According to HR thought leader, Josh Bersin, the pandemic “changed recruitment overnight, and the subsequent ‘Great Resignation’ has led employees across industries to reevaluate their careers, prioritize their wellbeing, and, in many cases, make big life changes [that] … often include leaving their jobs.”
Today’s war for talent is tied directly to this shift in employee expectations and priorities. In a survey conducted in the spring of 2021, HiBob found that 36 percent of today’s workforce is prepared to quit if their employers refuse to meet demands surrounding flexibility and hybrid work. HR Executive found that the percentage rises to 76 percent in the technology and business sectors.
To stay competitive, organizations must prioritize fostering a company culture that puts DE&I, flexibility, and employee health and wellbeing first. It’s up to HR leaders to drive initiatives that put employee experience at the top of the agenda.
But, getting executive buy-in when it comes to prioritizing employee benefits and experience can be a huge challenge. HR leaders should consider these three points when strategizing initiatives to land employee experience on the executive agenda to make things easier.
Craft a remarkable employee experience
First, you need to decide what your company’s employee experience will look like. It’s more than just healthcare benefits and per diem allowances. It’s about the culture employees participate in every day at work.
Great company cultures focus on the “human” in people management and make employees feel comfortable and free to be themselves. For example, Millennials and Gen Z employees typically want a culture where historically taboo topics, like mental health, are openly discussed. These forums and support resources can include flexible schedules and company-sponsored clubs, and after-work activities where people can bond and get to know each other better.
You can write this all straight into your official company policy. This can help ensure employees feel supported and have the resources (including safe spaces) to discuss their concerns without being afraid of termination. A corresponding code of conduct can help further support this kind of culture with details on how all employees, managers, and executives can practice empathy, inclusivity, and fairness every day.
Get buy-in from the executive team
Great company culture starts at the top.
Employees increasingly want work cultures that inspire and managers who are kind and compassionate. But, even when organizations have the right people in leadership positions, challenges arise when employees’ priorities don’t align with those of the executive team. If companies don’t meet their demands, employees will quit and take their talent with them. Recruiting new top talent is getting harder every day because of this.
Ultimately, it’s up to HR leaders to prove how critical investment in culture is to the health and success of the company to C-suite executives, the board, and other key stakeholders. HR leaders must leverage qualitative and quantitative data to demonstrate the direct correlation between investing in employee experience and increased employee engagement, productivity, and retention.
Collect people data to gain actionable insights
Showing a significant increase in employee engagement, productivity, and retention is critical to getting executive buy-in. The key is to collect data and use the facts to demonstrate an impressive ROI. But what kinds of data should you collect, and how do you start?
Gather data on employee engagement, productivity, and retention. Document the costs in both time and budget. If you don’t have an HR tech or people analytics tool yet, you can always use low-cost or free tools like Google docs or Microsoft Excel to collect your data.
Once you know how you’ll collect your data, create a survey asking employees what they want their company culture to look like: What would make them happier at work? Is it different ways of communicating, getting more recognition, or changing the management style? Do they want more or other kinds of benefits (e.g., gym and childcare stipends, lower healthcare premiums), team activities, etc.?
Create an initiative
Based on the initial employee survey, craft a pilot program that defines the company’s new core values, incorporates new activities and benefits, and shifts the culture in a direction inspired by employee feedback.
Test your initiative
Run your new program for six to nine months with a small group of between 20 and 50 employees. Be sure to continuously collect data on employee engagement, satisfaction, retention, and productivity.
Collect data again and analyze
Give employees another survey at the end of the pilot program to get direct feedback about their experience. Measure your data against your retention, employee engagement, and productivity levels. Determine how this correlates with performance outcomes.
Make a plan
Use your HR tech tool to synthesize what you’ve learned from your people data into actionable plans that managers, HR leaders, and executives can use to make informed decisions around building a remarkable employee experience.
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Pitch your initiative
Finally, present your proposal to your C-suite executives and other stakeholders. Wow them with the data you’ve gathered from your research and highlight the incredible ROI investing in employee experience can yield. Show them how you did it with a breakdown of a new company policy and code of conduct.
Now that you have data to back you up, it’s a great time to propose a budget for adopting HR tech or people analytics tools. Tools like these will not only make your life as an HR leader easier, but they can help further increase ROI by encouraging employee engagement and automating data collection and analysis.
The bottom line: Use data to get employee experience on the executive agenda
The most successful modern companies prioritize a healthy and inclusive company culture that delivers remarkable employee experiences. According to Gallup, companies with the right leadership “double the rate of engaged employees, [and] achieve, on average, 147% higher earnings per share than their competition.”
To get C-suite executives and other stakeholders to take revamping your company’s employee experience seriously, HR leaders must demonstrate its value and ROI with the right combination of qualitative and quantitative data. Lower attrition rates, higher engagement, and increased productivity and earnings will speak for themselves.