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It’s the question on the working world’s lips: What is the employee experience? Let’s start with a simple definition.
Employee Experience (EX): the quality of emotional connection that an employee has with an organization. It is shaped by their interactions with people, policies, processes, and technologies during significant moments in their journey with the organization.
Employee experience vs. employee engagement: What’s the difference?
Employee experience and employee engagement have a well-defined relationship.
Employee engagement is the energy and effort employees bring to the job every day. And it’s absolutely connected to the quality of the employee experience. The one arises in response to the other. Great employee engagement is what you get when you offer a great employee experience.
Engagement drives KPIs like retention, productivity, and profitability. And it’s often where organization’s start when they want to make changes in those outputs. The problem is that used in isolation, engagement initiatives don’t often work. That’s because engagement is a result of the employee experience, not a driver.
Need proof? Bersin Associates notes that companies are spending more than $1 billion each year on “engagement.” But the number of engaged employees has stayed static (around 30%) for more than a decade.
Ultimately, the winning strategy is to look at the day-to-day activities that will lead to the results you want.
Why the employee experience is important
By considering the entire employee lifecycle- and every element within it- you take a holistic approach to life at your organization — onboarding to offboarding, people to technology, DE&I organizational culture, company policies, physical environment- all of it is part of the employee experience.
When all of those pieces are working harmoniously, the people in your organization goes from simply surviving to positively thriving.
Organizations want employees to be aligned and engaged. Employees want to be nurtured and inspired. So, what’s the trick to achieving this balance, and creating an aligned, inspired experience?
Our research found four key areas to consider — and they may not be what you expect.
Four key areas of a great Employee Experience
Behavioral science shows that people perform best when they have positive intrinsic, or internal, motivation. When employees get pleasure from doing their work, working is a reward. In other words, individuals and teams are most successful when they like their jobs.
WorkTango surveyed employees in 600 companies. 93% of them shared that the following areas mattered most to them in terms of EX: connecting, performing, being appreciated, and growing in their jobs. Let’s define each one.
🧩 Connecting: The bonds between an employee and their manager, coworkers, and your organization’s mission and values.
🎯 Performing: The employee’s clear understanding of what they need to do to succeed at their job.
👍 Being Appreciated: The employee’s sense that their work has value, and being consistently recognized and rewarded for their contributions.
🌱 Growing: The learning opportunities, continuous feedback, and ongoing support for career development that an employee receives.
We’re accustomed to thinking about customer experience, as something deeply rooted in human emotion and psychology- we need to think about employee experience that way too. Because even in this data-driven day and age, your employees are… human. And their experience should be, too.
But that doesn’t mean technology can’t help.
How technology supports a human-centric employee experience
As you idly browse the HR corners of the internet, you’ve likely stumbled across headlines like “Is ‘Human’ Disappearing from Human Resources?”
The answer, of course, is no. In fact, the goal of HR tech is to tap into the powers of technology — like instant connectivity, social sharing, and data tracking — to better serve the needs of the people who make up our organization.
Like the ability to connect with each other. To sync goals across teams and departments, and track their progress. To measure the impact they’re having on their organization, and the world.
If your performance management tech is removing the human from human resources, it may be time to reassess your technology and your strategy as a whole to more away from “performance management” to “employee success” and from technological tools to collaborative platform. Or at least, to rethink the way you’re using it.
Using an employee experience platform to nurture the four key areas of EX
WorkTango’s Employee Experience platform combines three comprehensive solutions – Recognition & Rewards, Surveys & Insights, and Goals & Feedback– to allow you to support the many pieces of the employee experience all in one place.
Having Recognition & Rewards means that the opportunity for peers or leaders to give real-time, meaningful recognition is never more than a few clicks away. Rewards are customizable– employees choose what means most– so the ROI is maximized. Use incentives to keep people motivated and to build in behaviors that support a thriving organizational culture.
Key areas of EX addressed: connecting, giving appreciation
Surveys & Insights allows you to tune-in to the voice of employees concerning any issue you choose– engagement, DE&I, quality of performance feedback, opportunities for growth, effectiveness of management. Slice and dice the results by department, team, region, or any other designation. When employees see that leaders are listening and acting, their engagement (and their employee experience) are strengthened. They know the organization cares about them.
Key areas of EX addressed: performing, growing, connecting
Finally, Goals & Feedback keeps teams, departments, and individuals stay aligned with each other and with organizational goals. Goals are always visible, feedback is instantly accessible. Managers and team members receive reminders about upcoming connection points– 1-on-1 Sync-up conversations and quarterly performance Check-Ins. They’re able to record items for follow-up, and to keep stretching forward toward improved performance and professional growth.
Key areas of EX addressed: performing, growing, connecting
You only need one platform to pour into all four of the areas that employees say matter most in terms of employee experience. No running yourself ragged. No reinventing the wheel. The platform is intuitive, accessible….and it works.
The employee experience: Why now?
With five generations in the workplace, an always-on culture, and a competitive talent market, the working world has changed. We’re no longer a “get a paycheck” culture. People want more from their work than a salary- they want meaning, connection, appreciation, growth, and the opportunity to perform at their best. And they’re increasingly less shy about asking for it.
Winning organizations want those same things, too. That’s why we’ve seen giants like Google, LinkedIn, Apple, and Adobe shift away from sporadic employee engagement programs to a more holistic approach that centers around the employee experience.
Jacob Morgan noted in his book The Employee Experience Advantage, that the focus on EX signals “the next evolution of the workplace.”
Don’t let the moment pass you by.
Your next steps
At the end of the day, supporting a great employee experience is all about meeting employee needs. And they’ve told us what they want: connecting, growing, being appreciated, and performing at their highest. If you’d like help learning how to provide the kind of employee experience your people are looking for, let’s talk.
At WorkTango, we’re revolutionizing how the world’s most forward-thinking companies engage and inspire their people. We offer the only holistic Employee Experience Platform built for the modern workplace that enables meaningful recognition and rewards, offers actionable insights through employee surveys, and supports alignment through goal setting and feedback.
WorkTango is built for the workplace we all want to be a part of – where priorities become clear, achievements are celebrated, and employees have a voice. To learn more, check out our platform overview video, or schedule a demo.