Extreme Experience Makeover: Employee Edition

A great employee experience extends beyond pay and benefits. The experience is actually much more “human” than you might think.

Companies and HR leaders often focus on offering competitive perks. This is under the belief that great material offerings are what make a company standout. But these benefits aren’t what is driving engagement, retention, and overall positive employee experience.

According to Gartner’s research, employee engagement has been flat since 2016. Hence why it may be time for some organizations to consider reimagining their strategies when it comes to employee experience. Shift to a more “humanized” approach to truly resonate with your employees. Here’s how:

Give more autonomy

Autonomy doesn’t end with the freedom to work from home or control your own hours. While these are great perks, satisfaction is dependent on other factors as well. Let your employees decide what they work on, who they work with, and how much they work. Of course, there are some roles in which this may not be fully possible. Tailor the degree and type of flexibility to each position and individual!

Connect on a personal level

In the past, companies and leaders have been hesitant to talk about non-work issues. Maybe it was privacy concerns, maybe it was just the norm. But the pandemic shifted everything, and employees no longer want to pretend their work and personal lives are separate. Over 60% of employees say it’s important for their company to share in caring for their families and communities. Vulnerability is a key component in getting to know your employees more personally. Be open and listen to employees when they are vulnerable while also being vulnerable as a people leader. It’s a two way street! And It’s one of the best ways to create trust and connection so you can better understand each other’s individual needs.  

Plenty of programs for professional growth exist. But what about personal growth? Broaden your definition of development to include things like community service and language lessons. Learning new things, even when they are not work related, can hone employees learning skills. In turn, that personal development will improve both performance and loyalty!

Help with holistic wellbeing

Employees need to thrive in their personal lives to thrive at work. Overall wellbeing is made up of many dimensions, so encourage your employees to reflect on and take care of each area. Just providing wellbeing programs isn’t enough. Leaders need to foster a work culture in which talking about mental health is normalized. But a quick reminder: people leaders are not counselors but can guide employees to the right resources if needed.

Create shared meaning

Another thing the pandemic brought with it was time for reflection. Many people began reflecting on their relationship with work. Those that didn’t like what they saw started quitting, leading to The Great Resignation that prevails today. A study by Zety found that 75% of respondents who quit in 2021 were attracted to more meaningful work (among other factors like better pay and flexibility). Make it a common habit to talk to your employees about how they contribute to your organization’s shared purpose.  

Embrace micro-recognition

Don’t wait for the big accomplishments and milestone anniversaries to recognize employees! They deserve to be engaged and appreciated on a more daily basis. This is made possible with recognition technology including anything from a social engine to nominations and beyond. In turn, you’ll further emphasize the other five strategies above. Acknowledge independent (and team!) successes, foster personal connection, cultivate a culture of openness, and share stories of progress towards organization goals. Ultimately, you’ll demonstrate how truly valued employees much more frequently. Talk about the peak of a more “human” employee experience!


Work is no longer transactional, where workers just show up to receive pay and benefits. It comes down to the fact that your employees are more than just employees. They are whole individual people! Just like you, they have needs and wants both in and out of work. Since they are in fact human, we should be adopting a more “human” way of thinking.