` 3 ways to heighten the employee experience by meeting psychological needs | Reward and Employee Benefits Association (REBA)
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13 Apr 2022
by David Danzig

3 ways to heighten the employee experience by meeting psychological needs

Three key elements – workplace culture, recognition and modern leadership

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As reward professionals, we’re gaining a better understanding of the importance of creating ‘peak’ moments for heightening the employee experience, and how fulfilling employees’ psychological needs of autonomy , mastery and connection create more opportunities for peak moments. 
However, what practical measures can leaders take to satisfy these psychological needs, helping to create more positive experiences for everyone

It’s important to focus on three key elements – workplace culture, recognition and modern leadership.

OC Tanner’s 2022 Global Culture Report highlights that every employee has key psychological needs – the need for ownership over their work (autonomy), the need to demonstrate aptitude (mastery), and the need to feel a sense of belonging (connection). In fact, when all three needs are met, the employee experience is boosted by 655%, creating ‘peak’ moments that build strong connections and make lasting impressions. HR and reward professionals must therefore find ways to fulfil one or all of these needs in pursuit of a heightened employee experience. 

1. Workplace culture
A good starting point is to focus on the key elements of workplace culture. Let’s take company purpose, opportunities and wellbeing, for example. By emphasising how employees fulfil the organisation’s purpose and how they personally make a difference, this satisfies their need for connection and mastery. Plus, providing employees with opportunities to grow and develop through training, special projects, organising volunteering days and offering secondments, for instance, will satisfy the needs of autonomy and mastery. And by better understanding each employee and providing tailored wellbeing support, albeit mental health advice, financial guidance or more social/team activities, this fulfils the need for connection.

2. Recognition
Secondly, recognition must become an integrated part of everyday culture. This means allowing recognition to take place seamlessly. Supportive technology is key here, as well as appreciating efforts, accomplishments and career milestones. Organisations that routinely implement new programmes and technologies to recognise great work raise the probability of higher connection satisfaction by 130% and increase the likelihood of higher mastery satisfaction by 122%. When recognition is frequent, sincere and public, it’s likely to result in peak experiences.

3. Modern leadership
Finally, championing modern leaders who focus on connecting their people to purpose, accomplishments and each other, strongly fulfils all three basic psychological needs, and is more likely to lead to peak moments. HR and reward professionals must support the company’s pursuit of modern leadership, finding ways to strengthen connections between leaders and their teams, while encouraging leaders to be mentors, collaborators and advocates.

It’s important for HR and reward professionals to take a fresh look at the employee experience, finding ways to create lasting peak experiences by fulfilling these needs. Taking this approach is more likely to lead to a flourishing culture in which everyone feels accepted, valued and successful. 

In partnership with O.C. Tanner

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