As the labor market becomes more competitive, talented employees are enjoying a lot more freedom in where they choose to work. Smart companies are focusing on two factors to attract and retain top talent: employee engagement and employee experience. However, these terms are often conflated, and the obfuscation of their definitions can lead to weaknesses in tactics in bolstering both. Simply put, employee engagement is the ongoing part of the employee experience, and the employee experience is the journey a worker takes at a company. Experience can be broken down into seven distinct units: attract, hire, onboard, engage, perform, develop, and depart. The majority of an employee’s time will be spent engaging, performing, and developing. Engagement describes the basic material, emotional, and social needs that must be met for an employee to perform their work well. The two inform each other, and both need to be addressed if top talent is expected to remain at a company. It might be surprising, but modern employees simply do not have their needs (in terms of engagement and experience) met. Only three in 10 employees agree they have the tools needed to get their work done right, four in 10 say they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day, and three in 10 agree that in the past week, they’ve been recognized for the work they’re doing. If companies want good workers, this needs to change.
The Link Between Engagement and Experience
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