Wowing Employees at Work

Today’s employees want robust benefits; a mission that inspires them; and a workplace culture that fosters trust, professional growth, and work/life balance.

Faced with an ongoing “Great Resignation,” companies are trying to figure out how to not only bring employees back but keep them—and make them happy to stay. Wowing employees at work is not an easy task, especially since employee work passion dropped dramatically in the COVID-19 era, with dimensions such as connection to colleagues and leaders, collaboration, and feedback taking the biggest hits, according to a recent survey by The Employee Work Passion Company in partnership with Training magazine (see read more here).

In the past, salary bumps and bonuses might have done the trick, but today’s employees are looking beyond the mighty dollar. “They want robust benefits; a mission that inspires them; and a workplace culture that fosters trust, professional growth, and work/life balance,” notes Robert Garcia, vice president of ICF Coaching in Organizations, in “Improved Retention Through a Coaching Culture: Lessons from Cleveland Clinic.” They also seek perks such as four-day workweeks and flexible hours, remote work options, in-office yoga studios and gyms, and access to quiet spaces in the workplace.

As companies try to lure employees back to the office by offering everything from free lunch to private concerts, employees are less interested in fun and games during the workday and more hungry for perks that enhance their work/life satisfaction, a survey of 4,000-plus adults by Feelback Group for Framery found. Indeed, almost half of all office workers identified fitness perks, such as yoga studios and office gyms (46%), and access to a designated quiet space (44%) as the office perks they want most.

According to FlexJobs’ Work Insight 2022 Survey of 1,200 people currently employed, remote work (77%) is considered the second most important element, ranked only behind salary (83%). In fact, remote work has become such a priority among today’s workers that 57 percent say if they are not allowed to keep working remotely in their current position, they will look for a new job.

Ultimately, says Joe Camberato, CEO and founder of National Business Capital, “if you want your company to succeed, you have to take responsibility for employee engagement—and it’s an ongoing commitment.” He offers some strategies to do that in “5 Ways to Help Your Employees Win at Work.”

Understand the Why

Kokoro Robinson, VP of Talent Acquisition at Velocity Global, believes terms such as the “Great Resignation” or the “War on Talent” create fear rather than inspiration. Instead of offering benefits your employees either don’t want or don’t take advantage of, he says, you need to understand the why behind your employees’ movements and work with your teams to create meaningful work they want to invest in. Asking them what their priorities are, and whether they’ve changed, is an important step in retaining them long term, he notes in “The Great Resignation or the Great Reimagination?” HR departments can lead the way in helping to identify key employee needs and solve them, adds Ramesh Ramani, co-founder, president, and CEO of ExpertusONE (see “How HR Can Be the Central Nervous System of Employee Engagement”).

Echoing Robinson’s point, Alpha UMi founder and CEO Carrie Root, Ph.D., advises: “Don’t put people in an environment where they are boxed into performing a defined set of tasks without the ability to provide any input about those tasks. That is stifling for them and not healthy for your company.” In “Creating an Organizational Mindset and Environment for Developing Future Leaders,” she offers a blueprint for creating an environment that is conducive to empowering your workforce.

Leaders Play a Key Role

An employee’s mindset also plays a role in engagement, notes Jaimie Krause, Ph.D. A fixed mindset is the belief that you are born with a certain amount of ability and you are unable to further develop in this area. A growth mindset, on the other hand, is the ability to develop and grow with effort, learning, and persistence. Those with a growth mindset see their current abilities as the place where they are starting but—with dedication—will certainly surpass. Click here to discover what Learning and Development (L&D) and leaders can do to promote employees’ growth mindsets.

Leaders play a huge role in the development of their employees, as well as their company’s culture, stresses Zach Smith, chief activation officer and co-founder of Activate 180. “Managers who pause to coach, empower, and advance the success of their employees build a foundation of trust that will equip their team to withstand organizational or personal obstacles,” he writes in “How to Take Responsibility and Ownership in Employee Social Agreements,” leading their employees to show up stronger for their businesses.

Steve Krull, founder of digital marketing agency Be Found Online, found that creating a culture that gives back and prioritizes social responsibility improves overall employee morale. He believes his company’s 95 percent employee retention rate is largely due to the organization’s culture. He offers 5 tips to make an impact in “Case Study: How Be Found Online Embeds Giving Back Into Its Framework.”

Empowering Employees

In the end, as Mary Schafer, vice president in ADP’s Change Management organization, concludes in “3 Tips on Reskilling and Upskilling for Tomorrow’s Workforce,” “building a supportive workplace culture that emphasizes training for all levels of employees is key to navigating the current tight talent market… Such programs will help to drive employee satisfaction and retention, along with building a culture of growth that empowers people to achieve their greatest potential.”

I encourage you to apply for our 2023 Training APEX Awards and tell us about your training programs that are empowering your employees to achieve their greatest potential. To download the 2023 application and the qualitative and quantitative scoring guidelines, please visit:

I’ll also present a special Webinar, “2023 Training APEX Awards: Your Journey to the Top!” with one of our Training Hall of Fame judges on Friday, July 29, at 11 a.m. Eastern. We’ll offer application tips and takeaways and answer questions. If you can’t attend in person, you will be able to listen to the recording on demand at your leisure. Register at:

Last But Not Least

I hope to connect with you in person at our upcoming TechLearn 2022 Conference September 20-22 in Austin, TX. Download a brochure to learn more and click here to register. You’ll get an automatic $200 discount on the TechLearn Conference with the Early Bird Rate. See you in September!

Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.