Evolving Workforces

Keep Your Talent Happy: Three Keys to Elevating the Employee Experience

January 27, 2022 7 Minute Read

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A great employee experience is essential to cultivating an inclusive and engaging workplace.

What Is the Employee Experience?

Employee experience (or EX) is how an individual perceives the entirety of their time at an organization: onboarding, engagement with the business, satisfaction in their roles, support from leadership, the exit process—these factors all contribute to how a person perceives their job and company culture. According to research analyst Gartner’s recent study, organizations that understand and emphasize the value of a positive employee experience don’t just have happier workers—they also see higher rates of employee retention and tend to provide more opportunities for professional development.

The experience of a company’s workers impacts business performance. Unhappy or disengaged employees contribute less and aren’t as invested in the growth of the organization, meaning employers should seek new opportunities for supporting their people’s long-term success. According to author and futurist Jacob Morgan, businesses that heavily invest in EX are 11.5 times more likely to be listed as one of Glassdoor’s best places to work, more than twice as likely to be on Forbes’ list of the world’s most innovative companies and four times more profitable than organizations that neglect key employee-focused investments.

The concept of employee experience has developed over several decades, with employers beginning to consider how to boost worker performance throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Much of the initial concerns revolved around providing workers with basic essentials and improving productivity in office environments. However, companies feel an imperative to meet employees’ increased desire for more flexible work options, which requires strategies that go beyond trying to boost output. 

These three keys—flexibility, compassionate leadership and technological innovation—will help companies retain their best employees and boost overall profitability.


Due to modern hybrid working arrangements and the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, many workers come into the workplace only occasionally, if at all. This evolution has shifted employer focus from productivity to flexibility: creating a comprehensive experience that meets employee needs regardless of their physical location. 

Hybrid work emphasizes flexibility and offers employees an opportunity to work more autonomously. However, leaders must also consider whether they are keeping their people engaged, especially if their team is distributed or entirely remote. As new generations enter the workforce, demographic changes and increased economic volatility are driving businesses to consider a more holistic approach to supporting their team, enabling employers to attract and retain quality talent in the age of "The Great Resignation." To entice top candidates, positive employee experiences and compassionate leadership must remain differentiating factors for future-focused companies.

Compassionate Leadership

A key driver of the contemporary workplace is a personalized experience that seeks to understand the needs and preferences of individual employees. As companies adapt to disruption and evolution, understanding the impact of these pandemic-induced changes on the wellbeing and productivity of workers is vital for future success. 

A diverse workforce has an assortment of perspectives, worldviews and individual needs. To best support employees and deliver more engaging experiences, leaders should strive to understand how your employees are showing up and what kind of support they require in their roles. Greg Pryor, Executive Director at Workday, points out the importance of embracing and appreciating the varying situations and circumstances your employees face:
Some employees may be parents or caregivers, and some may be feeling worker fatigue while others are itching to return to the office. These are all different contexts and it’s important for you, as leaders, to understand your people’s unique situations so you can create and deliver better, more personalized experiences for them.
Greg PryorExecutive Director, Workday
Pryor points to streaming services and music platforms that deliver highly individualized content to each consumer as a blueprint. 

Technological Innovation

Like Spotify, YouTube and other streaming platforms, property technology allows business leaders to cultivate an ideal experience for their people by discovering which workplace services and amenities are successful and why. Leaders use these tools to gather utilization data, learn from the insights and create actionable plans to support long-term employee needs and preferences.

Companies can leverage property technology to achieve and automate similar successes around employee satisfaction. For example, companies and investors have emphasized employee health in physical spaces for years, but the pandemic forced business leaders to rethink their overall approach to wellness. By utilizing technologies like sensors to track building occupancy or workplace apps to streamline desk reservation and social distancing, organizations can work toward making their operations more anticipatory, dynamic and focused on employee wellbeing. 

While ensuring a seamless experience that empathizes with the needs of individuals is important, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Employers now have the technological ability to scale and provide personalized experiences based on real data, which means companies that are intentional about employee satisfaction can make informed decisions to mitigate turnover and fatigue, better understand what their people require and help them be at their best.

Companies have an unprecedented opportunity to design and deliver quality experiences for their people through flexibility, compassionate leadership and technological innovation. Approaching employee experience with care and purpose will allow businesses to grow and retain their best workers in the years to come. As the workforce becomes more distributed and hybrid work is normalized, organizations without a strong plan to enhance the employee experience risk losing their best people and falling behind their competitors.

An iteration of this article was originally published on the CBRE Host blog.


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