional growth.
A T-shaped skillset is the perfect balance of versatility and expertise. It combines a broad range of general skills with deep expertise in one specific area. T-shaped skillsets bring a well-rounded understanding and a specialized perspective to problem solving, making employees highly valuable to their teams.
Overcommunication and visibility
Overcommunication and visibility are crucial to ensure that every team member involved is informed and engaged — especially in this hybrid and remote work era. It's important to recreate organic information exchanges as much as possible, communicating more rather than not enough to ensure every stakeholder is engaged and on the same page.
Slack, our favorite chat channel (we love the GIFs features!) analyzed the importance of connection at work. 98% of employees report wanting to feel close to their colleagues and 31% believe communication tools should be made a priority.
The role of the office in a hybrid and remote era
The role of the office must be redefined in the hybrid and remote era. Instead of serving as just a place to work, the office should become a community builder and campus, providing employees with a place to collaborate, connect, and grow.
Companies like WeWork, Google, and Amazon are great examples of this, creating offices that serve as hubs for their employees' professional and personal growth — allowing for flexible remote work schemes, but hosting big meetings and social gatherings under a shared roof.
Balancing work and life is a challenge for any professional, but studies show it's essential for employee well-being and job satisfaction in the short and long term. While a majority of people consider themselves workaholics, 72% factor in work-life balance when looking for a new job.
There are many ways employers can support work-life balance via flexible working arrangements, including remote work options and flexible schedules:
- Flexible Scheduling: Offering employees the option to work flexible hours that better align with their personal life can help improve work-life balance.
- Remote Work: Allowing employees to work from home or another remote location can be a great way to give them more control over their work environment and reduce the stress of commuting.
- Unlimited Time Off: Some companies have implemented an unlimited time off policy, allowing employees to take the time off they need to recharge, reduce stress, and maintain a healthy mind and body.
- Mental Health Days: Encouraging employees to take mental health days to prioritize their mental well-being and reduce stress can help improve bandwidth and capacity.
- Employee Assistance Programs: Providing access to counseling, wellness programs, and other resources can help employees navigate personal stress to improve their mental and emotional well-being at work.
- Health and Wellness Initiatives: Providing on-site gyms, healthy snack options, and other wellness initiatives can help employees stay active, healthy, and reduce stress.
- Career Development Programs: Providing training and professional development opportunities can help employees grow in their careers and feel more fulfilled.
Collaboration and teamwork
Collaboration and teamwork are critical components of a successful work environment. From regular team-building activities to open communication channels, companies need to create a workplace where employees feel heard and valued.
Diversity and inclusivity are also key to promoting collaboration and innovation, pooling from a variety of talent with complementary skill sets to create even more dynamic and effective teams.
The future of employee experience is skills-based
With the rise of remote work and hybrid models, the need to focus on employee satisfaction and engagement has become more pressing than ever. And, let’s be honest — modern day employees want to continuously grow in their career to feel engaged and fulfilled. A skills-based approach makes it a win-win for both the organization's bottom line and the employee's personal growth.
Employee experience is the secret of the Caramilk when it comes to talent development and retention.
Anchoring the employee experience around a skills-based approach is key to unlocking employees' full potential and fostering deeper engagement across the organization — making employees feel like they are in the driver seat of their own careers.
Skill and career development, internal mobility, communication and visibility, and the rethinking of the office must be at the forefront of the employee experience strategy if you want to succeed in this new digital era.
Mapping the way forward with Workleap Skills
At Workleap, we understand the importance of this and have built a career development platform that helps employees build their skills, grow in their careers, and collaborate more effectively with their colleagues.
With our platform, your company can take the employee experience to the next level and create a dynamic, engaging, and fulfilling workplace for their employees. Book a demo with us today and see how you can start building a more resilient, agile, and engaged workforce — your future self will thank you!