Employee Engagement vs Employee Experience - and the Importance of Getting Both Right


What is the difference between employee engagement and employee experience?

How do they both affect your business?

How to measure them in your workplace

Tips for improving engagement

Ready to see how rewards can benefit the employee experience?

EMPLOYEE Engagement vs Employee Experience - and the Importance of Getting Both Right

Here at Sodexo Engage we talk a lot about employee engagement. After all, we’re named after it!

Employee engagement impacts so many aspects of your organisation, and failing to get it right can have significant consequences for everything from employee retention to business profitability. However, employee experience is also essential, and while different, intersects with engagement in a number of ways.

So what is employee engagement and employee experience, and how can you improve them within your workplace?

What is the difference between employee engagement and employee experience?

The difference between employee engagement versus employee experience comes down to the difference between input and output.

Employee experience refers to the way an employee interacts with the organisation. It’s about how they see, hear, think and feel about every aspect of their employment. Considerations around employee experience should consider how people will perceive specific policies, and whether or not they’ll impact the impression staff have of the organisation.

By contrast, employee engagement is what you achieve after you’ve developed a positive employee experience. It’s the emotional commitment someone has to the organisation, its goals and the part they play in that.

How do they both affect your business?

While employee experience and engagement are closely linked, the impact of employee experience isn’t just limited to whether or not your people are engaged.

For example, poor employee experiences can lead to negative company reviews on the likes of Glassdoor, stopping people from becoming employees in the first place. Research suggests as many as 7/10 job hunters will consult company reviews before making a career decision, while almost one third (31.3%) of candidates have turned down a job offer due to negative online reviews.

Employee experience is also key for how happy someone is to work for your organisation. Happiness is important for a number of reasons, including productivity, creativity and staff retention

However, when poor employee experience does translate into a disengaged workforce, there are further issues for businesses to face.

A Gallup study showed that absenteeism was reduced by 41% when the workforce was ‘highly engaged’, while productivity was increased by 17%.

It’s also worth noting that low employee engagement leads to poor customer experiences. You’re going to be outperformed by your competitors when it comes to customer ratings if their staff are more engaged than yours.

How to measure them in your workplace

Although 84% of employers recognise the importance of a positive employee experience, only 9% are in a position to improve it. Could this be because they’re not sure how to measure it?

Employee experience can feel somewhat intangible, but there are ways to measure both experience and engagement.

An employee engagement survey is a great place to start, and can be used to measure both. Ask your team, anonymously if you think it’s necessary, about their levels of job satisfaction and how they feel about their specific jobs, but also the organisation’s values, goals, work practices and culture. This survey will give you a well-rounded view of what you’re doing well and where there are issues causing a negative experience that will potentially lead to employee disengagement.

Tips for improving engagement

Now you know the difference between employee experience vs employee engagement, what should you do as an organisation?

Consider the impact

At the start of this article we talked about how one of the most important considerations around employee experience is how staff perceive the organisation. With this in mind, before introducing any new policy or procedure, ask yourselves how employees will perceive it. Have you made an effort to communicate changes clearly to your workers and secure their buy-in?

Failing to consider the impact a new process will have on employees is one of the main causes of disengagement—while they’ll be twice as likely to be actively disengaged if they’re being ignored.

The employee experience begins on day one

Experience isn’t only relevant for long-serving employees—it begins on day one of someone’s employment, and a poor onboarding process can cause a lot of damage to how that staff member perceives the organisation. Companies that get this right from the get-go see 82% higher employee retention than those that don’t.

A strong onboarding process also ensures you get the best out of new hires straight away, with research suggesting it can boost productivity by more than 70%.

Be willing to be more flexible

Working from home and hybrid working, at least to the extent we are now, probably seemed like a fantasy before the pandemic. However, it’s now something employees are looking for—and expecting—more than ever.

Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index found that 46% of workers are likely to move jobs for an organisation that lets them work remotely, while the vast majority of people reported they’d demonstrate more loyalty to their employer if they were offered more flexible working arrangements.

Implement a recognition platform

Do not underestimate the power of rewarding your staff when it comes to improving the employee experience and engagement.

A Gallup study found recognition to be one of the key drivers of employee engagement, and it doesn’t take a huge investment before it starts delivering results. In fact, it takes just 1% of payroll spending for recognition to deliver a positive impact on engagement, according to 85% of companies surveyed by SHRM-Globoforce.

Our employee recognition platform offers the widest choice available on the market, giving you the power to reach every single employee with awesome rewards that incentivise performance, boost employee engagement and help create a fantastic company culture.

Ready to see how rewards can benefit the employee experience?

Here at Sodexo Engage we have unrivaled experience when it comes to helping organisations reward their employees. From delivering on bulk reward fulfillment requests through to developing complete recognition strategies, there’s very little our expert team can’t do.

You’ll have access to our dedicated team of customer service agents and account managers, all on hand to support you in rolling out a rewards and recognition platform that improves employee experience and boosts employee engagement.

Our rewards include:

  • Simple, immediate and impactful employee gift cards that offer a huge choice of retailers, whether your staff want to use them in-store or online.
  • Employee celebration packages that make it easy to recognise everything from long service awards through to hitting company goals.
  • Film vouchers redeemable at the box office, where you can save up to 40% on standard ticket prices, or on Sky Store’s latest releases.
  • Complete spending freedom with our recognition prepaid cards, which are fully reloadable and that can be used anywhere that accepts Visa.

Want to find out more about our rewards solutions? Get in touch with the experts here at Sodexo Engage today.