What is employee experience - and how to measure it?

September 8, 2021

A positive employee experience (EX) means increased employee engagement and improved business outcomes. But how can you measure EX – so you can improve it?

Why employee experience is important

Employee Experience (sometimes referred to simply as EX) is the sum of everything an employee encounter in relation to the employer. It’s made up of all the different touchpoints during the employee journey. 

Employee experience is a relatively new concept that mirrors the older concept of Customer Experience (CX). While companies have been aware of CX for a long time, the discussion about EX is more recent. Airbnb was among the first large companies to hire an Employee Experience Officer, and many HR teams and HR leaders have since followed suit.

What is the difference between employee experience and employee engagement?

There are many definitions of employee engagement floating around out there. This one from Engage for Success sums up the concept of employee engagement very well:

“Employee engagement is a workplace approach resulting in the right conditions for all members of an organisation to give of their best each day, committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, with an enhanced sense of their own well-being.”

A shorter version is Gallup’s definition of employee engagement: 

“Engaged employees as those who are involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and workplace.”

Employee engagement, in other words, is the holy grail. It’s what makes people perform at their best, speak highly of their workplace, and provide the best possible experience for their customers. 

One way of putting it is that employee experience is the input, and employee engagement is the output. A positive employee experience yields increased employee engagement. On paper, it’s a simple enough formula.

What is an employee experience management platform?

An employee experience platform will help you monitor and improve the employee experience. To continuously improve the work environment and company culture, HR needs access to the right technical tools. The larger your organisation becomes, the more critical it will be for you to be able to collect employee feedback, analyse the data, and turn it into actionable insights. Once you have an employee experience strategy in place, the EX management platform will help you track your initiatives and progress.

Using employee surveys to ask your leaders and employees how they feel about their employee experience, and taking action on the results you get, is the single most powerful way to improve company culture, employee experience, and employee engagement. 

How employee experience impacts customer experience

EX is directly linked to business performance and business outcomes. The reason for this is that customer experience is directly related to employee experience. Sometimes investing in your culture and work environment can actually be the quickest way to affect your bottom line. One report by IBM and Globoforce showed a strong correlation between improved employee experiences and improved key performance outcomes.

Research tells us that companies that excel at providing outstanding customer experience have 1.5 times more engaged employees than companies providing bad customer experiences. Investing in and focusing on employee experience has a direct impact on the bottom line.

The benefits of investing in employee experience

Creating a positive employee experience has an impact on a number of areas:

  • Increased employee engagement. A better experience means a higher level of engagement.

  • Improved employee retention. A positive experience will make people more inclined to stay longer.

  • Reduced absenteeism. An improved experience will reduce sick leave and burnout.

  • Increased productivity. A better experience and more engaged employees means improved productivity.

  • A stronger employer brand. Happy employees are the best ambassadors and will help you attract top talent.

  • Increased revenue. Engaged employees create better customer experiences and help grow your business.

How to measure and improve the employee experience

A straightforward way to measure EX is the employee net promoter score (ENPS). ENPS surveys are based on one single question: how likely is your employee is to recommend your company as a good place to work. A higher score indicates happier and more engaged employees and a positive employee experience.

But to get the full picture and really understand how your employees perceive their work environment, the best tool is regular employee engagement surveys. Regular pulse surveys allow you to monitor the employee experience and level of engagement in real-time. You can also use targeted employee surveys to get insights about specific touchpoints and stages in the employee lifecycle, for example, with onboarding surveys and offboarding surveys.