January 23, 2023

2023, the Year of the Employee: Rebuilding the Foundation

Welcome to another year on the CHRO (or CPO) rollercoaster. Please keep your hands, feet, and legs inside the ride at all times.

The last three years on this ride have shaken the very foundation of work as we know it. The pandemic rattled the windows. The great resignation shook the doors. “Quiet quitting” shifted the support beams. And now, inflation and economic concerns are rolling the ground under our feet. 

So where does that leave us?

Here are some surefire trends to expect in the year ahead and insights to strengthen your employee experience foundation for better retention, culture, and employee wellbeing. 

1. Offer Meaningful Benefits to Battle the War on Talent

According to NerdWallet, “When you combine a tight labor market with persistently high inflation and six rate hikes by the Federal Reserve this year, it also makes for truly bizarre economic conditions.”  Despite layoffs making the news, wages are still increasing, and unemployment has barely budged. While tech industries are taking a hit, leisure and hospitality are booming. The job market isn’t softening, and companies are still struggling to find enough workers to fill job postings. NerdWallet says it’s likely that, even “in the face of layoffs, smaller firms may take up the mantle to hire from a pool of workers they were previously shut out from by larger firms.” That means we’re still all in the war for talent and offering benefits that set you apart is more important than ever.

2. Prioritize Recruiting & Retention

Recruiting remains formidable, and retention is king. Oracle shares, “companies that fail to prioritize employee retention clearly pay a steep price.”  We need to know why our employees are thinking of leaving long before they hand us a two-week notice. We need to understand why the environment pushes them to look outside their current position. With inflation bearing down on the cost of food, fuel, housing, and utilities—many employees are taking on multiple roles to support life at home—finances are stretched and stressed, and so are they. To retain and attract talent, leadership needs to double down on stay-interviews, listening, and wellbeing benefits and focus on making meaningful change.

3. Invest in Learning and Development

A company’s leadership is a barometer for growth potential. Surround yourself with listeners, innovators, and bold thinkers. According to Forbes, “Upskilling and reskilling existing employees offers a great way to fill talent gaps within a company and cut down on hiring and other costs.” The last three years have schooled companies in employee costs. Burnout continues to take a toll on business growth. Meaningful training and development now include management and prevention, not only for employees but for the leaders managing them—we can’t see it in our teams if we can’t see it in ourselves. Investment in learning and development is imperative to strengthening the foundation.

4. Make Culture, Culture, and More Culture the Foundation of Your Employee Experience

The foundation needs to be solid. Culture is everything. When your employees talk about the sum of your systems, behaviors, and values, they must believe their employer values them as individuals, as caretakers of the corporate brand. This is the very foundation of the employee experience. Do your benefits reflect their value? Does your training reflect their value? Does their career development reflect their value? Be willing to fix cracks in your cultural foundation.

What’s old is new again. In the years leading up to this rollercoaster ride, we discovered that it wasn’t the free lunches, game nights, or foosball tables driving culture. What mattered was the company’s values and how they valued their employees. It was the connection, vision, relationships, and how the company manifested its actions into the bigger picture through meaningful benefits and resources that helped employees be at their best. A culture of placing value in our people was at the core—and still is. 

This post was written by Sheryl Simmons for Wondr Health.

About Wondr Health
Wondr Health, one of Castlight’s Ecosystem partners, is a proven leader in digital behavior change. Their clinically proven, personalized approach helps people improve their physical health and emotional wellbeing by providing life-long behavior change skills and tools. Wondr Health helps prevent and reduce the cost of chronic health conditions and improve the quality of life for their participants, impacting weight and so much more.

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