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Why career experience matters more than ever in 2023

Provide employees with a rewarding career experience in the face of persistent challenges

By Ruchi Arora and Alexa Beazer | February 7, 2023

In 2023, we see a challenging economic environment characterised by inflation, recession, talent shortages, cost-of-living crisis, soaring energy prices, war, and ongoing geopolitical issues
Work Transformation|Employee Experience|Ukupne nagrade

This leaves organisations working hard to sustain performance levels and maintain market position yet ambitions to grow. Providing employees with a rewarding career experience may be key to achieving positive outcomes in the face of persistent challenges.

If there’s anything the last three years have taught us, it is the importance of our employees. We’ve seen many statistics showing how employee productivity increased but engagement decreased during the pandemic. We then heard and experienced the great resignation and quiet quitting, perhaps even moving to quiet hiring in 2023. So how do we make a difference in the coming year in our efforts to attract, retain and engage talent?

WTW research in 2022 continued to show the top three attraction and retention drivers for employees are pay and bonus, job security, and flexible working arrangements (WTW 2022 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey). In such a challenging environment it is therefore crucial to consider both financial and non-financial actions which organisations can take to maintain strong loyalty and commitment. Employee experience is critical as it makes a significant difference when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent. A career experience forms a large part of the employee experience as it helps employees put together the pieces of the puzzle – the work they do, the contribution and impact they make to the organisation, their development opportunities, their performance, the opportunities to upskill, reskill and grow their careers to fulfil their own ambitions.

Getting careers right as part of a relevant and meaningful employee experience can help deliver a tangible competitive advantage as WTW’s research reveals that a superior employee experience is proven to drive financial success. Companies with a more effective employee experience outperform their peers in the areas of top-line growth, bottom-line profitability and return to shareholders. There are three main ways in which organisations can enhance the career experience:

  1. 01

    Design and reassess the HR foundations to create an engaging career experience

    Traditionally organisations have heavily relied on levelling frameworks and their job architecture to support movement of talent and career development. However, considering the market challenges with talent shortages, organisations are putting a greater focus on skills. An integrated approach to work, jobs, levels, and skills, gives the business and HR the agility to respond to market and business changes. Our 2022 Reimaging Work and Rewards Survey (global data) shows that fewer than half of employers think their current job architecture and job-levelling process supports new ways of working. In some cases, employers may have to simplify their career frameworks to operate in a more flexible work environment. Roughly half of companies globally have already completed or are planning/considering actions to reduce layers within the organisation.

    As employers shift from a job-based to a more skilled-based and often project-based work environment, they will be operating in a shorter time-horizon than in the past. This will require more frequent updating of skills and supporting work infrastructure to be ready to provide employees with up-to-date opportunities.

  1. 02

    Create a transparent and engaging digital career framework and talent marketplace to deliver the career experience

    With the foundations in place, organisations can invest and spend more time bringing a career framework to life using digital platforms. It’s one thing to design levelling and skills frameworks, and another to implement these tools in a way that engages and motivates employees.

    Today employees come into an organisation expecting to be able to easily understand where their role fits in the organisation and where they can move to by identifying skills overlaps. Additionally, this transparency in career opportunities plays a critical role in supporting greater pay transparency, which aligns with the European Pay Transparency Directive.

    Moreover, to shape a compelling career experience, it’s essential to understand your employees’ expectations around work and the different factors that motivate them. It’s also important to know what’s working and what’s not. Therefore, employers may consider implementing various listening activities such as pulse surveys to help ensure the continued relevance of their employees’ career experience.

  2. 03

    Prioritize training and communication, and the role of leaders and managers to optimise employee engagement

    The design and technology initiatives involved in shaping and delivering the career experience require champions starting at the top. Additionally, leaders and all people managers − through effective communication and training − help ensure that employees actively engage in career development activities.

    One-to-one conversations with people managers, coaches and mentors are essential. It is important to conduct these discussions on an ongoing basis to help keep employees engaged in their career journeys. Managers may require training in having effective career development discussions and fostering a culture focused on developing talent.

    The role of leaders and managers in bringing the career experience to life cannot be underestimated as they nurture the culture that helps empower employees to own their careers.

These measures will help organisations gain a tangible competitive advantage in attracting, engaging, and retaining talent as well as powering financial success. If we make 2023 the year of the career experience, we will be better positioned to nurture people, our most important asset, and address the pressing challenges ahead.


Work, Rewards & Careers Practice Leader

Director – Work and Rewards

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