Reimagining Employee Experience — Retaining Your Employees

Town Hall Insights
UK CHRO Community

Jessica Brannigan

Lead People Scientist

Culture Amp


Simon Little

Chief People Officer



Jabbar Sardar

Global HRD

BBC Studios


Alison Sharp

Chief People Officer

BSI Group


When the Great Resignation is on the minds of CHROs everywhere, rethinking how to look after and retain employees is imperative. The leadership provided by managers plays a vital role in maintaining a sense of belonging, in all elements of the business – but how can CHROs keep up with the ever-evolving needs of workers?

At a UK & Ireland CHRO Community Virtual Town Hall, Lead People Scientist Jessica Brannigan of Culture Amp moderated a panel discussion on employee retention with Simon Little, Chief People Officer at Navico, Jabbar Sardar, Global HRD at BBC Studios, and Alison Sharp, Chief People Officer at BSI Group. 

Brannigan kicked off the presentation by sharing that management professor Anthony Klotz coined the phrase the "Great Resignation," and he believes the rise of hybrid and remote work helped fuel the phenomenon. In terms of timing, employees who didn't feel secure enough to leave their jobs during the pandemic led to increased turnover in 2021 (and projected turnover in 2022) when the job market became more stable and robust.

The principal risk to business leaders is the shortage of talent – particularly among Generation Z. A recent Adobe survey of 5,500 workers found that 56% of those ages 18–24 say they are planning to switch jobs in the next year. 

A Challenge and an Opportunity

Despite the challenges of employee turnover and recruitment, several CHROs in attendance also reframed the issue as an opportunity to take another look at employee retention strategies. One HR leader noted that “forward-thinking companies are doubling down on their employees.”

Another CHRO shared that employee experience is key to retention, and company leaders need to “demonstrate that you're listening to workers, whilst also looking at goal setting and performance.” It’s also an opportunity for companies to better understand employees and try to match their culture and offerings to what the workforce wants.

Keeping Up with Trends

The panelists shared how much the pandemic has affected what their employees want – such as less travel, no commuting, or the ability to work from anywhere. People have re-evaluated how they spend their time and no longer want to go back to certain pre-pandemic norms. HR leaders also emphasised that it’s more important than ever to have data demonstrating what employees are looking for to help make a business case for changes to employee benefits and offerings.

People want to feel valued and that they are adding value.”


Several HR leaders in attendance also mentioned the fierce competition they are facing when it comes to other companies trying to poach their employees. They’ve seen many instances of high counter-offers or several rounds of back-and-forth negotiations in an attempt to keep people. They thought that certain industries were benefiting from their ability to recruit workers during this time.


Aligning Values and Needs

The changing needs of the workforce have also led companies to re-evaluate whether their culture and organisational values align with their employees’ values. One HR leader noted that creating an inclusive culture and making progress on their Environmental, Social and Governance efforts have helped make their company a good place to work and improve longevity. Another noted that their organisation would like to keep the good parts from the pre-pandemic work culture, but integrate them into aspects of the culture that employees appreciate now.

Throughout the pandemic, many organisations had more town hall meetings, listening forums, and employee feedback surveys, and HR leaders feel that staying connected to employees in these ways is critical. One CHRO noted also that their company treated employees well during the pandemic, offering flexibility and prioritising health, safety and well-being. As one noted, “‘How you acted 10 months ago will either help you succeed or come back to bite you.”

The Great Resignation is leading to alternative ways of thinking about employee retention and experience. Executives agreed that no matter who you are or what company you lead, there are opportunities to double down on what your employees want. They also believe it is time to rethink getting the right data on what employees need, giving people a voice, and demonstrating that you are listening to their feedback. They think that now is the time to evolve your HR leadership strategy to centre it around your people.


An Invaluable Network 

The UK & Ireland CHRO Virtual Town Hall was attended by 112 regional and global CHROs from leading organisations, such as Mastercard, Starbucks Coffee Company,, PepsiCo UK, and Shell. This is the most senior gathering of HR leaders, with 96 percent of participants with C-level or equivalent Head of Function job titles.

This community is built by CHROs and for CHROs to drive innovative ideas, share forward-looking perspectives and solve critical leadership challenges through peer-to-peer collaboration.



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