Employee Experience in 2022

image: improved employee experience makes retention easier

Creating an Exceptional Employee Experience in 2022

We’ve all seen the signs – reduced operating hours due to staffing shortages, big incentives for prospective new employees, widened advertising for job openings, and more.  The employee scarcity and fierce labor market that many hoped would go away as the pandemic entered a new phase does not appear to be going anywhere. That’s why in 2022 employers need to double down on doing everything possible to retain the talent they already have in place and ensure they are cultivating an environment that new talent wants to be a part of. Showing employee appreciation goes a long way toward creating an exceptional workplace.

Change the Climate to Strengthen Your Culture

The new year offers employers an opportunity to take a deep hard look at their organization and whether it’s the kind of workplace that people are, and would be, excited to be a part of. Culture in the workplace is essentially the collection of belief systems, attitudes, values, and norms that employees share and that shape how work gets done. Questions that leaders should ask in assessing their workplace culture include:

  • How open and inclusive is our organization?
  • How well do we develop employees?
  • Are our values, goals, and objectives clearly communicated and shared by all?
  • How well do we create and demonstrate clear paths for growth and advancement?
  • Do employees feel genuinely appreciated and recognized for their contributions?
  • How flexible is our organization when it comes to work models and ensuring work-life benefits?
  • How does our overall employee experience and compensation stack up against competitors?

Leaders should understand that culture starts at the top and that it doesn’t change overnight. To change the culture, leaders first have to initiate actions and demonstrate behaviors that change the climate of the workplace. As these evolved ways of working with one another and new behaviors are practiced consistently over time, the climate becomes culture. A strong culture translates to satisfied, engaged, and productive employees and shines through to prospective new talent. The good news is that climate, via acting on answers to questions like those above, can change quickly. Let’s take a deeper look at a few of these areas that will be particularly important in 2022.

Employee Recognition and Employee Appreciation

Employee recognition and appreciation go hand in hand. When an organization shows that it genuinely values and is grateful for employees, it results in widespread positive outcomes. The Great Place to Work® Trust Index™ finds that effective employee recognition spurs innovation, makes employees feel promotions are fair, and makes extra effort a norm.

Employee recognition comes in many forms, including highlighting someone in a meeting, written praise, birthday and anniversary celebrations, or bonuses for certain achievements. It can also be something seemingly simple but deeply symbolic of care and appreciation. For example, grocery chain H-E-B sent certificates to employees and interim employees who worked during the elevated stages of the pandemic that thanked them for being “Texans Helping Texans.” This type of employee appreciation also ties the efforts back to the company’s values.

Employee Development

Employee development has taken on added importance since the onset of the pandemic as, in many cases, employees have found themselves in new and different roles by necessity. This can be a positive event if the employee is set up for success in their new or evolved role. Conversely, it could be a negative experience if the employee feels underprepared and unsupported. It’s important to remember that employee development is also about preparing an employee for what’s next – potentially bigger and even more impactful roles.

Leaders have a wide variety of levers they can pull to strengthen employee development initiatives, depending on where their programs’ shortcomings lie. Approaches may include job shadowing and rotation, formal mentoring and coaching, workshops, project assignments, and more. And in the now ever-present world of hybrid and remote work, virtual training and development offered by internal resources or externally by industry groups and outlets like LinkedIn and SkillShare will be especially helpful. For more on how leaders can make a big difference, read on!

Competitor Comparison

Employers must also be honest with themselves when it comes to how they stack up against their competition in the quest for talent. For instance, smaller companies that can’t offer certain benefits will have to offset that gap in other ways to put themselves in a better position. That could come in the form of increased base compensation, performance incentives, or perhaps in greater flexibility in work schedules.

Competitor comparisons should also examine how easy it is for someone to learn about and apply to your organization. Are job descriptions clear and constructed in a manner that communicates who a job is and isn’t for? Do prospective employees have to jump through any unnecessary or frustrating hoops in the application process? Are open positions being promoted in all relevant channels?

Build a Better Workplace in 2022

Building a better workplace today is not about bricks and mortar – it’s about creating and cultivating an environment that employees are proud to be a part of and that new talent is eager to join. For success in 2022 and beyond, leaders need to take a fresh look at their organizational culture and ensure their business is covering all of the bases that matter for an exceptional employee experience.

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vcfo is a professional services firm making companies stronger by bringing the wisdom and experience of senior level Finance, HR, and Recruiting executives to each client engagement. Our team of consultants guides CEOs and business owners in making strategic decisions, optimizing operations, and providing people support. If you are concerned about the competitiveness of your organization in attracting and retaining talent, consider reaching out to vcfo to have a conversation with one of our HR experts. You can partner with the vcfo team to support you in a wide variety of areas, including mentoring and coaching.

Since 1996, vcfo has supported more than 5,000 clients nationwide with offices in Austin, Dallas, Denver, and Houston.

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