How to develop an employee experience strategy—and why you need to
Do you have a favorite place to shop? Take a moment to imagine it. What does it look like? How does it feel? Whether it’s a farmer’s market, a home improvement center, or the storefront of a luxury brand, we don’t just shop there for what we buy. We love the carefully-curated experience, designed to be memorable. It’s the little touches that make a customer experience unique and keep shoppers loyal. That’s what customer experience strategy is all about. And, for many of the same reasons, that’s what employee experience strategy (EX) is about.
When a company is driven by employee experience, going to work is about more than the products or services you sell or the paycheck you take home. It’s about the atmosphere. It’s the people and how you treat each other. It’s the way it makes you feel.
In today’s competitive marketplace, brands stand out by becoming experiences—for customers and employees alike.
Employee experience strategy: a roadmap to happier workers
We define employee experience (EX) strategy as an intentional plan for your work culture. A great employee experience strategy drives every detail about how it feels to work for your company.
A superior employee experience strategy affects even the shape and feel of company business cards! It permeates through your corporate structure and how you word job titles. It informs your choice of workspace onboarding flow, employee benefits, and perks.
Creating an employee experience strategy brings about positivity, a connection with the company and co-workers, and genuine appreciation and respect. It removes barriers to work satisfaction, creating room for higher innovation, creativity, and productivity levels. It provides an opportunity for greater employee engagement—and as we often say, an engaged employee is a happy employee. As you do for your target customer audience, you can help employees have a positive experience with the company—from the first day they interview for the job to the last.
You can help make your employees, just like you aim to do for your target customer audience, feel like they belong there from the first day they interview for the job to their last. In short, a great employee experience strategy leads to highly engaged employees.
What happens when you improve the employee experience?
A compelling EX study from MIT measured employee experience by interviewing 281 senior executives. Companies that ranked in the top 25% of EX outperformed competitors with:
- Double the innovation
- Double the customer satisfaction
- 25% higher profitability
The study measured EX according to how easily employees could get their work done and create value through the organization’s workflows, technology, and culture.
To improve employee experience, start by creating an employee experience model for each area and then expand that model over time.
The employee experience framework: human-centered design
In a Gartner study of the employee experience framework, Deloitte identified seven factors that affect the employee experience:
- The work they do
- The people they work with
- The places they do their work
- How work affects their lives
- The company mission
- The sense of belonging they feel
- How they grow as a human being
Think of those essential elements of EX as pillars of your employee experience model or framework. Beginning research into how employees work with and feel about those factors, which Deloitte calls creating a human-centered design, gives you a place to start. What systems could you automate, for example, to free up employees to do work they consider more meaningful? Are employees happy with the work environment? Are your remote employees equipped equitably when compared to in-office workers? Do employees believe that they’re spending their time well with fulfilling and challenging experiences? Or do they feel stuck in a rut, doing the same thing every day? What does the company do to help nurture employees for growth?
Next, pair that with your brand, company mission, and ethics. Do the factors impacting the employee experience match the values you represent as a company?
Each employee experience framework will be unique—based on your company, brand, products or services, and work environment—but several common elements to consider as you develop your strategy.