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Cultivating the employee experience


By Stephan Scholl
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The pandemic has made employees think hard about what’s important to them as the lines between work and home increasingly have blurred. This environment has created an unprecedented opportunity for employers to listen to their people and adapt their employee experience to support their unique needs.

Like many people around the world these past two years, I started a new job at the height of the pandemic. Little did I know in April 2020, when I became CEO of Alight, that I would have a front-row seat to the tectonic shifts that COVID-19 forced onto corporations — perhaps none more seismic than the fundamental realignment of employees’ priorities.

When I speak with other CEOs, their leading concern is almost always their workforce – the tight labor market, staff shortages, the “Great Resignation,” and attrition. The pandemic has made everyone — and particularly younger generations — realize not only what’s important to them, but also how fragile life really is. For many industries, work isn't about that sense of company culture or the experience of being in the office any longer. And for those in the office or at a jobsite, employees may have additional concerns about health and safety.

It comes down to this idea: Employees want their job to provide a sense of identity, security, and the knowledge of where to turn when they need help. Companies and their leaders need to be asking, “How can we provide that feeling of safety to the people who work for us?”

Employees want their job to provide a sense of identity, security, and the knowledge of where to turn when they need help. Companies and their leaders need to be asking, “How can we provide that feeling of safety to the people who work for us?”

CEOs in particular must do more to support the wellbeing of their employees to keep them satisfied and supported both at work and at home. It’s difficult for employees to focus on their jobs if they’re worried about how to pay a medical bill or save for retirement.

We have moved beyond the era of shareholder capitalism and transitioned into the Era of the Employee. The pandemic has accelerated this shift to the employee experience, and it’s time to take advantage of this reprioritization.

In one sense, what’s old is new again, as employees seek the type of security their parents or grandparents sought from their employers. Employees want to know their job will meet their health, wealth, and wellness needs. They want a sense of stability in their work and personal lives. They want assurance they’re more than a cog in a giant operation and their employer cares about them and creates a community for the entire organization. 

Corporations that put the employee experience first will have a stronger, more engaged workforce that wants to stay. Enabling this change comes down to two key components:

Technology and data: Companies and their leadership need to truly know the people who work for them and show employees that they matter. Fortunately, employers are well-positioned to act. Companies sit at the intersection of employees’ payroll and health and wealth choices. These choices amount to hundreds of data points. That data gives companies the ability – and the opportunity – to use technology to provide tailored recommendations for each employee’s health, wealth, and wellbeing.

Engagement: In a moment of need, people often don't know where to turn for help. The average Fortune 500 company has anywhere from 50 to 100 platforms to help employees with issues relating to health, wellbeing, and finances. The responsibility of sifting through that level of complexity weighs heavily on any employee – especially when they are desperately in need of help. That’s the old way of doing things, and the old system no longer works.

The average Fortune 500 company has anywhere from 50 to 100 platforms to help employees with issues relating to health, wellbeing, and finances. The responsibility of sifting through that level of complexity weighs heavily on any employee – especially when they are desperately in need of help. That’s the old way of doing things, and the old system no longer works.

Take a recent example that we encountered. A mother called Alight – instead of her insurance company – after her daughter was hit in the head with a baseball during a game. She was out of state and out of network. Reviewing her files, we reminded her not to let the doctors give her daughter a certain type of medication because we had data that said she was allergic to that medicine. The doctors were minutes away from administering that drug because they didn’t have access to her personal information. That medication could have paralyzed her – or worse.

By engaging with your employees consistently and giving them the right tools, you will empower them to make the right decisions for themselves and their families. In turn, you will create loyalty to your company. Employees will feel secure in the knowledge that their employer is providing the resources and support to meet their work and life needs. Those employees will be substantially incentivized not only to stay, but to perform at high levels.

Before the pandemic, employers had a sense of invincibility when it came to their workforce. Now, employees are making decisions about how they want to live. They have options for where and how they work. Employees are going to choose the employer that gives them everything they need, from caregiver support and help saving for retirement, to work/life balance and opportunities for advancement. In this Era of the Employee, the way for employers to strengthen their own position is to cultivate a loyal and engaged workforce by meeting employee needs.

Stephan Scholl (US)
Stephan Scholl (US)
By Stephan Scholl
As CEO, Stephan Scholl is responsible for the strategy, growth and business performance of Alight, a leading provider of next-level human capital and business solutions. Over his more than 25-year career, Stephan has created a reputation as a transformational leader, passionate about customer success. He is focused on driving results, delivering value and improving business processes for global organizations by harnessing the full power of leading cloud-based solutions.

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