The Review — 07/03/2018 at 14:30

How to attract and retain the best talent? Improve your employee experience



Employee experience in the workplace has centre taken stage. Look through a list of new corporate titles and jobs and “employee experience” will be present. Why is this becoming so prevalent? Because companies need to up their game to attract and retain top talent as competition for the best talent continues to heat up. Employee experience can play a huge role in giving your company the upper hand.

Another reason why employee experience is so crucial is because the demographic of the workforce has changed drastically. Millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce and millennials want experiences. They see opportunities everywhere and they want the ability to move in a number of different directions and pursue different learning opportunities. Recent studies have shown that 90% of millennials believe that development is important at work and the overwhelming majority say a better quality of life at work is more important than a bigger salary. Millennials are more productive and enjoy their work more when they are provided with more engaging work experiences.

So how can your company elevate the employee experience to keep the entire workforce engaged? Here are three key ways:

Be Proactive and Welcoming About Opportunities

Most companies advertise job listings to existing employees. But just promoting the vacancies internally isn’t really enough anymore. Companies who are excelling in this space empower their workers by educating them on what it will take to make the next internal career move. Not just the list of skills or years of experience but the actual path they can follow and how they can acquire the necessary skills.

What is also helpful is to showcase how other employees have advanced at the company. Knowing how long it took others to move from one job to another, or what skills and training helped a person move into their current role, is the kind of insight that equips employees with the information and tools to mimic a career path of a high performer, for instance, or someone whose landed where they want to be.

This kind of unofficial mentoring is more easily carried out in small companies where everybody knows everybody. As companies grow, it gets harder and employees may not even know who in the company has gone before them.

The biggest risk you face is that if you don’t encourage optionality, you may lose your star employees to other companies who do.

Inspire Employee Growth and Development

Education and learning play a big role in a millennial’s life and, for workers of all ages, learning and growing should never stop. Unfortunately, the bulk of learning tends to be company learning systems that employees need to complete to remain up-to-date with their job. That kind of learning isn’t going to cut it anymore. Millennials are looking for ways to learn, develop, and progress as fast as possible and providing a system where they can learn true skills that will help them advance in their careers is a necessity. To ignite interest, drop the “how to do your job” approach to learning and pick up the “access what interests you” approach. Create personalised learning tools for employees that suggests topics, hot areas of interest, or logical next steps. That kind of employee experience is going to garner fantastic returns for your employees and your business.

Practice What You Preach

For any of this to work, everyone from senior leaders to people managers need to embrace the idea of elevating the employee experience. This mindshift means no more pressing employees for their five-year plans. Instead, managers need to think of themselves more as coaches who develop employee skills and help employees move into new roles.

One often overlooked benefit from increased internal mobility is that it gives employees deeper insight into other parts of the company. That can improve the ability of teams from different departments to collaborate and work together toward the same goals.

The three approaches outlined here will lead to more engaged workers of all ages, and companies that provide rich workplace experiences, not just jobs, will keep all talent around longer—even millennials.

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