Happy multiracial business team giving high fives gesture , celebrating success

Competition to hire and retain top talent is heating up for companies around the world, according to a survey conducted by Hanover Research for Ceridian. The survey found that a consistent and prominent employee experience (EX) coupled with using the right technology to attract and retain top talent could ensure companies stay relevant and competitive.

Ceridian’s “2021-2022 Executive Survey” includes responses from 2,000 leaders from seven countries whose companies employ more than 1,000 employees across 37 industries. The results illustrate COVID-19’s impact on organizations and identify which challenges, strategies, and opportunities these leaders are addressing. 

The survey found that a good EX strategy is integral to optimizing a company’s workforce. Almost three-quarters (72%) of leaders said EX is a high priority or essential, aligning with the views of previously surveyed employers. However, only about a quarter (24%) of participants in Ceridian’s survey strongly agreed that their companies are responsive to addressing issues.

Since employees are the foundation for certain activities such as building a brand, creating and marketing products, and maintaining operations, the impact of not having a strong EX strategy can be far-reaching. With the shift to remote work due to COVID-19, companies’ digital capabilities became more important than ever to employees’ overall work experience.

Technology adoption

Many respondents (42%) said that the pandemic boosted their digital transformation efforts, and 79% felt their company’s overall digital maturity increased over the past year. 

There was an immediate need to accommodate remote work ― 41% of respondents said they invested in remote work tools ahead of schedule, while 37% did the same with remote learning. Participants also mentioned continuous listening and feedback platforms, and 43% adopted digital onboarding tools and HR self-service platforms.

Within the next two years, respondents said they plan to adopt several EX technologies, such as:

  • candidate relationship management (47%)
  • career management/pathing (48%)
  • AI-driven skills matching (49%) 
  • earned wage early access solutions (50%) 

But some obstacles to the implementation of technologies exist, as 72% of leaders said they aren’t fully able to execute their technology implementation goals.

Human capital management (HCM) systems could be helpful to building a better EX, especially when it comes to communication, agility, and personalization. Companies can transform communication to better fit a remote work environment by providing access to on-demand information for employees. Agility allows a company’s EX to evolve within changing conditions. And personalization can provide a customized experience to fit individual employee needs.

Employee benefits and career development

Recognition, compensation, and benefits are all correlated with employee satisfaction. On the benefits side of things, almost 40% of participants are reconsidering their health and wellness benefits in light of post-pandemic life. Less than half (42%) said they will offer more work flexibility, including perks like flexible hours, within the next two years. 

Organizations are doing better when it comes to skills acquisition and career development, which are also key to retaining top talent. About three-quarters (74%) of respondents said their organization sees investing in future learning and workplace reskilling as a high priority or essential. 

In closing, companies can take the following steps to create an impactful EX:

  1. Create a cross-functional team to study their current EX, pinpointing where it’s succeeding as well as where it can improve.
  2. Hold a focus group with employees to discuss their personal experiences with onboarding, learning, talent acquisition, and performance.
  3. Gather IT, HR, and other key stakeholders to assess technology investments and consider further integration.

According to Alexandra Levit, futurist and author, digital transformation has come a long way since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The level of post-pandemic digital sophistication is truly impressive,” she said, “Now we just need to ensure that organizations are leveraging human capital management tools to their full potential and capability.”