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4 key priorities for a winning employee experience

By Jill Havely and Anna Straughan | May 29, 2024

If the first half of 2024 is a sign of what companies can expect, we’re in for a wild ride. With economic, technological, geopolitical and social disruptions, 2024 will bring a myriad of uncertainty.
Compensation Strategy & Design|Health and Benefits|Inclusion-and-Diversity|Retirement|Ukupne nagrade |Benessere integrato

Uncertainty brings both challenges and opportunities for you and your employees. 

Managing through uncertainty isn’t easy, but there are a few global, high-performing organizations that lead the way no matter what they face. They prioritize their people by delivering differentiating employee experiences and, in turn, excellence within their industries by:

  • Creating clarity of vision and inspiration around their purpose
  • Building trust in leaders through open and honest communication
  • Prioritizing change effectiveness to drive speed and agility to market
  • Recognizing employees with tailored, fair, equitable and transparent pay and benefits

To thrive amid uncertainty, you need to prioritize four key areas:

  1. Designing employee-centric experiences
  2. Modernizing total rewards
  3. Reimagining the employee value proposition
  4. Building resilience through agile change management

By focusing efforts on these four priorities, organizations can create a thriving workplace that sets the foundation for long-term success, resilience and sustainability.

  1. 01

    Design employee-centric experiences

    Employers that put their people at the heart of everything they do create deeper connections and achieve better business outcomes. They foster a culture of open communication where they take time to understand and address the needs, aspirations and concerns of employees.

    Key actions and considerations:

    • Build a two-way dialogue: Promote a psychologically safe culture of listening, open communication and continuous improvement based on employee feedback. Employees will then feel safe to share their perspectives and ideas and trust in a process where their insight contributes to meaningful change. There are several channels to encourage two-way dialogue: surveys, focus groups (virtual or in-person), interviews and informal conversations to name a few.
    • Modernize and personalize communication with a digital front door to all things HR: Give employees immediate, one-click access to HR resources and information personalized to their profiles, needs and preferences. A centralize online communication platform that serves as a gateway for employees to access personalized HR resources, information and tools reduces the administrative burden on your HR team. Whether it's important company updates, performance feedback, learning resources or recognition programs, a good collection of digital tools should capture employees' attention and meet them where they are, ensuring they receive the right information during critical moments that matter to them.
    • Experiment to drive feedback: Encourage new approaches to gather feedback quickly. As the pace of change accelerates, so must your strategies to keep up with evolving employee needs.
  2. 02

    Modernize for meaningful total rewards

    Getting the components of total rewards right (employee pay, benefits, careers and employee wellbeing) is essential for a rewarding and fulfilling employee experience. Here’s how you can draw on the power of total rewards to motivate and engage your employees:

    • Prioritize employee wellbeing: Recognize that employee wellbeing is crucial for overall performance and success. Take action to implement tailored wellbeing initiatives and regularly assess their effectiveness to meet changing needs.
    • Develop purposeful career growth opportunities: Go beyond financial recognition and focus on providing purposeful career growth opportunities. Offer clear progression pathways and meaningful support. Ensure fair distribution of career opportunities and recognition based on merit, skills and potential. Empower employees with resources for advancement, regardless of chosen career paths.
    • Recognize employees with fair equitable compensation and benefits: Design pay, benefits, and career programs to drive performance, and ensure employees understand how their contributions are measured and evaluated.  Assess the competitiveness of your pay and benefits offering and make targeted investments in the areas that matter most to employees. Prioritize flexibility and inclusivity, so that employees can tailor their rewards to meet their individual needs.
    • Regularly evaluate and adapt: Continuously assess the effectiveness of your total rewards programs and initiatives. Gather employee feedback through surveys or focus groups to understand their needs and preferences. Use data and insights to inform decisions and adapt your total rewards strategy to meet evolving workforce expectations.
  3. 03

    Reimagine your employee value proposition (EVP)

    An employee value proposition (EVP) serves as a guiding force within an organization. It's shaped by both business and talent needs. However, as employee expectations change, so should the EVP. Historically, the EVP was a transactional give/get relationship, but now it should prioritize lived experiences. This paradigm shift recognizes that the overall experience and value employees gain from their work environment are crucial in shaping the employer-employee relationship.

    External factors such as labor market dynamics and the rise of hybrid work have further increased the need for employers to create, communicate and deliver an EVP that meets the changing expectations of their workforce. Regular review of your EVP helps keep it aligned with current employee needs and societal changes. Incorporating these elements into your EVP improves the employee experience, fostering alignment with your workforce expectations.

    To enhance the employee experience, you should incorporate three key elements into your EVP:

    • EVP mindsets: These are the foundational beliefs that define the desired employee experience and guide the organization's culture and decision making. Embracing these EVP mindsets creates a strong foundation for a positive employee experience.
    • EVP behaviors: Authentic expression of the EVP mindset is crucial. This involves aligning your company values with the desired EVP mindsets and translating them into actionable behaviors. Everyone in your organization -- from leadership to individual contributors -- should adopt and demonstrate these behaviors.
    • EVP enablers: The four Ps — people programs (e.g., total rewards), work policies, processes and practices — are the key elements that shape day-to-day experiences. They make the EVP tangible and support employees in demonstrating desired behaviors. The EVP can offer a framework to guide changes to the four Ps, ensuring alignment with your organizational values. These EVP enablers play a crucial role in creating a supportive employee experience roadmap, ensuring that the environment fully supports and reinforces the desired employee experience.
  4. 04

    Build organizational resilience through agile and effective change management

    Success navigating uncertainty depends on strong change management. Often, in the whirlwind of change, immediate priorities can overshadow long-term impacts, negatively affecting the employee experience. Now is the time to take a moment and reflect on your organization’s recent experience of transformation and assess your:

    • Readiness for change
    • Internal culture
    • The capability of your leadership

    Organizations that thrive during periods of uncertainty and disruption, which WTW calls change accelerators, achieve nearly three times greater revenue growth over three years* compared to organizations with below-average change effectiveness. What sets change accelerators apart is they prioritize their people in their change initiatives, placing employee experience at the forefront. They do this by focusing on three principles:

    • Insights-driven: Embrace a data-driven mindset and learn from evidence and insights to understand organizational needs and challenges. These insights should inform your change strategies, enabling informed decision making for successful implementation.
    • Risk-focused mindset: Proactively assess risks and anticipate future challenges, considering both positive and negative impacts. Develop strategies to mitigate risk, make navigating change easier and minimize potential disruptions.
    • People-centric: Engage employees in the change process, fostering a culture of inclusion, support and impactful listening. By valuing employee input, organizations create a sense of ownership and commitment to change, leading to smoother transitions and improved employee experience.

    Achieving a high-performance employee experience is possible for your organization. Complete the form on this page to speak with an Employee Experience expert and unlock your company's full potential.

    *WTW Global High Performance Normative Data


Managing Director
Head of Global Community Excellence, Employee Experience
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Organisation and Change expert
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