What Is The Employee Experience & Why It Matters

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Chief Technology Officer

92% of employers have identified that enhancing the employee experience is an important priority and plan to improve employee experiences within the next three years. So, with so many organizations prioritizing EX, it is essential to understand what is employee experience, why it matters, and how it impacts an organization. 

In this blog, we will help you understand:

If you’re looking for examples around the employee experience, watch our recent webinars or register for our upcoming webinar and virtual half-day event.

What Is Employee Experience? 

Employee experience relates to the impact a workplace has on an employee. The experience is made up of every touchpoint and interaction an employee has in an organization. This can range from human interactions to how a system works. 

Employee experience encompasses several aspects. Some include: 

  • How an employee feels
  • Employee perception
  • Employee well-being
  • Impact of the organization on an employee’s life

Employees have more expectations of employers than ever before. An employee wants to be engaged and feel like their job makes an impact and that an organization values them. They also desire career progression and development opportunities. 

The employee experience is more important than ever for employers to consider. Today, employers are competing for employees more than ever before, and employees are rethinking what they should expect from their employers.

Luckily, companies are waking up and prioritizing the employee experience more than ever.

“… we’re seeing a “great EX awakening” — one that has 92% of organizations prioritizing EX enhancements over the next three years. This figure is up from 52% prior to the pandemic.”

2021 Employee Experience Survey Highlights – WTW (wtwco.com)

Key Aspects or Environments of a Great Employee Experience

So, how do you create a great employee experience? What steps are needed to adjust operations to incorporate an employee experience strategy? In his book “The Employee Experience Advantage,” Jacob Morgan has led the way with great explanations for how these interwoven and reinforcing environments might be broken down, so let’s use that as our foundation.

The three environments that impact every employee experience from The Employee Experience Advantage.
“The Employee Experience Advantage,” Jacob Morgan

Businesses should focus on three main areas or environments that impact employee experience: 

  • Cultural
  • Technological
  • Physical

When we approach employee experience, it’s important to consider what we can change and influence. At the end of the day, an organization is responsible for improving the work environment so that employees can have the best experience. These environments are interwoven and all-important, but with the continued shift towards hybrid work, the importance of a physical workplace environment has decreased, and the importance of cultural and technological advantage has become more evident.

Cultural

Company culture is how connected teams feel within an organization. Culture also represents how employees feel about the company and how customers perceive a business. A great, positive culture can create a great reputation for a business. 

Culture is grounded in shared values, visible in day-to-day practices, exemplified by words of leaders and managers, and actuated in the organization’s processes and structure – the “vibe” of the workplace.

Companies should create a culture around making employees feel valued and appreciated, which will go a long way in developing a better employee experience. Employers should align the organizational vision and experience strategy with cultural values. Doing this the right way can impact motivation, performance, and satisfaction. 

The problem with the cultural environment is that many see it as largely intangible, and thereby while it can influence employee experience, it can be harder to action.

Technology Or Digital

Technology and tools make work easier in most industries. It’s just a fact. So, companies should think of how digital enhancements will impact their employees and improve the employee experience. 

Technological environments that impact the employee experience include technologies like hardware and software, but it also sometimes includes technologies represented as methodologies such as Agile.

Technological or digital advancements will streamline operations and make employees more efficient. Leveraging technology will also improve productivity. Employees can worry less about mundane tasks and more about the important, revenue-generating duties. 

Tackling the technology or digital employee experience can be done by thinking about it as a set of complementary digital experiences working together. Each requires effective software, services, and systems to improve the employee experience.

When we consider the technological environment, we break this down into three key categories of digital employee experience:

  • Employee Communication Experiences – The digital experiences employees have when interfacing with organizational communication, such as Intranets or how they access, navigate, search, discover, and find the knowledge or content they need.
  • Employee Collaboration Experiences – The digital experiences employees have when interfacing with teams, groups, and communities within (and without) the organization. This also includes how employees connect, network, and work together.
  • Employee Management Experiences – The digital experiences employers, managers, leaders, and employees use to manage themselves, their teams, their groups or their communities. This is one of the biggest areas undergoing considerable acceleration on the digital side today.
The three environments that impact every employee experience with our focus area callout.
“The Employee Experience Advantage,” Jacob Morgan

As a brief example, consider how the hybrid work experience is multi-faceted with communication, collaboration and management, all having different digital tools and ways they impact or enhance culture and the physical environment.

  • The modern intelligent Intranet may be a great example of a critical communications experience for hybrid employees to get what they need to be effective remotely while feeling engaged and connected.
  • Collaboration may be greater in volume, velocity, and variety and require better experiences that make meetings more effective and help with the collaboration leading up to and after the meetings.
  • Lastly, employee management may require new experiences that help employees manage their work-life balance. Managers understand where they may be losing touch, or organizations where they can pro-actively nudge and improve outcomes, all with digital tools that use our work data to inform us on how we can improve.

Physical

Historically, the office environment was where organizations had the greatest degree of control. Now, for many organizations, that has now changed as work environments do not have to be in an office any longer. The COVID-19 pandemic proved many companies could easily move to a remote or hybrid model and employers and employees took note.

When companies allow employees more flexibility in working, a greater experience is created. If working at an office is a must, employers should make sure the environment is positive and allows for efficiency. Transitions into hotelling and collaborative spaces that provide an experience that complements a hybrid or remote workforce are especially important today.

Employees take note of employers who also work to improve employee home working environments or physical environments they work in. From ergonomic consulting to perk/purchase programs to provide employees the hardware, furniture, or assets they need even when working remotely, employees have their eyes open.

Why Is Digital Employee Experience So Important?

We elaborated on the digital employee experience the most above because today, it is where the most significant and accessible change is made possible. Cultural environments are as important as ever, and the emphasis on physical environments has transitioned towards greater emphasis on digital environments.

What’s more, the marketplace has accelerated offerings and capabilities in this space tremendously over the past few years.

A great employee experience in a digital environment is empowering. Employees with positive experiences are more likely to stay loyal to a company. When an organization uses a remote or hybrid model of work, having an effective digital employee experience platform is a must if you expect engaged employees. 

Remote work can leave employees feeling disconnected if not done correctly. Businesses can mitigate this with a digital workplace focused on culture and collaboration. 

Employees want meaningful work with a purpose. And the impact of employee experience can make or break an organization. Those will bad experiences have higher turnover and less productivity. 

Benefits Of A Good Employee Experience

A great employee experience benefits not only workers but also the organization. Engaged and satisfied employees are more productive and happier to be at work. 

Key benefits include: 

  • Increased performance
  • Higher engagement
  • Lower absentee rates
  • Greater employee satisfaction 
  • Higher quality work 

You can learn more about each of these benefits below. 

Benefits of a Good Employee Experience

Increased Performance 

Satisfied and happy employees tend to be more productive. And higher productivity leads to better performance. Employees are a key aspect of a successful organization, so creating a positive experience for them is vital. 

Higher Engagement

When employees have the systems and tools to make their jobs easier, they will have higher engagement ratings. When employees are engaged, performance will increase and improve. 

Lower Absentee Rates

Absenteeism rates are higher when an employee really dislikes a work environment or culture. Companies can mitigate this problem by focusing the entire culture on a great employee experience. 

Greater Employee Satisfaction

Engaged and happy employees are satisfied. Satisfaction increases when workers don’t have to struggle to do their jobs due to ineffective systems. And when the culture focuses on them as individuals, satisfaction increases. 

Higher Quality Work 

When you add all of this together, you get higher-quality work. When employees are happy with their jobs, the quality of their work increases alongside their happiness.

How To Measure the Success of Employee Experience Initiatives

Employers should consider a few different aspects of an employee’s experience. To get a clear picture, companies have to look at all activities. When assessing the success of a business’s initiatives, consider the following: 

  • Well-being
  • Connection
  • Focus 
  • Empowerment
  • Growth opportunities
  • Purpose 

Are employees impacted positively in all these areas? Do they understand their purpose within the organization? That’s the first step to driving success across the other areas. 

Employee Experience Success Metrics

Leaders should have a strong strategy and employee experience management practices. There are several ways to strengthen employee experience across an organization. Those include: 

  • Being empathetic
  • Flexible working options
  • Employee feedback
  • Better culture
  • More learning opportunities
  • Offer a sense of belonging

Discover the impact on employee experience for each of these components below. 

Being Empathetic

A little empathy can go a long way with employees. Consider the employee experience from an employee’s perspective. A lot of employees leave organizations due to management teams without empathy. 

So, be authentic. Think of employees as human beings with lives outside of work. And add a personal touch when communicating with workers. 

Flexible Working Options

As discussed above, workers want flexibility. If possible, add this to your working model. Remote options make employees happier and more productive. 

Employee Feedback

Before deciding on how to improve the employee experience, ask employees what they’d like to see changed. Going straight to the source before making changes will save time and money. And experiences will improve because you’ll be resolving specific concerns. 

Better Culture

Also discussed above, a better culture focused on valuing employees is an important step. Small changes to the company culture can go a long way in improving employee experiences. 

More Learning Opportunities

Employees want to grow and advance in their careers. Offering more learning opportunities enables employees to strengthen their skills. This leads to a better experience. 

Allow management teams to discuss career paths and give employees the time and resources needed to meet their goals is a must. 

A Sense of Belonging 

Employees want to understand their purpose in the organization. And feel like they belong. Creating a culture focused on value and collaboration will help employees feel a sense of belonging. 

Identifying the 8 Stages of the Employee Experience

There are several ways to improve employee experience with a few simple tweaks to existing processes. When considering how to best approach employee experience, it is important to look at the entire employee experience cycle.

Most methodologies frame the cycle needing to represent seven stages of recruitment, onboarding, engagement, performance, development, and departure. Two areas many orgs underestimate how much influence they have on are the pre-recruitment and post-departure phases of an employee’s journey.

We see it as an 8-stage journey based on the importance of those additional or extended stages.

Improving Employee Experience by understanding the 8 stages

The 8 stages of an employee lifecycle include:

  1. Pre-recruitment or attract
  2. Recruitment or hiring
  3. Onboarding
  4. Engagement
  5. Performance
  6. Development
  7. Departure
  8. Post Departure or Alumni


Keep a lookout for our blogs dedicated to tips on improving the employee experience based on each stage of the journey and another dedicated to the employee experience framework.

Improve & Understand the Employee Experience with Help From The Experts

Now that you understand digital employee experience and its importance, we’re here to help guide you to a better experience. We can help you navigate to better EX by showcasing solutions for today’s and tomorrow’s employee experience in our webinar series that has been building to our half-day event.

Webinars On Solving Today’s Employee Experience Challenges

Solving Tomorrow, Today: The Future of Employee Experience (Virtual Event)

Solving Tomorrow, Today The Future of Employee Experience Virtual Event
REGISTER TODAY

3 expert led sessions on the future of employee communication, collaboration, and management. Find out what you need to know and how to future proof your organization.

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