Hot Take:

One employee engagement strategy no longer fits all.

As it turns out, most companies did a solid job of addressing their employees’ needs of safety, stability, and security during the COVID-19 crisis.

However, in doing so they provided a catalyst for employees’ needs to permanently evolve. These needs now call for a new, more tailored approach as organisations enter the post COVID-19 phase.

Anyone who has led a business since 2020 knows that assumptions about the nature of work and how it is organised have gone out the window. Due to the requirement for people to work flexibly around their unique COVID-19 disrupted lives, people cemented widely varied work patterns based on their individual circumstances. This has been the key driver of change to a state where employees now want to continue with individualistic worklife packages, not homogenous corporate schemes.

The “return to workplace” phase presents the need for companies to rethink the employee experience in ways that respect individual differences—home lives, skills and capabilities, mindsets, personal characteristics, and other factors. Employers now need to use a combination of conjecture and data to segment employees similar to how they would their customers – and tailor interventions to support them in personalised and meaningful ways.

What is a tailored employee experience?

A tailored employee experience takes into account what people value, acknowledging how their life stage, personal circumstances, and even personality type make different propositions attractive for different people. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the most motivating answer is rarely just to be paid more.

McKinsey (2021) list nine areas which drive employee experience, over which individuals can have different wants or needs. Broadly these nine areas can be split into three; social experience, work experience and organisation experience.

Social Experience

  • People and relationships
  • Teamwork
  • Social climate

Work Experience

  • Work organisation
  • Work control and flexibility
  • Growth and rewards

Organisation Experience

  • Purpose
  • Technology
  • Physical environment

Those employers who embrace this as an opportunity to build robust strategies focused on the individual will find they attract and recruit high calibre candidates, retain trained and qualified staff and build a loyal workforce with great success.

Embrace the opportunity to tailor a new approach

The good news is that with advances in listening techniques, feedback channels, and behavioural science, leaders can now address employee experience in a more targeted and dynamic way and discover what employees want from their working life.

Organisations can improve employee experience during the return phase of the COVID-19 crisis by shifting focus onto a more nuanced approach that recognises differences among the workforce.

Employers who set a defined path to a tailored employee experience will create meaningful impact now and well into the future, building on the trust and affiliation they’ve earned by being present, action-oriented, empathetic, and fully transparent during the pandemic.

Thomas Barton
Senior Strategy Consultant

Next insight: Our post-pandemic recovery will dictate the course of climate change.