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The best of employee experience articles 2022

A handpicked curation of the most insightful employee experience articles in 2022.

Late last year, Forrester predicted that 2022 would be a pivotal year for Employee Experience. Organizations would be forced to pay more attention to EX, they said.

With an impending talent shortage and evolving employee expectations, companies would be expected to make fast-paced decisions to attract, motivate, and retain the right talent, was the Gartner forecast.

That turned out to be an understatement.

Newer, unexpected variables were thrown into the equation—like a looming economic downturn and the quiet quitting movement, to mention but a few—making EX a much more intricate puzzle to solve for business leaders.

Part trip down memory lane of 2022, and part compendium of lessons to take with us as we step into the next year, we present to you a handpicked curation of the most insightful pieces on everything that shaped employee experience this year.  

A – Annual reviews

Annual performance reviews fail because of three main reasons, writes the author: They are too infrequent. They are dehumanizing. They are irrelevant to real-world performance. He offers an alternate solution to keep up the morale and reduce attrition – rather than focusing on the manager’s span of control, focus on their span of attention.

Annual Reviews Are a Terrible Way to Evaluate Employees - by Marcus Buckingham for The Wall Street Journal

B – Burnout

“Being okay when things are not okay is a tall order these days.” An exclusive interview with Liz Fosslien, an expert on emotions at work and bestselling author, on how to offer emotional support to your team, the right way – and help them handle uncertainty, resist perfectionism, and avoid burnout.

A Manager’s Guide to Helping Teams Face Down Uncertainty, Burnout and Perfectionism – by First Round Review

C – Culture

For Laura Del Beccaro, Cofounder and CEO of Sora, everything from how you build your product to how you scale your GTM function, boils down to your company culture. In this interview, she shares her unique framework and practical pointers to building culture from scratch and ensuring that it integrates with your company’s values, leadership, recruiting, performance management, and incentives.

Run This Diagnostic to Thoughtfully Build (and Evaluate) Your Startup’s Culture – by First Round Review

D - Data

People analytics and data-driven HR expert David Green speaks to McKinsey’s Bryan Hancock and Bill Schaninger about the volatile talent market and how leaders can employ people analytics to separate the signal from the noise, make well-informed decisions, rethink employee experience, and successfully navigate the inflection point.

Talent at a Turning Point: How People Analytics Can Help – by Bryan Hancock and Bill Schaninger for McKinsey & Company

E - Engagement

To keep up with the changing work environment, Microsoft’s people analytics team realized they needed to shift from measuring employee engagement to measuring employee thriving, to evaluate how “energized and empowered they were to do meaningful work”. The authors explain why they decided to make the switch and what they’ve learned from it.

Why Microsoft Measures Employee Thriving, Not Engagement. – by Dawn Klinghoffer and Elizabeth McCune for Harvard Business Review

F - Fairness  

Despite the growing attention on building fair workplaces, only 18% of the 3500 employees surveyed worldwide have stated that they work in a high-fairness environment. A truly fair employee experience isn’t just about DEI initiatives for historically unrepresented employees. Gartner shares a new framework to design a holistic employee experience that accounts for every employee’s unique circumstances.

The 4 Elements of a Fair Employee Experience — and How to Provide One – by Brian Kropp, Jessica Knight, Devika Chopra, Kartik Deo, Rebecca Lane, Caroline Ogawa, and Jonah Shepp for Gartner

G - Gig economy

The gig economy is on the rise, and companies that depend heavily on independent contractors pose a unique challenge for companies. While gig workers are supposed to need less day-to-day management by definition, HR professionals’ responsibility around scheduling, productivity, and compensation makes things more complicated in practice.

The Growing Gig Economy Has HR “Walking a Tightrope” – by Susanna Vogel for HR Brew

H - Hiring

Peoplism co-founders talk about some of the most common mistakes companies make in recruitment, which result in bad-fit hires and work against underrepresented people. They share their hiring playbook covering everything from creating job descriptions to the application process, along with creative solutions to rethink hiring.  

Why Now’s the Perfect Time to Retool Your Hiring Process and Get Creative – by First Round Review

I – Incentives

After two and a half years of working from home, many employees don’t want to come back to the office and prefer to continue working remote. Companies, on the other hand, have been trying, mostly in vain, to draw employees back, using incentives like free food, tournaments, and even alcoholic beverages.

The Incentives to Get Workers Back to the Office Aren’t Working. Here’s What Would. – by Alison Green for Slate  

J - Journey mapping

To transform your employee experience, you need a high-level picture of employees’ entire tenure from the point they join to when they leave, so you can easily find gaps and pinpoint areas that need improvement. Employee experience journey mapping enables you to accomplish just that – by helping you clearly understand what your employees need from the company to do their best work.

Employee Experience Journey Mapping: A Step-by-Step Guide – by Peter Alig for Zendesk blog

K - KPIs

Performance metrics are powerful tools to accurately track your team’s progress and take your business where you want it to go. And the fewer the goals and metrics, the more effective will they be. This post is an account of how radically simplifying its KPIs helped a company align employee behavior with organizational goals, make smarter business investments, and foster a culture of learning and cooperation.

The Quest for a Killer KPI – by Omri Morgenshtern, Robert Rosenstein, and Peter L. Allen for MIT Sloan Management Review

L - Layoffs

Leading an organization in a climate of layoffs can be excruciating. If you can’t avoid layoffs, do it in a way that respects your employees and their contributions, so that even those who are let go off continue to have goodwill towards the company, resulting in a healthier organization and alumni base. Executing layoffs with humanity and empathy requires care, planning, and a strong vision for the future.  

How to Layoff Employees in a Humane Way – by NOBL Academy

M - Meetings

According to the latest reports, 70% of meetings prevent employees from doing productive work. The number of meetings attended by an employee increased by 13.5% during the pandemic, while 92% of employees consider meetings costly and unproductive. There are much more effective ways to engage with employees and develop bonds in the absence of face-to-face interactions, including having fewer meetings on the whole.  

Dear Manager, You’re Holding Too Many Meetings – by Benjamin Laker, Vijay Pereira, Ashish Malik, and Lebene Soga for Harvard Business Review

N – Networking

Social capital is the glue that holds organizations together and plays a key role in their performance. In the post-pandemic environment, workplace connections have shrunk amidst rising attrition and hiring challenges. To reverse these trends, companies need to manage their social capital the same way they manage their human, financial, and other forms of business capital – systematically and intentionally.

Network Effects: How to Rebuild Social Capital and Improve Corporate Performance – by Taylor Lauricella, John Parsons, Bill Schaninger, and Brooke Weddle for McKinsey & Company

O - Onboarding

The remote work revolution has dramatically altered many aspects of the employment process, but onboarding is not one of them. The fundamentals of onboarding remain crucial to successfully integrate new employees into the team. This article shares the four key facets to focus on when re-creating the onboarding experience for a remote workforce.

Rethinking Onboarding for the Remote-Work Era – by Roy Maurer for SHRM’s HRMagazine

P - Pay

According to the new Mercer study of employee sentiment, pay has become the number one factor in satisfaction at work, overtaking other factors like the opportunity to grow and a sense of belonging. Pay is now a C-level issue, where the philosophy needs to be supported by the CEO, and it needs to be well-communicated, revisited regularly, and focus on equity above all.

The Growing Role of Pay in Employee Experience and Business Performance – by Josh Bersin

Q - Quiet quitting

One of the biggest buzzwords of the year, quiet quitting refers to employees limiting efforts at work and not going above and beyond their job duties. The author gathers inputs from researchers in organizational behavior, leadership, and employee engagement and performance, on the factors underlying employee disengagement, and how to restore people’s commitment to their work.

Five Ways Managers Can Help Prevent Quiet Quitting – by Ally MacDonald for MIT Sloan Management Review

R - Remote/hybrid work

The work-from-anywhere arrangement has posed a kick-starter problem – it's harder for new employees, new groups, and new ideas to get revved up. For companies to adapt to this change, they need to create an entirely new position, a middle manager for the post-pandemic era: the synchronizer.

The Biggest Problem with Remote Work – by Derek Thompson for The Atlantic

S - Security

There’s a widespread assumption among enterprises that the more challenging a security platform was to use, the more secure it was. A recent study provides insights into how enterprises need to move beyond trading off usability for security and what’s more important to new, virtual and hybrid workforces.  

Improving Digital Employee Experiences Must Start with Cybersecurity – by Louis Columbus for VentureBeat

T - Technology

While core HCM systems are necessary to run a company, they are no longer the center of gravity they once were, argues Josh Bersin. The layers on top of those systems, which he describes as the Employee Experience and Talent Intelligence Systems, are even more important. Research also revealed that the companies that were most successful with large-scale HR tech projects focused on employees first, and technology second.

HR Technology Market Disrupted: Employee Experience Is Now the Core – by Josh Bersin

U - Upskilling

70% of employees say they’re likely to leave their current company for an employer that invests in learning and development. Arguably the best way to retain employees is by investing in their desire to learn, grow, and advance in their careers. An upskill program that keeps employees engaged and retained, and enables their career success, is as important to the company as it is to them.  

How to Upskill Employees for Happier Teams and Better Retention – by Kat Boogaard for Trello Blog

V - Value

By building on the past, companies will be able to create a better future. Dave Ulrich explores the vast array of employee initiatives by clustering them into a “human capability” framework. He explores the evolutions of talent, organization, leadership, and human resources, and how they will set the foundation for HR’s continued value creation.  

Harnessing the Evolution of Human Capability to Create Value – by Dave Ulrich for HRD Connect

W - Workdays

73 companies in the UK are about to complete the biggest trial of a four-day work week ever undertaken, in the entire world. For six months, these companies would bring down their employees’ hours by 20% to about 32 hours a week, while continuing to pay them 100% of their pay. And the anecdotal feedback has been positive so far – 86% of the companies said they will likely continue the four-day workweek policy.  

These Companies Ran an Experiment: Pay Workers Their Full Salary to Work Fewer Days – by Paddy Hirsch for NPR

X, Y, Z - Gen X, Y, Z

Having multiple generations work together isn’t always smooth sailing. This extensive survey aims to help companies bridge generation gaps and be more prepared to lead and support multi-generational teams, by understanding generational preferences and helping employees to better communicate and work together.  

What the Generations Want at Work: Insights for HR, Managers, & Teams – by Strategic HR

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