Moving from remuneration to employee experience

“In today‘s competitive job market, organisations that wish to attract, retain and motivate the best employees, need to incorporate employee experience management into traditional remuneration,” says Muhammed Goolab, Senior Reward Specialist and exco member at the South African Reward Association (SARA).

A new perspective
While traditional remuneration packages will continue to be the foundation for attracting critical talent, modern job seekers are looking for more than money and standard benefits. In addition, they want purpose, support and fulfilment in their work.

This has been particularly important for millennials who value flexibility, life experiences and freedom to act. They are also a generation with strong social awareness and the image that organisations project both internally and externally is especially important to them.

This trend requires that employers change the way they think about rewards. Instead of hiring against what talent their business operations need to keep running, they should start focusing on the people who drive those processes forward.

“If you take care of your people, they will take care of your company,” says Goolab.

What is employee experience management?
Employee experience management (EXM) is about creating a good first and lasting impression from the time a prospective hire reads your job ad, during the recruitment process, throughout their onboarding and journey with your company, and right up to the day they leave.

That’s because, these days, even your farewell process is open to scrutiny on social media, where word of poor employment practises gets around quickly.

EXM is not only concerned with employee wellbeing and workplace comforts but embraces a holistic, multifaceted approach to overall employee satisfaction, forming a more complete total reward offering.

This can include employees identifying positively with your brand, recognition of their achievements, whether or not you use the latest technologies and your level of innovation, your societal values, the company’s leadership, work-life balance and flexible working arrangements, skills development and career progression, and more.

“In a post pandemic world, it will be important for employee experiences to translate well and cohesively outside of the physical office and into work-from-home and other flexible arrangements,” says Goolab.

Why EXM?
EXM is part of the larger experience management (XM) function within modern companies, which includes employee experience, customer experience, product experience and brand experience. In bigger organisations, XM is led by the Chief Experience Officer (CXO).

Research shows that employees who enjoy good experiences at work contribute positively to a better customer experience, resulting in increased revenues and an improved financial position for their employers.

So while EXM is a concerted effort to better attract, retain and motivate skilled employees, it holds proven strategic benefits for companies that implement it.

Rather than a rigid checklist of to-dos, EXM is a dynamic management function akin to internal marketing or PR, aimed at convincing staff they chose the right employer. At the same time, it must develop real experiences that workers truly value, so frequent employee engagement is a must.

“Employers can no longer simply outbid each other because the currency of a new generation of employees is values they can relate to and respect for their needs as human beings,” says Goolab.

EXM and reward professionals
Whether an organisation has an EXM function or not, its reward professionals will inevitably be involved in or responsible for employee experience development.

“Reward practitioners are ideally positioned to help employers craft a strong employee value proposition that expresses worker expectations as well-defined and meaningful experiences,” says Goolab.

Enterprises that adopt this new approach to reward will have a competitive advantage over employers who continue to focus on redundant ideas about what employees really want from their jobs.