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What Is the Employee Experience and How Can You Improve It?

  • Recursos humanos
  • Artículo
  • Lectura de 6 minutos
  • Last Updated: 03/14/2024

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Table of Contents

When evaluating different phases of the employee life cycle, you should also consider the employee experience. Shaping and designing positive experiences starts with the individual employee and their needs, what the team and business need, and how collective experiences define company culture. In the long term, a well-designed employee experience (EX) program can help ensure that your employees are set up for success before, during, and after their time with your company.

What Is Employee Experience?

Employee experience, or EX, can be defined as the sum of every encounter and observation that employees go through in their interactions with the organization they work for — their learnings, perceptions, interactions, connections made, and even the work itself. EX also includes the workplace culture, employees' physical working environment, and the technology and tools required to complete job tasks.

EX starts from the first contact as a potential job candidate to the last interaction at the end of employment. At any given time, any of these interactions may be positive, negative, or neutral. They can also occur in various settings, including at a worksite or office, from a remote location, or even on the employee's own, such as finding information or interacting with the business online.

The Employee Experience for Remote Employees

For many businesses, considering the employee experience means considering both onsite and offsite teams. Remote work has become a mainstay in many industries, and these employees' experiences are just as important as those onsite. When considering the remote employee experience, organizations should be especially intentional in their steps to connect remote workers to the larger organization and other team members. Tactics such as giving them the proper resources and tools, developing and communicating a clear remote work policy, adopting remote collaboration tools, and executing team-building initiatives are examples of how businesses can cultivate the remote employee experience.

Employee Experience Examples

What does EX look like in practice? Examples of employee experience demonstrate the importance of building and prioritizing an employee's (or even a potential new hire's) positive interactions with your business. That's because these positive experiences can translate to favorable impressions of the company itself. Some employee experience examples include the following:

  • Streamlining the hiring process for candidates, including keeping communication consistent, developing a more efficient interviewing process, and making hiring decisions faster.
  • Instituting an employee recognition program to ensure employees are recognized and appreciated for their contributions (in a way that they would like to be recognized).
  • In addition to a formal review process, promoting open communication and continuous feedback as part of a corporate culture that values strong relationships and direct interactions. “Collecting feedback is important, but what leaders do with that feedback is even more important,” says Rachel Sweeney, Talent Enablement Partner at Paychex. “Showing employees that leaders are actively listening to feedback and acting on feedback when they can will help nurture trust in leadership which will in turn foster a positive employee experience.”
  • Providing opportunities for cross-training or skill development. “We're seeing a lot of momentum in skill-based hiring and the importance of providing meaningful work right now, so allowing employees to learn new skills or be exposed to different roles will be extremely beneficial for the employee and the employer,” says Sweeney.
  • Building learning and development opportunities that account for various learning styles: lunch and learns, self-paced online training, opportunities to attend job-related conferences, and leadership-specific training. A learning management system, in particular, can be customized for each employee's unique career goals.
  • Instituting a formalized employee separation process to make the transition as painless as possible for both the business and the exiting employee, including conducting exit interviews and meeting termination requirements and COBRA obligations.
  • Providing the tools and resources necessary to deliver high-quality work.
  • Evaluating employee work environments. Employees may respond vastly differently if they work in a windowless cubicle versus an open workspace. Also, consider employees' work schedules: a flex-time work arrangement with the autonomy to work from home versus a traditional 9-to-5 schedule can significantly affect workforce morale.

Employee Experience vs. Employee Engagement

The continuous process of building a positive employee experience may sometimes be misconstrued as new and improved approaches to HR, employee perks, or employee engagement. These aren't synonymous terms. Instead, multiple business areas can be impacted by employee experience, employee engagement being one of them.

So, what is employee experience vs. employee engagement? EX accounts for a potential, current, or exiting employee's entire experience with the business, including what the individual thinks, feels, and sees at each stage of the employee life cycle. Employee engagement, on the other hand, refers to a worker's commitment to their job and productivity level. Engagement looks at factors such as whether an employee has the tools needed to complete job tasks, overall job satisfaction, etc. As such, employee engagement is one of many contributing factors that are part of the larger employee experience.

Why Is the Employee Experience Important?

Given that EX encapsulates employees' perceptions, feelings, and interactions at each stage of the employee life cycle, every single one of these engagements is an opportunity for the business to deliver a positive and exceptional experience. The tenants of positive employee experiences include strong communication, team building, transparency, honest feedback, support from leadership, and the support employees need to bring their "full selves" to work each day. Having these core drivers in place can deliver many advantages for a business. Here are some ways employee experience strategies can help a business over the long term.

Investment in EX may:

  • Help attract and retain skilled talent, which can translate into gaining a competitive advantage in your industry and reducing time-to-fill rates and hiring costs.
  • Foster a culture of teamwork and collaboration, which can keep productivity and employee morale up.
  • Prioritize engagement levels, which can help build a group of motivated employees focused on reaching goals, receiving feedback to make improvements, and team building.
  • Focus on helping employees find meaning in their work, which can be a key motivator.
  • Factor in employee mental health and well-being, which can reduce absenteeism and attrition.
  • Promote opportunities to grow and develop, which places high value on helping employees gain skills and build careers that excite and motivate them.

The Employee Experience Framework

Now that we've identified the many potential positive benefits of a great employee experience for a business, it's time to review an employee experience framework. This baseline structure is used to improve EX at critical stages of the employee life cycle. Remember that EX is a continuous, long-term approach, not a quick fix. Take care to evaluate every stage on an ongoing basis.


The importance of making a great first impression during the recruiting and hiring process can't be overstated, especially in today's competitive labor market. That's because the experience a candidate has when they first interact with your company often sets the tone for subsequent experiences, should they get hired. Consider the many interactions someone may have at the recruitment stage:

  • Any information they received or found out that provides a sense of the company culture
  • How they were treated during this stage, including during remote and in-person interviews
  • The length of the recruitment process
  • How communication was handled, including frequency, providing prompt updates, and who reached out

These considerations should not just extend to new potential employees, but to your current employees as well. “Employers seem to focus on perfecting this process when hiring externally, but it's equally important to show that same care to internal candidates,” Sweeney points out.

The recruiting phase of the employee experience framework is unique because it offers the opportunity to evaluate the experience of both an employee and a non-employee. Whether an individual joins the business or not, you can gather valuable feedback on the application process, interviews, hiring teams, and the efficiency of the entire process.


The entire employee onboarding experience — from when an offer is extended until the day the new hire becomes fully productive — can lay the foundation for long-term success. You may first consider whether your business has an onboarding process at all. Many onboarding processes are poorly planned or simply nonexistent. While you aren't required to have a one-size-fits-all process, a positive onboarding experience can significantly influence employee engagement and tenure. To look at what you have in place for the onboarding stage of the employee experience and how employees may perceive various steps in the process ask yourself the following types of questions:

  • What kinds of welcome materials or onboarding schedule, if any, was provided to the employee before their first day?
  • Did a manager or another senior company representative reach out to the new hire to welcome them to the team?
  • Was some of the introductory new-hire paperwork provided to them before their start date?
  • Were essentials such as their email address, computer, and desk ready and in place?
  • In the case of remote workers, did they receive all their equipment promptly?
  • Was training made available for them in their first few weeks?
  • How well have new employees been able to ramp up and start making meaningful contributions to the business?

In addition, providing new hires with a mentor can help provide guidance on navigating the company culture, internal processes, and certain expectations. Mentors “can help with tips and tricks and provide a supportive environment where the employee feels comfortable asking questions, which can help minimize uncertainty,” Sweeney adds.

Learning and Development

Access to learning and development opportunities is important to the employee experience. It can help develop the skills and expertise needed within your business and underscores the value you place on your organization's future. And overall, building effective training programs for your employees can significantly affect productivity and employee retention. Evaluate how you provide learning and development opportunities and how employees interact with them:

  • Do you offer a variety of training methods, such as e-learning, employee shadowing, or offsite training opportunities to cater to different learning styles and goals?
  • Is your program equally focused on hard and soft skills training?
  • Are there defined goals for an employee development program, and have they been communicated?
  • Are there any barriers for employees who may work from a remote location?
  • Do specific roles allow or prohibit the ability to participate during the workday?


Many factors can impact the retention aspect of the employee experience. At its best, employee retention can result from a carefully designed employee experience strategy that helps companies establish long and successful relationships with new hires and tenured employees. Components that can positively contribute to employee retention and are worth evaluating in your own business are:

  • Hiring employees who are the right fit from the get-go
  • Improving the onboarding process to help new hires feel part of the team right away
  • Offering growth opportunities for employees
  • Promoting training programs
  • Providing fair and equitable pay
  • Offering a robust benefits package, as well as communicating the value and range of your offerings
  • Leveraging HR tools and technology to listen better and respond to the needs of the workforce
  • Instituting recognition programs
  • Establishing a culture of diversity and inclusion to help everyone feel valued for their unique contributions
  • Setting proper expectations around employee work-life balance


Even with all your best efforts, employees leaving is an inevitable part of business. Whether it's a retirement, an employee leaving voluntarily, or an involuntary termination, the exit process offers an opportunity to look objectively at how your company handles this phase of the employee experience. It can be invaluable in your efforts to learn why employees leave and help identify areas where you need to do better to keep key employees engaged. Some things you may want to consider are whether:

  • There is a formalized exit interview process in place
  • There were earlier steps taken to mitigate turnover, such as conducting stay interviews
  • A progressive discipline plan was used to improve performance or behavior issues
  • HR teams leveraged data to help them identify disengaged employees before they left the company
  • Identifiable patterns have emerged, such as several exiting employees citing independently that an inflexible or overly demanding work schedule influenced their decision to leave
  • Remaining employees understand how an employee leaving will affect their workloads, and if so, for how long

Benefits of a Positive Employee Experience

Taking care to improve the employee experience obviously can delight and boost the morale of your workforce. But just as importantly, it can also offer many benefits for the business:

  • Engaged and productive employees: Employees who know their employer has considered them in key decision-making, accounted for their feelings throughout the employee life cycle, and taken concerted steps to improve can yield many benefits. Employees may be more likely to go above and beyond for an employer that has demonstrated how much it values its employees. Alternatively, disengaged employees can lead to lower productivity levels, increased absenteeism rates, and turnover.
  • Lower absenteeism rates: Employees with generally positive experiences are more likely to come to work, be engaged in their tasks, and make meaningful contributions. This can have a positive ripple effect, such as increased workforce morale and higher productivity rates.
  • Increased work quality: Positive employee experiences can contribute to workers staying with the business longer, better work output, more enthusiasm about their contributions, and taking pride and ownership in their work.
  • Improved customer experience: If an employee interfaces with your customers, their overall experience (good or bad) can considerably impact the customer's experience. An engaged employee who has sufficient training and knowledge may interact with customers in a vastly different way than an unengaged or dissatisfied employee who doesn't have the necessary training. Consider an investment in employee experience as an investment in customer experience, both of which can impact your bottom line.

How To Improve Employee Experience

Whether you're looking to improve your EX or haven't formalized an employee experience strategy before, it may be helpful to follow these steps to get started:

Determine Your Top Priority

Simply saying that you want to focus on the employee experience and then approaching one aspect of it without any reasoning or strategy can lead to a dead end. That's why it's essential to identify what aspect of the employee experience your organization plans to focus on. This can help everyone involved get on the same page and work toward a common goal. Ultimately, where your focus lies depends on the needs of your unique business. For instance, if a significant amount of turnover and exit interviews reveal that employees are leaving because of a lack of growth opportunities, focusing on providing learning and development plans may be a logical place to start.

Capture and Measure Data

After narrowing your top priority, you should also have a mechanism for capturing and measuring data. Ultimately, you want data to show patterns and links that illustrate specific aspects of the employee experience. In the example above, you may look at HR data to uncover the usage rates of your learning management system. You may also look at employee performance reviews to see whether training was recommended as a next step. Focusing on one aspect of the employee experience, iterating, and pivoting as needed can help your business make thoughtful and concerted steps toward improving employee experience.

Link Your Learnings

Capturing and measuring data across multiple aspects of the employee experience can ultimately offer a comprehensive understanding of your entire employee journey. This requires building links to and from other content and data, essentially building a data-backed story of the experience. For example, asking for employee feedback about development opportunities may uncover gaps in employee recognition programs, which could shed light on your benefits offerings.

Empower Action

The employee engagement survey is a powerful HR tool that can help empower action. First developed to measure job satisfaction, this survey evolved into a tool to unlock a team's potential value to an organization. A well-designed employee engagement survey can help business owners and HR teams gain insights into employees' desire to go above and beyond, their intention to stay with the company long-term, their willingness to recommend the company to others, and overall pride in the organization.

Look for trends in the answers you receive to identify areas of both strength and improvement. As you review the results, look for points of alignment with your current strategic direction. Then, focus on areas of improvement that can help make strategic gains for your company.

How Do You Measure Employee Experience?

Measuring employee experience can help you understand whether the steps you're taking or improvements you're making are working, whether you're giving employees what they want, and whether factors such as retention or turnover rates are moving in a positive direction. Capturing a holistic view of the employee experience requires using quantitative and qualitative data from different stages of the employee life cycle.

Quantitative methods would include data from:

  • Employee engagement surveys
  • Pulse surveys around a specific topic (e.g., the onboarding process, the experience using a particular piece of technology)
  • Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS), which can be especially helpful in measuring your results against an industry average
  • HR systems that show information such as employee turnover in a particular department, worker attendance, and benefits use rates
  • Employee performance reviews
  • Scores or results from training programs

Examples of qualitative employee experience metrics would include:

  • Job candidate interviews
  • Exit interviews
  • One-on-one conversations
  • Focus groups
  • Posts on company rating websites such as Glassdoor and PayScale

Creating an analytics dashboard that includes quantitative and qualitative data on the employee experience can inform how your EX efforts are performing and uncover any challenges or areas to pivot. Breaking data down into various employee demographics (e.g., age range, job level, etc.) can also help you better understand your employees' EX. Over time, these analytics can help you formulate, piece together, and communicate a complete story around what employees feel, see, and do as they interact with your organization.

How HR Services Can Help

The employee experience is an ongoing, multifaceted component that relates to nearly every aspect of your business. As you evaluate your current approach, look to make improvements, and deliver engaging and personalized experiences at each stage of the employee life cycle, consider using a third-party HR service to help you retain great talent and support employee satisfaction.


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Partnering with an HR Services provider can streamline your hiring, recruiting, onboarding, and employee retention processes — increasing employee satisfaction and giving you time to focus on your bottom line.

* Este contenido es solo para fines educativos, no tiene por objeto proporcionar asesoría jurídica específica y no debe utilizarse en sustitución de la asesoría jurídica de un abogado u otro profesional calificado. Es posible que la información no refleje los cambios más recientes en la legislación, la cual podrá modificarse sin previo aviso y no se garantiza que esté completa, correcta o actualizada.

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