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Employee experience trends for 2023

While it’s difficult to predict any specific event, one thing we can predict is that through 2023 and beyond, business and employees will face ongoing disruption.

It’s well documented that disruption impacts employees and business performance. Yet, while disruption creates certain challenges, many organisations are able to thrive.

WTW research, spanning a decade, found key trends as to why some companies thrive in the face of adversity, by comparing employee experiences for a group of organisations that are highly effective at change and transformation (employee experience change masters) with a group of organisations that were undergoing significant negative disruption (disrupted organisations).

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What’s the key to success?

There are three key elements that shape how certain organisations are able to thrive during times of disruption: being adaptable, having positive leaders and having superior financial results.

Employee experience (EX) change masters are experts at change. They navigate global dynamics far better than most organisations.

They anticipate market needs better, get the pace of change right in employees’ eyes, and instil confidence that things are changing for the better.

EX change masters have a unique DNA. When compared with disrupted organisations, EX change masters have leaders who create an experience that is inspiring, future-focused and market shaping.

They are highly organised, set the tone and empower employees. They instil trust, are respectful, care for employee wellbeing, and provide fair and equitable rewards.

EX change masters return superior financial performance. In a three-year period, EX change masters achieved 264% greater revenue growth, 33% greater return on equity, 20% greater return on assets and 68% greater return on capital.


How to future-proof your organisation for 2023

Take a systematic approach to future-proofing your EX. Becoming an EX change master requires systematic fine-tuning of employee experience, so that it remains resilient in times of disruption.

This is achieved through an agile and ongoing listening strategy that provides an understanding of the sources of stress. The organisations that are effective at handling change and transformation will then address those stressors.

Labour costs often constitute one of the biggest annual investments that companies make. In an increasingly competitive and disruptive world, attracting, retaining and engaging talent will require optimal allocation of this investment by understanding what employees need and value. Without a robust and systematic approach to employee listening, companies run the risk of misspending.

Take targeted actions to become an EX change master.

Emulating the actions that differentiate today’s EX change masters is the first step toward becoming an EX change master. From the analysis, there are 15 actions which EX change masters excel at most.

  • Prioritise wellbeing
  • Promote non-financial recognition
  • Ensure fair and equitable pay
  • Provide resources for people to manage careers
  • Recruit top talent pro-actively
  • Promote only the most competent
  • Ensure vision is clear for all employees
  • Construct a well-formulated mission and strategy
  • Empower and distribute decision-making
  • Ensure operational and staffing excellence
  • Shape the market, anticipate new products
  • Move quickly from idea to implementation
  • Encourage the best in people
  • Encourage people to challenge tradition

Thriving through uncertainty is attainable

Disruption is far from over, and employers need to prepare in order to adapt and survive. Ongoing disruptions will significantly impact employees at work and at home, essentially turning business models on their heads.

Resilient and future-proof organisations will be able to ride the shocks and thrive, if they have made preparations for change. But the organisations that don’t prepare, will be setting themselves up for failure.


Gaby Joyner is head of employee experience, Europe, and Stephen Young, managing director, employee experience at WTW