Skip to content

Engaging the workforce for a better employee experience

By Laine Thomas Conway, Vice President, Strategy and Thought Leadership, Engagement Services

Employee engagement can’t be a one-time event or a check-the-box exercise if you want to improve the experience and wellbeing

The Great Resignation. The Great Reset. Quiet Quitting. Bare Minimum Mondays. These and other cleverly named workplace trends emerged in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic when many people were spurred to reevaluate their priorities and the role that work plays in their lives.

What all these catchphrases have in common is they represent that employees are firmly entrenched in the driver’s seat. Despite widespread layoffs in certain industries (primarily tech) and rumblings about a potential recession, unemployment remains at a 50-year low, the labor market is tight and many employers are struggling to hire or retain enough people to keep operations running smoothly. Nearly half (48%) of workers say they are actively looking for a new job or open to leaving if they are approached, according to the upcoming 2023 Alight International Workforce and Wellbeing Mindset Study, due to be released later this month.


of workers say they are actively looking for a new job or open to leaving if they are approached, according to the 2023 Alight International Workforce and Wellbeing Mindset Study, due to be released later this month.

In this employee’s market, employers are faced with numerous questions: stick with remote work, issue a return-to-office mandate or land in the middle with some kind of hybrid arrangement, for example. Take a public stand on social issues or remain neutral in the hopes of avoiding potential backlash and negative PR. Bolster pay and benefits to help employees better cope with inflation or encourage workers to make better use of what is already being provided to them.

From the moment a potential candidate expresses interest in an opportunity, it’s incumbent upon the employer to ensure they continuously engage that individual. Ghosting among job seekers and new hires is at an all-time high. That’s not surprising when you consider just 39 percent of new hires say they had a great or awesome candidate experience.i

The same basic premise holds true when it’s annual enrollment time for new employees coming on board as the result of an acquisition. At this pivotal, uncertain time, the employer must focus not only on making these new members of the workforce feel welcome, but also on engaging them in their benefits and increasing utilization of wellbeing programs. 

Workforce engagement is a long-term commitment

Throughout the employee lifecycle, employers must endeavor to engage their people in the moments that matter, helping them make confident decisions that will improve their employee experience and their lives at work and at home. 

When it comes to benefits, it’s definitely not a matter of, “If you build it, they will come.” In fact, benefits utilization is incredibly low at some companies. As employers strive to meet their employees’ needs and manage healthcare costs, many have added countless programs, creating a chaotic and crowded landscape that only serves to confuse and lead to limited utilization of these programs.


of employees have a good understanding of their total rewards.


feel the wellbeing benefits and programs they receive are relevant to them and their family.


believe their company genuinely cares about their wellbeing.

Not surprisingly, barely half (52%) of employees have a good understanding of their total rewards and just 45% feel the wellbeing benefits and programs they receive are relevant to them and their family. Most concerning, only 41% believe their company genuinely cares about their wellbeing. All this despite the fact that employer investments in wellbeing programs have risen significantly in recent years.

Clearly, there is a disconnect. Employers are stepping up and bolstering their benefits offerings, but employees aren’t recognizing the array of wellbeing programs and support services that are available to them. The key to making that connection clear — improving utilization of benefits and improvement of the employee experience — is a more personalized, targeted approach that engages people in their benefits, drives smart decision-making and helps them live their best lives at work and at home.    

How you can increase engagement and improve the experience

We aim to connect the dots between people, work and life as organizations look to cut through the complexity and guide employees1 at critical and everyday inflection points. Whether through impactful communication messages, powerful decision support tools, supportive benefits guidance, or integrated experiences as candidates, new hires and employees, our solutions and services can help organizations drive action and realize value.

Here are a few of the many services, solutions and strategies Alight offers to engage, connect and empower people in the moments that matter:

  • Improving the candidate experience by keeping job seekers engaged throughout the entire process by making a memorable first impression; ensuring timely, interactive follow-up; providing additional guidance advisors to provide decision support during new hire enrollment; and delivering a meaningful onboarding that helps new hires recognize and appreciate the full value of joining the organization.
  • Maximizing annual enrollment by utilizing a summer campaign to deliver greater digital engagement; modernizing the approach with a TikTok-style video engagement channel, AI avatar options for video, personalized high-impact emails and podcasts for education on-the-go; powering more confident decisions with plan evaluators, personalized enrollment guides and concierge guidance services; and offering concierge guidance services to provide individual and customized assistance that focuses on understanding, acceptance and action on these important personal benefit decisions.
  • Elevating wellbeing offerings by offering the most comprehensive wellbeing solution in the market, encompassing mind, body, wallet and life; amping up wellbeing messaging through creative, interactive channels; touting total rewards to increase the understanding, value and utilization of programs; and exploring new wellbeing partners that go beyond the basics to offer caregiving support, stress management and care across the women’s health continuum.
  • Easing the sting of reductions in force by training leaders how to guide departing employees accurately and thoughtfully; supporting employees through the offboarding process with high-touch services and materials to provide direction on actions they need to take; and delivering concierge guidance services to enhance understanding, acceptance of benefit modifications and crucial personal decisions.
  • Serving up relevant and impactful programs to meet employees where they are by optimizing the digital experience; curating the applicable benefits; supporting with customized benefits guidance; and seamlessly integrating the vendor ecosystem to help employees avoid the frustration and paralysis of too much choice.

An organization’s success is determined by its people. Cultivating and keeping a talented workforce requires a creative, high-touch, tech-enabled approach to engaging employees throughout their time with the company. Alight’s Employee Engagement Services and Alight Benefit Guidance both deliver a breadth of services, solutions and strategies to accelerate and enhance the employee experience by driving greater activation in the moments that matter.

To speak with someone at Alight about improving the employee experience at your organization, click here.

i 2023 Alight International Workforce and Wellbeing Mindset Study

Related reads

The 10 most common payroll process errors and how to avoid them

Employee payroll processing can be incredibly complex and, if not well managed, results in an array of errors that can cost employees, and the business, time and money.

Improving this year’s open enrollment process: Alight experts host podcast

A recent Alight on Wellbeing podcast brought together seasoned benefit experts to shed light on what employers and employees alike should be considering as the open enrollment season approaches.

Precision Medicine for Cancer Prevention and Early Detection: The Good, Bad and the ROI for Employers – Q&A Part 1

In part one of this two-part series, Dr. Bipin Mistry partners with Dr. Gerry Blobe to uncover the latest in precision medicine for cancer prevention and detection.