Employee experience to show your people the purpose in what they do23.08.22
People are searching for caring employers that will support them through difficult times. Now is the time to deliver an employee experience that gives them what they need
Chief Innovation Officer
The long-lasting effects of the global downturn in 2008, the Covid-19 pandemic and now the cost-of-living crisis are making people – particularly the under 40s, who have suffered particularly badly economically over the past few years – demand a new narrative from employers about their purpose and why they’re worth working for.
The employee experience takes centre-stage
At the European Pharmaceutical Market Research Association (EphMRA) annual conference this week, I emphasised the important of the employee experience in meeting employees’ evolving requirements and helping organisations to attract, retain and nurture them.
A great experience, which has employee wellbeing at its heart, is critical for today’s employees. And employers are responding to this by redesigning their employee experience to focus more on fairness and equality; they see employee wellbeing as crucial to sustaining operations. Fair pay and treatment, wellbeing, sustainability, social impact, diversity and ownership are all playing out in this new employee experience.
Employees now want and expect to work for an employer who takes care of them and their wellbeing. It’s now the number one priority for jobseekers. It’s also one of the five strategic priorities that HR leaders identify as critical for today’s hybrid workplace (along with employee experience, agile work practices, digitisation of HR, and diversity, equality and inclusion).
But it’s not all one-way traffic. Research by McKinsey & Company shows that employees who get the purpose they want from their work enjoy better outcomes in and out of the workplace than their less satisfied colleagues. Generally, they report having more energy, resilience and satisfaction; at work, they report being more satisfied, committed and engaged and achieving more – all good news for the bottom line.
4 steps to success
There are four things that you can begin doing straight away to show that your organisation provides meaningful, purposeful work within a caring and compassionate environment – and that they should bring their talents to you rather than the competition.
The first, of course, is to show them their purpose by talking about yours. Communicate your values and mission clearly, engagingly and regularly, so they can see how their purpose aligns with yours. The more closely the two align, the more satisfied and productive your people will be.
The second is to share your stories and engage your people in telling them. A great way to achieve step one is to tell engaging stories about your organisation and the good it does, whether internally for its employees or externally for the wider community. When employees see for themselves what your purpose looks like in action, it becomes easier for them to connect with you.
The third is to put collaboration for good at the heart of what you do. This sits at the core of compassionate capitalism – as DeVos made clear in his book, doing good (compassion) is the ultimate aim of capitalism, not profit – so it must sit at the heart of your organisation, too, if you want to attract and retain the best talent.
And the fourth is to prioritise employee wellbeing. This is enormously important, because employees struggling with the challenges of the last couple of years are looking to their employers for support. Put your benefits programme to work with options that are useful, tailored and user-friendly; whether it’s free financial education, access to mental health support, or opportunities to save money, find out what your people need and deliver it.
This is a huge opportunity to support your employees and give them a sense of purpose at a crucial time. Your investment in their wellbeing and in delivering an exceptional employee experience will produce a significant return for everyone.
Gethin is an award-winning psychologist who has been helping some of the world’s largest organisations to improve their employee experience and wellbeing for more than two decades. The last 11 years have been spent working as part of the senior leadership team at Benefex where Gethin leads thought leadership as Chief Innovation Officer.
As a frequent writer and speaker on employee experience and employee wellbeing, Gethin has been featured in Forbes, The Guardian, The Sun, The Huffington Post and The Financial Times as well as all major HR, Reward and Pensions publications. Gethin has been listed as one of the world’s top 101 Global Employee Experience Influencers for the last two years running, is listed on the Employee Engagement Powerlist, is one of LinkedIn’s top global contributors and an Inspiring Leader 2021. Gethin is also a regular keynote speaker, ex-Chair of Wellbeing at the UK Government-backed Engage for Success and a Fellow at the RSA.
In 2018, Gethin published his first book - the HR bestseller ‘A World of Good: Lessons From Around the World in Improving the Employee Experience’, which has gone on to inspire HR and Reward teams at some of the world’s best known brands. In early 2022, Gethin co-authored his second book ‘Das Menschliche Büro - The Human(e) Office’ a collaboration between leading academics and workplace professionals from across Europe. In October 2022, Gethin published his “third” book ‘A Work In Progress: Unlocking Wellbeing to Create More Sustainable and Resilient Organisations’ which also became an immediate bestseller.