Employee experience

Employee experience is the metric that indicates how comfortable, engaged, and fulfilled employees are from the first point of contact with the company – sending a job application – to their exit. 

What is employee experience? 

It is usually better to approach the definition of employee experience as an umbrella term since it is so broad and all-encompassing. Its key components are: 

  • Values to which organizations hold themselves accountable. Around these ideas, leaders determine what applicants will be a culture fit and outline the company’s purpose. 
  • Leadership. Direct managers are employees’ main point of contact with the company so they are the key drivers of employee experience. 
  • Well-being: employees’ ability to combine work with other life projects and find fulfillment and joy within and beyond their workplace. 
  • Engagement: the measure of employees’ proactivity, willingness to contribute, and presence. 
  • Communication: silos between teams and not having a platform for sharing ideas, concerns, and knowledge negatively impacts employee experience. 
  • Growth and development: employers have direct responsibility for shaping their employees’ skill sets and turning new hires into experts. 
  • Tools: digital employee experience is determined by the tools the company uses to streamline operations – from onboarding and training to performance management and payroll. 

Why is employee experience management important? 

All organizations are centered around their employees. People are responsible for delivering projects on time, creating innovation, connecting and delighting customers, and bringing in revenue and growth opportunities. 

As the result, leaders should take note of the fulfillment and comfort of their workforce and develop policies that improve and personalize employee experience. 

Organizations with strong EX programs notice its impact in many ways: 

  • Improved productivity. A study by Oxford University shows that satisfied employees are 13% more productive than those who struggle at work. 
  • Higher employee retention rate – 62% of employees leave their companies because of a toxic culture which is why improving employee experience is crucial for retaining skilled talent. 
  • Employees who rate their experience as positive are three times less likely to experience burnout. 
  • Focus on employee experience increases workplace innovation by 7 times. 
  • Organizations that strive to improve EX are three times less likely to start layoffs.  

Organizational roles responsible for employee experience framework

As more companies realize the importance of employee experience, a new role – Chief Experience Officer (CXO) – is added to the C-suite. In some organizations, Chief Experience Officers are responsible for customer experiences – in others, the focus has shifted to employee experience. 

Other titles that take ownership of employee experience are CHRO (Chief Human Resources Officer) and CPO (Chief People Officer). 

Regardless of the designation an organization chooses, it is important to have a dedicated executive championing the people of the company and taking the lead in the following areas: 

EX areaResponsibility
ValuesDefining employee personas and capturing their values
Creating an environment for broadcasting the organization’s mission and vision
Reviewing if current programs align with the company’s values
Employee life cycle optimizationReviewing talent attraction strategies
Optimizing the hiring process 
Streamlining onboarding
Creating learning and development process Developing strategies for maximizing retention
DIgital transformation– Discovering and screening tools for automation
– Creating guidelines that would flatten the learning curve
– Reviewing the effectiveness of existing stack and making regular iterative changes
Communication– Creating a safe space for sharing concerns
– Training managers to improve their feedback strategies
– Fostering transparency and breaking knowledge-sharing barriers
Engagement– Designing engagement programs
– Creating team building opportunities: town halls, workshops, retreats
– Creating, running, and analyzing engagement surveys

Challenges of improving employee experience remotely

Providing a scalable, consistent, and impactful employee experience is challenging. For one, there’s no single way to meet every employee’s needs and support everybody’s career. Across regions, positions, and seniority levels, teammates have different goals and concerns. 

On top of that, the widespread shift to remote work fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic challenged HR leaders to create EX practices viable in a digital-first workplace. As the result, people managers had to find ways to build employee experience programs that do not rely on coming to the office. 

The key hurdles to improving employee experience in a remote workplace are: 

  • Reduced sense of unity and belonging. When teammates could no longer connect in the same physical space, they started losing attachment to the company and its values. 
  • Impaired access to information. In a remote organization, it’s harder for employees to connect with knowledge holders which stalls information sharing and slows projects down. 
  • Global communication bottlenecks. When organizations went remote, many leaders started hiring overseas. On the one hand, the ability to bring in talent from all over the world expanded talent pools and trimmed hiring costs. On the other hand, it significantly hindered collaboration, as team leaders had to pay extra attention to finding the right time for meetings. 
  • Trust. With their teams working remotely, employers felt like they have little insight into what teammates are doing during their workday and had no way of knowing if people are not taking advantage of the new way of working. This anxiety showed itself in increased micromanagement and employee tracking, putting employees under tremendous pressure to prove their productivity. 
  • Employee recognition. Physical presence was a powerful way for employees to signal their existence to managers and get credit where it was due. In a remote workplace, it’s easy to let milestones go unnoticed and difficult to create occasions for celebrating top performers. 

Tips for improving employee experience

The first step to building an effective employee experience strategy is in understanding that there will be no one-size-fits-all answer to the challenges teams are facing. 

Instead of aiming to streamline and improve all processes in one fell swoop, HR leaders should create opportunities for employees to share their voices and listen carefully to people’s suggestions and requests.

The good news is there are general properties of a well-functioning employee experience strategy. The following areas have proven to be highly rewarding in improving employee engagement, increasing retention, and helping people become their best selves at work. 

  • Broadcast your mission and vision. Make your organization’s founding principles the core of your operations. Make sure that job applicants resonate with these values when you make a hiring decision. Decide which programs to deploy based on how well they match the mission statement. Remind the team of the company’s values to make sure people build a strong connection with these ideas. 
  • Focus on flexibility. According to McKinsey, 87% of workers prefer job openings that offer remote work opportunities. Understanding and acknowledging your team’s desire for flexibility will help improve retention and cut hiring time. 
  • Rely on technology. In the last three years, collaboration market exploded – there are tools that improve and automate all aspects of the employee life cycle – onboarding, training, payroll, and exit. Leveraging these platforms will save talent managers a lot of time. Enabling them to focus on one-on-one interactions with teams or deploying meaningful wellness programs. 
  • Foster a culture of communication and transparency. HR team leaders should encourage managers to communicate with their teams regularly and openly through tools like employee experience surveys. If an organization has blurry performance indicators, inconsistent cadences within teams, and secrecy around executive decisions, employees working at the company will feel more anxiety and uncertainty and will have a harder time delivering high-quality performance. 

Building remote experience is challenging because managers have to be a lot more intentional about building connections with their teams. That’s why leaders should keep an open mind to trying new approaches and tools. For example, adding a virtual office space platform to your collaboration tech stack can foster unity and a sense of belonging in a remote organization. 

At oVice, we noticed that bringing a remote team together in a shared space increased the number of spontaneous interactions, facilitated sharing ideas, and helped teams eliminate project bottlenecks. Our partners across the world shared similar success stories

To see how virtual offices work and how they improve employee digital experience management, explore our demo space

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