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Future of Employee Engagement Reinvented: New Rules for Disruption-proof Employee Experience (EX) in 2024

Feb 19, 2024

In today’s fast-evolving work landscape, forward-thinking CHROs and HR leaders are shifting focus from elevating employee engagement to delivering compelling employee experiences. The future is here, and it’s crucial to dissect intricacies of changing employee aspirations, adopt emerging trends and deliberate successful talent practices, to future-proof engagement strategies and deliver impactful experiences. 

To lead the charge on this conversation, BI WORLDWIDE in association with People Matters, hosted an exclusive roundtable discussion – ‘Future of Employee Engagement Reinvented: New Rules for Disruption-proof Employee Experience (EX) in 2024’. A distinguished panel of 22 HR leaders from market-leading organisations across industries, exchanged valuable insights and transformative strategies, to create a new-age roadmap for an engaged workforce.

The roundtable was expertly moderated by Sujit Nair, Regional Director, South and Prasad Poosarla, Chief Technology Officer, BI WORLDWIDE. They facilitated an insightful discussion among industry experts, who shared profound success stories and perspectives.

‘New Rules of Engagement’ Global Research: Overview

The session kickstarted by delving into BI WORLDWIDE’s extensive ‘New Rules of Engagement’ (NRE) global research, which highlights 12 decisive ‘rules’, having the greatest impact on employees’ relationship with their organisations. 

Explicating the intent and purpose of the research, Sujit Nair stated, “Every year at BI WORLDWIDE, we benchmark the NRE research model as an opportunity to understand the emerging trends in EX landscape. This year, we looked at trends like mental health, DEI, and high employee attrition, constantly reshaping the future of employee engagement.”

Undertaking the NRE research is a decade-long practice at BI WORLDWIDE and the “New Rules” are redefined year after year, as new ideas are tested basis how work evolves over time. Sujit Nair put it brilliantly, “While the rules stay the same, their essence changes over time.” The rules empower organisations to achieve the most significant outcomes of employee engagement – high commitment, effort, and inspiration.


Another key aspect of creating a thriving workplace that the session highlighted was – company culture. It was underlined that inclusive leadership, a sense of purpose & belonging and recognition, constitute the foundation of a great company culture

An insightful conversation among HR leaders followed, on the 5 key parameters that BI WORLDWIDE considered while conducting NRE research – onboarding, employee recognition, talent mobility, deskless employee experience and belonging. The leaders shared innovative ideas and measurable metrics that they unlocked at their respective organisations, by implementing unique initiatives focused around the 5 parameters.

High-touch, High-tech Onboarding

Nearly 50% of all new hires experience some significant form of failure in their first 18 months on the job.

Effective onboarding should focus on new hires’ intent to stay, their time-to-proficiency and sense of belonging. Various strategies can help achieve these outcomes, including:

  • Pre-joining 1:1 interactions with leadership and opportunities to visit the workplace.
  • Intermittent and immersive onboarding versus tedious inductions.
  • Peer mentors or ‘Buddy Programs’ to make new joiners feel welcomed.
  • ‘Mic Unmuted’, ‘Ask-Me-Anything’ or other informal trivia sessions to tap into the heart and mind of new hires, keeping tabs on their cultural orientation.
  • Tech-powered onboarding advisors that nudge managers to deliver timely recognition, training, and learning. 
  • Automated or e-learning tools for interactive and unified onboarding experience

Freedom to Thrive with Talent Mobility

Employees who say their jobs allow them to master skills that are important to them feel 2X more belonged.

Modern-day managers and leaders should empower employees to see their future. Foster an inclusive environment where employees across the board can carve their growth trajectory – be it the skills they want to inculcate, or the cross-functional roles they want to take up. Key methods that can be instrumental are:

  • Offering a variety of ad-hoc projects to workforce to deliver diverse learning experiences.
  • Leadership Development Programs enabling tenured employees to adopt roles across streams and domains.

Elevating Deskless Employee Experience

Despite the availability of latest resources in a deskless workplace, only 36% of deskless employees report receiving training. 

Deskless shouldn’t mean disconnected. Nurturing belonging for remote or hybrid employees makes them feel an integral and efficient part of the organisation. Strategies that can play a pivotal role are:

  • ‘Meet and Greet’ sessions with leadership to make distant employees feel included.
  • Celebrating personal and professional milestones of deskless employees on social media, in Townhalls, etc.
  • Metaverse-driven programs, focused on wellbeing, learning, etc. of employees across geographies.

An Inspiring Culture of Recognition

Employees who feel their organisation’s incentives are exciting are 8X more likely to find work inspiring.

A thriving culture of employee recognition is the cornerstone of meaningful relationship with employees. Designing personalised and impactful R&R programs for different sets of employees is the way to go. Key strategies include:

  • Strategic communication nudges for lesser engaged employees to keep them inspired.
  • Celebrating highly engaged employees as ‘Recognition Ambassadors’ and gratifying them on leaderboards.
  • Encouraging managers to leverage Recognition Advisors and other tech tools, featuring templatised recognitions.
  • Experimenting with various Recognition programs – with/without monetary rewards, badges, credits for learning/philanthropy, etc.

Nurturing a Strong Sense of Belonging

88% of employees felt belonged when they were active members of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs).

Belonging is the topmost driver of inspiration as per the NRE research this year. Encouraging employees to bring their full self to work, cultivating an open-minded culture, and connecting them to a mission helps foster belonging. Key strategies to leverage include:

  • Attracting, engaging, and retaining an inclusive candidate pool and workforce.
  • DEI initiatives like ‘Return to Work’, ‘New Mom Groups’ and programs for the specially-abled.
  • Personalised dashboards, providing clarity to employees on growth opportunities.
  • ERGs promoting innovation, recreation, professional development, creativity, etc. for workforce.

Reinventing the Future of Employee Experience

The roundtable discussion emphasised the importance of creating a future-focused EX strategy, aligned with tech innovations, new work models and changing employee expectations. Personalised onboarding, inspiring recognition, choice-driven talent mobility, inclusivity for deskless employees and nurturing belonging, lie at the core of this EX strategy – to inspire high commitment, trust, performance and positively impact business results.

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