Winning the war for talent is less about money, titles and job security and more about employee experience in the post-pandemic era, according to a major study commissioned by Microsoft.
And according to the resulting six-part report entitled The Definitive Guide: Employee Experience, produced by the Josh Bersin Company, organisational culture is the top driver for creating an excellent employee experience (EX).
Researchers conducted in-depth interviews with HR and business leaders from companies such as Deutsche Telekom, IBM, Kraft Heinz, Microsoft and Unilever, taking in views from more than 950 organisations for the report.
They said EX had emerged as one of the key factors to adapting to the business and workforce challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the area having evolved from niche engineering projects to strategic, enterprise-wide initiatives.
The researchers said there were six key findings that emerged from studying organisations with superior EX. These were: a focus on trust, transparency, inclusion and care; that a supportive culture plays a big role; that innovation and sustainable growth depend on equitable rewards and building communities at work; that consistent, mission-first people investments in any business climate improve business performance; that EX excellence directly leads to business outcomes; and that HR capabilities and the right technologies are vital.
The researchers devised an EX Maturity Model to help assess where organisations currently stood in terms of their EX. Organisations were given a ranking between one and four, with the former being least impactful and the latter most impactful. Overall, 55% of the companies represented were found to be at the lower two levels of the model.
The report said that technology played a vital role in feeding into employee experience and also in determining a company’s level of maturity.
Kathi Enderes, vice president of research at the Josh Bersin Company, said: “EX is multi-faceted, complex and multi-layered. No single project or technology solution will create EX excellence. Our research delves into the many different factors and dimensions involved in EX, as well as various strategies and programmes. While technologies and services alone don’t drive great EX, they absolutely are correlated to EX maturity.”
Strong leadership vital
However, Josh Bersin, CEO and global industry analyst, added: “Without the right leadership, capabilities and behaviours, any progress in EX will be short-lived and unsustainable. It’s a choice to make: are you prioritising business-centred leadership in which the business is first and people are second or emphasising human-centred leadership that prioritises your people? Above all, remember that the journey to a world-class employee experience is an ongoing process enabled by close listening to your people.”
A big part of what the most successful leaders do is drive company culture, according to a separate study from Heidrick and Struggles released last week.
It surveyed 500 CEOs across nine countries – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Spain, the UK and the US – and found that globally, 11% of CEOs were ‘culture accelerators’, leaders who were “significantly more intentional in the way that they focused on culture than others”.
It reported that companies led by such individuals showed double the compound annual growth rate of others surveyed for the same study.
Ian Johnston, co-author of the report and partner in Heidrick and Struggles’ London office, said: “The global pandemic caused turmoil within many organisations and it seems those who have maintained a focus on culture during the uncertainty will be better positioned for future success.”
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