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What is Employee Experience? Definition, Key Aspects & More

Mike Marks September 15, 2020

At the core of every company lies its workforce – the people who keep it in motion. An organization’s employees are the very gears that keep it functional and make it profitable. Thus, their collective experience as employees is tantamount to the success of the company itself.

The employee experience defines your business’s ability to satisfy customers and externalize internal values in the marketplace, making it a competitive advantage if your organization can outpace your competitors. Providing an exceptional employee experience motivates your team to do their best work and fosters employee loyalty, resulting in better performance and more satisfied customers.

You know that it’s important, but what factors drive employee experience, and how can you cultivate a positive experience for your workforce? Read on to learn more about the employee experience and how it can be improved upon over time:

Definition of Employee Experience

The employee experience encompasses everything that individuals encounter while working for a given company, starting from their first interaction with said company and ending with their departure from the organization.

This overall experience has multiple facets and phases worth considering, each of which must be optimized in order to make the most of the talent and expertise your workforce brings to the table.

Facets of the Employee Experience

There are four key facets of the employee experience, encompassing an employee’s social, emotional, physical, and psychological experience with your company.

Social

The social dynamics that an individual navigates at work play a major role in their overall perception of both their role within an organization and the organization as a whole.

Teamwork and cooperation rank high in defining an employee’s opinion of their workplace. Enhancing cooperation among team members can have a profound effect on their overall experience while on the job.

Trust, from an employee’s perspective, extends beyond the bounds of cooperating with teammates to the values held by the company they work for. Knowing that such values are being upheld and made good on by the institution they are a part of can help improve any employee’s perception of the work they are doing, thereby also enhancing their experience with the company.

Physical

An individual’s physical work environment greatly impacts their performance and state of mind. Employees given a proper space in which they can focus on their duties – space that is conducive to the type of work expected of them – are far more likely to outperform those given an inadequate or subpar physical environment or workspace.

Tools are also extremely important for employees. Inefficient tools that aren’t user-friendly or fail to meet employees’ needs to perform their duties make for a bad experience. The lack of needed tools does the same. Proper tools, tailored to fit the job, help employees grow into their roles with confidence.

Health deserves special consideration as it directly affects the employee experience. Besides offering suitable health benefits for employees, it helps to pay close attention to details such as healthy snack and beverage options as well as stress management initiatives.

Emotional

Praise and recognition, or the lack thereof, plays a pivotal role in an employee’s perception of their position and the values of their employer. Incentivizing improvement and excellence on the job through performance-based reward systems, one-on-one mentoring, and more can alter employee perceptions in a positive way.

Misapplied punishment and disregard from higher-ups achieve the opposite effect – alienating staff members from their teams while also greatly undermining any trust that may have otherwise been cultivated.

Consistently being overlooked despite good performance can quickly give rise to stress, as can many other workplace problems. Stress has an immediate and obvious impact on the employee experience, often leading to absenteeism followed by early departure from their employer should the source of their stress not be alleviated soon enough.

Psychological

On the psychological level, the employee experience can be improved with reasonably challenging work and exceptional clarity where goals are concerned.

Employees who are unsure of their responsibilities and the milestones they are expected to reach within a given timeframe are likely to underperform.

Phases of the Employee Experience

Creating a positive employee experience isn’t a once-and-done process; it requires cultivating trust and mutual respect while meeting employees’ needs at every stage of their employment journey.

Recruitment

At this stage, companies invest considerable resources in attracting the interest of top talent. Valuable prospects are presented with options for roles in the company and given a primer on the perks of the positions on offer.

As the first impression a potential employee has with their employer of choice, this stage of the employee experience is particularly important to get right. Values, community impact, industry performance, and company structure should be presented as clearly as possible at this point to make a positive impression from the start of the relationship.

Onboarding

Learning systems, tools, and procedures make up the bulk of the onboarding process. The success of these determines whether this stage of the employee experience is positive or negative. Investing in one-on-one mentoring and support for new hires can help tremendously here.

Development

Upskilling your workforce involves training individual employees both alone and as a team. Offering pathways for improvement both inside and outside your organization helps to improve this aspect of the employee experience.

Promotions and opportunities for real growth within your company also positively impact the employee experience at this stage.

Departure

Leaving the company does not need to be a negative experience or even a permanent one if the overall employee experience is kept positive.

Employees seeking what is lacking in their current work environment are the most likely to leave. Convening with them to gather information about how you can improve before they move on can sometimes put an end to their departure altogether. At the very least, the insights departing employees provide can be put to good use for the benefit of the rest of your workforce.

The employee experience is a vast and multifaceted topic, but it is centered on the relationship individuals have with their employers. Improving this relationship and creating a positive, functional, and supportive work environment enhances the employee experience which, in turn, bolsters performance across the board.

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