What is Employee Experience and Why Does it Matter?

Employee Experience is Key To Improving Engagement... 

But what is it and how can you get it right?

For years companies have invested time and money in their customer experiences and more recently business and HR leaders have started to invest in their employee experiences as well. After all, people are company's most important assets! But, with only 9% of business leaders and employers feeling ready to address it, there’s more to be done (Deloitte). 

From bringing in departments or roles to focus on employee experience to gathering regular feedback at every stage of the employee lifecycle, here’s all you need to know about employee experience, why it matters and what you can do about it…


What is Employee Experience?

To put it simply, employee experience is what we see and experience while at work, from the moment a candidate starts the recruitment process to their very last day. It brings together employee engagement, culture, all aspects of the workplace, HR, management and anything else that might impact staff. 

To work towards a better experience for everyone, you need to listen to your people at every stage of the employee lifecycle and make changes to address any issues.  

Companies with a good employee experience will have better engagement levels, more productive staff and can generate 25% higher profits (Avande).


What is the Employee Lifecycle?

The employee lifecycle is the five stages we all go through every time we look to move jobs. To get your employee experience right, you need to make sure you’re addressing every stage of the cycle. These are:

Recruitment: although you might not expect it, the recruitment process can have a big impact on how your employees will go on to feel about their jobs. 

You should consider things like how long your recruitment process is, whether your job adverts were clear, was the interview process engaging and the overall candidate experience. 

Onboarding: the next step in the employee lifecycle is onboarding. Making sure your new hires have a good start can affect how long they will stay with you. 

Whether you are doing in person sessions or are onboarding new talent remotely, it’s important to get their first day, week and even year right. This can help change their initial enthusiasm to a long-term connection. 

Employee Development: once an employee is comfortable in their role, they understand your business and have built relationships with their key stakeholders, the next thing they will be thinking about is developing their skills. 

It’s important to offer your teams a chance to build on and expand their skill sets to keep them engaged and happy. This is particularly important for attracting employees who are career-driven and want to make the most out of different experiences. 

Retention: when you have top talent, you’ll want to keep them with your company, so a strong retention strategy is important to continue your company’s success and it makes economic sense too. 

Exit: eventually, everyone will move on from your company, but even as your employees are leaving your company it’s important to stay engaged with them. Use exit interviews or surveys to understand why they have left, so you can make any changes you need to your culture. 


What’s the Difference between Employee Engagement and Experience:

Although they are related, there is a difference between employee engagement and experience. Employee engagement is one of the goals you might put in place when looking to improve your employee experience. 

There are a number of reasons that companies have been switching from just focusing on employee engagement to a more comprehensive look at the whole experience including: 

  • A growing expectation for personalised experiences: employees are expecting to be treated as an individual. 
  • Changing employee demographics: as Millennials and Gen Z are becoming more common in the workplace, there is a need for companies to understand these groups, what they need and how they behave. 
  • The growth of social media: we all know that social media has meant it’s easier for us all to share our day to day lives, including our experiences at work. If a bad review gets out, it can damage your reputation. 

The Factors That Make Up Your Staff’s Experiences at Work:

According to Deloitte, there are five factors that make up the employee experience. These are:

  • Meaningful work: this includes having the autonomy to do their jobs, feeling part of an empowered team and not being overworked.
  • Supportive management: this includes having clear and transparent goals, coaching and making sure managers are developing their skills. 
  • Positive work environment: from flexible work, a culture that includes recognition to a fair, inclusive and diverse work environment, these all contribute towards a positive workplace.
  • Growth opportunity: providing training and support on the job as well as learning opportunities will go along way to creating a positive employee experience.
  • Trust in leadership: to help you improve your staff’s experiences at work, you need a clear mission and purpose, be transparent, honest and inspiring as well as invest in your people. 


How to Build Your Employee Experience Strategy: 

Now you know why you should be focussing on employee experience, as well as what it involves, here’s where to start with your strategy. 

Decide your goals:

The first step in creating your strategy is deciding what you want to achieve by improving your staff’s experiences at work. This could be engagement, productivity, attracting new talent or retaining your top employees. You might have a couple of goals, but it’s best to choose one to focus on to begin with and then once you’ve achieved that, build on your success to take on the next challenge. 

Measure your datA:

If you want to improve your employees’ experiences at work, you need to understand what they’re feeling. To do this you need to get feedback through engagement surveys to tell you what areas need improvement. 

Most companies do employee surveys once per year, but it can be more effective to get feedback continuously throughout the year. That way positive experiences and issues are highlighted when they’re front of mind. 

Make use of your feedback:

Once you’ve started getting regular feedback from your employees, it’s important to use that. Try to identify managers, departments or teams that need extra support and give them the opportunity to improve. 


What Are Some Employee Experience Best Practices:

Once you’ve understood the employee lifecycle, the factors that make up staff’s experiences at work, and have started to build your strategy, you might want to start introducing some best practices. Here are just a few examples to give you some inspiration: 

  • Make everything accessible: for much of our lives, we can use just our smartphones and that needs to apply to employee experiences too. Whether it’s development opportunities or employee benefits, they need to be accessible, easy to use and mobile friendly. 
  • Have a dedicated resource focused on it: whether it’s a senior leader or a few people in the HR team, make sure you have someone focused on employee experience. They can then work with engagement, learning, and career development teams. 
  • Invest in tech: to help your employees get their work done efficiently make sure to invest in the tools that can help them. 
  • Don’t forget about the workplace: whether they’re working from home, the office, or a hybrid of the two, you won’t get the most from your employees if they’re working in an uninspiring office. People who are happy in their environment will have improved concentration and more productivity as well as better well being. 


How we can help you improve your employee experience:

If you’re not sure where to start with building an employee experience strategy that will engage employees, help you reduce staff turnover and improve your bottom line, we can help! Get in touch with our experts today to find out how we can help guide you through using employee benefits and rewards and recognition to improve your staff’s experience at work.

employee satisfaction survey guide and template


Deloitte - Reimagine and Craft the Employee Experience