Why is the employee experience so important?

Posted on 7th August 2019

Employee experience? Isn’t that basically the same as employee engagement, or indeed another fancy description of it?  Let’s have a look at the differences so we can understand why it is so important.

What is Employee Experience (EX)?

Employee experience (often referred to as “EX”) started to make more of an appearance in 2017, however its only really now becoming a “thing” in many businesses.

Personally, I like the idea of it, because it attempts to define one of the most important aspects in the whirlwind that is employee engagement. It pushes us to think a little more simply and clearly about engagement overall.

The EX is not focussed on processes, procedures, rewards as such, but more so around perceptions, impressions, emotions and feelings. Therefore, EX is not about the short term such as gaining responses on the quarterly or yearly engagement survey, acting on the results at the time and adapting the employee perks to suit. It is about long-term and the consistency. You could say that it relates to the “soft” side of HR and management, where there is a focus on ensuring a human approach to what we do, with employee engagement as our end goal.

 How do we ensure the EX is positive?

As with anything, we cannot ensure our efforts will always result in complete positivity all-round. It is highly dependent on the current culture-state within a business, but that is not to say this cannot change.

I recently read an article which stated that following two studies, the top business driver in 30+ organisations’ outcomes was “management”. The study demonstrated direct connections between the role of management and specific business metrics (including customer satisfaction, financial performance, employee performance, turnover). It highlighted that the relationship between employee and manager was pivotal as part of the employee experience, and therefore, overall business performance.

I could go on for a decade taking you through a list of what you should be considering here, but instead I’ve put together a couple of key things to consider as a manager, to get the ball rolling:

Make them comfortable – There’s a lot to be said about an employees physical environment. Yes, work spaces can vary dramatically from one to the next depending on the type of business, but ensuring they’re comfortable in their environment is very important to EX. For example, washroom facilities, are they clean? Is there a separate space where they can go to properly enjoy a break?

Take a moment – Too often we lose focus on our employees because we “just have so much to do!!!”. HOWEVER, by checking in with your employees consistently to ensure they’re okay and showing them they’re valued is one of the most important steps of all. Show your employees you have a genuine concern for them…

And do be genuine, none of this “I’m doing it because I have to” stuff.

Be transparent – At the end of the day, nobody likes to feel they’re missing out (if you’re down with the kids, apparently this is called “FOMO”… fear of missing out). The feelings you’ll breed from being transparent are trust and respect, even if you’re delivering news which is not so great. Once an employee feels important information is withheld from them, is decorated in a glitter facade for effect, or discussed amongst everyone else but them, they will instantly switch their employee experience to negative.

This all sounds very obvious doesn’t it?

Well, it absolutely is! However, you’ll be surprised at how many of us take the little things for granted, or indeed genuinely just forget about them because we are too busy just “getting through” the daily task list.

If you’d like to talk more about employee experience or engagement overall, give us a call on 01536 215240 or email info@gatewayhr.com

Charlotte Batchelor Character
Written by:
Charlotte Batchelor
HR Adviser