Employee well-being and work-life balance have become important parts of an inclusive culture—and can serve as key differentiators for attracting and retaining talent.
A culture of inclusivity is critical to achieving a successful and thriving organization and the latest research shows getting there is closely tied to the employee experience.
What do we mean by the employee experience?
Gallup defines the employee experience as: “The journey an employee takes with your organization. It includes every interaction that happens along the employee life cycle, plus the experiences that involve an employee’s role, workspace, manager and wellbeing.”
Employee experience is not the same as employee engagement. Best-selling author and futurist, Jack Morgan, describes the difference as: “The same as the difference between updating a car by just painting the outside and replacing the entire engine. One method makes the car look nice, but the other actually improves its performance. Employee engagement is popular, but it’s a short-term fix. Employee experience is a long-term solution that addresses the core of major issues.”
Morgan goes on to say, “…employee experience looks at the workplace with a long-term view. Employee experience improves core practices around people and involves truly knowing your employees and giving them what they care about to create an environment where they are empowered and valued.”
Entering an era of human-focused company culture
From the rigid male-dominated hierarchies in the 1950s, to the rise of women in the 1970s, the morale-crushing downsizings of the 1990s and the 2000s tech startup focus on in-office collaboration, we are now in the 2020s, the era of human-focused company culture. According to LinkedIn’s 2022 Global Trends Report, “workers are now re-evaluating what matters most to them in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting employers to focus on the well-being and personal satisfaction of their employees.”
How a focus on the employee experience attracts and retains talent
LinkedIn’s report states: “Companies are adjusting their policies to ensure that employees feel cared about as human beings, not just as workers, making flexible work arrangements permanent, investing in wellness programs, and boosting their diversity and inclusion efforts. Employers and employees are building a new, more dynamic relationship based on trust and empathy.”
Mark Lobosco, VP of talent solutions at LinkedIn explains that “good work-life balance is the highest priority for job hunters, outweighing even excellent compensation and benefits.” LinkedIn research shows: “If employees feel cared for at work, they are 3.2 times more likely to be happy at work and 3.7 times more likely to recommend working for the company.”
Job postings that reference well-being are resonating for prospective hires. LinkedIn discovered a 73 percent increase in company posts about well-being since 2019, a 147 percent increase in the share of job posts that mention well-being, along with 5 percent more engagements with posts that mention well-being (with 41 percent more likely for women to engage with well-being company posts, compared to the average post).
Creating an inclusive culture means rethinking the employee experience
So how does an increased focus on the employee experience affect a company’s ability to create an inclusive culture? It means companies need to work that much harder. Not only are employees looking for a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment that fosters a sense of belonging, they now want their personal experience – their life as a whole – to be a top priority. And organizations are heeding the call. Recent research from Gartner indicates that…
The relationship between employee and employer has changed. Progressive organizations are shifting from an employee-centered value proposition to a human-centered value proposition that treats employees as people, not workers.
Progress in any area of the human deal can provide benefits that include:
- 28 percent increase in employees who are likely to recommend the organization by delivering deeper connections
- 40 percent increase in high performers by delivering radical flexibility
- 6 percent increase in intent to stay by delivering personal growth
- 7 percent increase in employees’ physical, financial and mental wellness by delivering holistic well-being
- 9 percent increase in employees who are highly likely to accept the job again by delivering shared purpose
PWC further reinforces the case that the employee experience isn’t just for employees, it is a major benefit for companies as well: “This isn’t simply organizational theory. We’ve seen companies that focus on the employee experience have lower staff turnover rates and higher productivity. To be clear, the goal of providing a strong employee experience isn’t to make your people feel warm and fuzzy. It’s to enable them to do their best work.”
8 steps to reshaping the employee experience
While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for companies, we can unpack this call-to-action and identify what employers can do to improve the employee experience, while keeping a focus on creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment.