More than an HR Trend: Understanding the "Employee Experience" Correctly

Feb 11, 2021

The term “Employee Experience” (EX for short) has been making the rounds in the HR community for quite some time. But what exactly lies behind it is still unclear to many. The declared goal is to create the most inspiring work experience possible for employees, which has a direct impact on their commitment to the company. Subject areas covered by Employee Experience are broad: From the working atmosphere, to communication and team interaction. The "Employee Experience" is complex - and needs to be properly understood by managers and HR. In the following we want to provide a guideline with some pest practise tips on how to improve your employee experience. 

My philosophy has always been, if you can put staff first, your customers second, and shareholders third, effectively, in the end, the shareholders do well, the customers do better, and your staff remains happy. — Sir Richard Branson, Entrepreneur

What is Employee Experience? - Definition 

"Employee Experience" is one of the most important and at the same time one of the most abstract keywords. Employee Experience can be defined as the general perception of a company from the employees' perspective. It describes the sum of moments, interactions and impressions that influence an employee within a certain period of time in the company. Employees have certain touchpoints that have a direct and lasting effects on the employee perception of the corporate culture. Starting with the application, the recruiting, onboarding processes (contact us to help you set up proper onboarding), daily to-do's, feedback sessions and routines to the final interview: All these and more factors characterize the "Employee Experience". 

Importance of the Employee Experience

Many managers have dedicated themselves to the topic of employee engagement and made corresponding efforts. Some of them have already noticed that the mood is only temporarily improving, the employees are only more motivated for a short period of time. It has been shown that many measures only have a short-term impact on employee satisfaction and corporate culture.In the search for a long-term, sustainable solution, the concept of Employee Experience promises better and more lasting effects. 

Companies Benefit 

If employees experience a lot of positive things because of the culture, technology, structure and organization in the company, this increases their motivation. If the good experiences are carried through the entire employee life cycle, this will increase the employees' identification with the company. To sum up: Employee loyalty increases and therefore the employee's commitment and performance.On the one hand, employees journey are an important success factor; a company is only ever as good as its workforce. On the other hand, employees will share their positive experiences and recommend the company as an employer - on the Internet or in conversations with friends and acquaintances. Last but not least, Employee Experience Management is also an important tool for employer branding. 

Setting the Focus Correctly

Dedicating and making efforts to the topic of "Employee Experience" also means moving away from the "We've always done it this way" mentality and focusing on topics that are difficult to calculate - such as the feelings and moods of employees. There are four different parties, that play important roles in the concept of a good employee experience: The CEO: Employee experience is the result of a well-founded corporate mission and clearly defined goals. HR: The Human Resources department is responsible for implementing the Employee Experience and implementing changes.Leadership:Business leaders are dedicated to the "Employee Experience" by nurturing and challenging their teams as they achieve the HR team's goals.Employees:The entire company pays for the "Employee Experience", for example through regular, open and direct feedback and by involving employees in decision-making processes.By analyzing the work environment correctly and building it up in a targeted manner, corporate leaders can influence employee retention. If the corporate culture is fundamentally positive, the "Employee Experience" approach can act as a fertiliser here. The result: committed and loyal employees, increased productivity and sustainable growth.

Differentiation Employee Experience and Employee Engagement

Employee engagement and employee experience are quite similar. Both terms use the same terminology. Among other things, corporate culture, working conditions and feedback processes are cited when talking about the two concepts. Experts are well aware of these duplications. This makes it all the more important to emphasize the distinguishing features: Employee engagement can be defined as the emotional connection that an employee feels towards his or her workplace. This influences various other factors, such as his or her personal interest in achieving company goals and individual success.To feel integrated and valued, employees need open, mutual feedback. Read more about feedback-culture on our Blog. To be challenged, employees need an atmosphere that promotes individual growth. To feel comfortable, employees need to be offered a positive environment, which can be developed both through appropriate recruiting and a pleasant office environment. All this falls under the heading of "Employee Experience". To sum up: "Employee Experience" provides the right tool to increase employee engagement.

Sparking Commitment, Boosting Productivity

A working environment is characterized by many interlinked elements: These factors influence each other and together result in a highly complex construct. To simplify matters, rooms can be identified. 

The Cultural Environment:

In the broadest sense, culture refers to everything that man himself produces. Applied to the working environment, culture can be understood as a feeling that depends on, among other things, leadership style, interaction and appreciation between colleagues. The cultural environment can be optimised by using open communication and feedback channels to ensure that the workplace remains positive and productive.

Why is culture so important to a business? Here is a simple way to frame it. The stronger the culture, the less corporate process a company needs. When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing. - Brian Chesky, CEO Airbnb

The Technological Requirements: 

Nothing is more frustrating than implementing the latest ideas using outdated software. Every day, employees interact with a variety of technologies - from video conferencing via zoom, online communication on slack, mail programs to word processing programs. Making sure the office is kept up to date with the latest technology reduces employee frustration, increases production potential, and presents the company as appropriately progressive.At the latest during the Corona crisis where companies were forced to switch to home office it is becoming apparent that the technical-digital dimension is of the most important: Those who can switch quickly and smoothly to a wide-area home office, provide their employees with the necessary technology and train them accordingly, are demonstrating their progressiveness and will provide their employees with positive experiences in this challenging situation.  

The Physical Environment:

People are both emotional and rational. Therefore an office must be functional to inspire the team. Because if employees feel that they are on duty in a sterile laboratory, they are unlikely to feel motivated, which in turn affects their mood. Office walls in friendly colours, contemporary architecture and accents that reflect the corporate design allow creativity to unfold with ease.Together, the cultural environment, the technological requirements and the physical environment form the "Employee Experience".

Four Tips Towards a Better Employee Experience

To get closer to the goal of a committed workforce - and thus a sustainably competitive company - "Employee Experience" may be the missing factor. And this is how it works:

  • Define Candidate Personas On the wish list: the perfect employee. Define and understand who he is, what he feels and how he thinks. Only then can you plan how you want to interact and maintain relationships with him.
  • Identify Touchpoints  Touchpoints are Points of Intersection, where your desired candidate get in contact with your company. These touch points should be designed in the most approaching way for you desired candidate persona. When designing the touchpoints think about what drives this ideal employee. What makes him valuable? How does he approach challenges, what are his passions? In this sense, structures can be created which inspire the employee and give the starting signal for a great work experience.
  • Identify disruptive factors  If you can understand in advance which complications could arise for employees, these can be prevented in a targeted manner. 
  • Continuous adaptation You should not rest on a uniquely developed strategy. check the strategy regularly and ask your employees for feedback. Step by step you can create an employee experience that fits your company. Once the implementation is underway, you can make adjustments and improvements if necessary. Nothing comes from nothing: "Employee Experience" requires courage. But in the end it pays off.

    With Digital Support to Success

"Employee Experience" is undoubtedly a promising concept that makes work a maximum pleasure for all team members. To implement EX successfully, teamwork plus empathy are as important as open communication and know-how. We can help you to optimize your company's employee experience.Contact us for more information on our different workshops.


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