Have you ever sent or received an annual employee experience survey that asks questions such as “How satisfied are you with your workspace?” or “How likely are you to recommend this company to your friend?” Employee experience surveys are common, though recent studies have shown that actually, many companies have not made employee engagement a priority [1]

Now, more than ever, organizations are shifting their experience models from a “need to work” to a “want to work” mindset to capture and keep the best talent while competing with companies that are doing the same [2]. In other words, a once-a-year employee experience survey is no longer enough to stay competitive, retain talent, and maintain successful output.

To help you get started in mastering your own employee experience, we will break down what employee experience is, why it’s important for customer experience, and how leadership and measurement are necessary to take your employee engagement to the next level. 

What is employee experience? 

Employee experience (EX) has a wide range of definitions that share the same approach – from the first moment the employee speaks with a recruiter, to their final exit interview, employee experience includes how one is influenced emotionally, professionally, physically, and financially in their work-life and throughout their employee journey [1].

Jacob Morgan, 4x best-selling author of The Employee Experience Advantage, narrows down the definition into three sectors: technological environment, physical environment, and culture [2]

Technological environment: It’s important to pose the question – do my employees have the right technological tools to do their job successfully? Morgan encourages employers to focus on making sure their employees are provided tools that are not only functional, but also modern, easy-to-use, and attractive. Staying up-to-date with technology in the workplace can help make the employee feel more confident and be productive in their role. 

Physical environment: To improve an employee’s everyday work experience, employers should take into consideration how the office space looks, what it offers, and how it makes employees feel. What does the employee see when they walk in? Is it inviting? Is their desk comfortable? Do they have food and meals provided throughout the day? Small improvements to one’s office space can greatly increase collaboration and motivation throughout the day. 

Culture: Many may think of culture as simply how companies conduct celebrations, happy hours, activities, etc. Though that is a cultural aspect, Morgan describes culture as how employees feel inside the company, and this includes assessing benefit offerings and leadership organization. Do employees feel heard by leadership? Do they feel supported by their manager? Optimizing the employee experience requires leaders to dive deep into their structure to make sure it’s putting the employee and how they feel, first.  

A strong employee experience means a strong customer experience

In this new wave of enhancing the employee experience, studies have been conducted to see if increasing employee engagement does in fact yield better results for businesses.

Data shows that companies who put employee engagement at the forefront have: 

  • 41% decrease in absenteeism 
  • 17% improvement in productivity
  • 10% increase in customer ratings
  • 21% uptick in profitability 

Morgan narrows down similar findings that support the idea that an improved employee experience translates to a better customer experience. He reports that companies who prioritize employee experience are also 2x as frequent in the American Customer Satisfaction Index and 2.1x as likely to be on Forbes’ World’s Most Innovative Companies list [3]

Senior leaders are catching on. In a Global Human Capital Trends report written by Deloitte on the subject of employee experience, they quote a high-level retail executive: 

 “We used to prioritize our stakeholders as shareholders first, customers second, and employees third. We now realize we had it backward. If we put employees first, they in turn take care of our customers, and they in turn take care of our shareholders.”

Organizations are now prioritizing employee experience and realizing it is a long-standing, profitable requirement instead of a nice-to-have. 

Improving the employee experience

Tackling new initiatives to improve the overall employee journey can be daunting, especially if you’re not sure where to start. In our research, we’ve found that the most successful EX-driven organizations share two important traits: a strong focus on leadership and using survey tools to measure employee satisfaction. 

Start with leadership 

A successful and meaningful employee experience starts from the top. Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report suggests assigning a C-suite leader to support the employee experience cause and lead the team to EX-related deliverables. In fact, Adam Khraling, VP of Global HRIS at American Express has done just that

“For us, the focus around employee experience is on creating a seamless experience around the things somebody needs to do as an employee while allowing them to focus on the business we hired them for—development, sales, leading new products [and so on]. We’ve actually created a VP level role to strictly focus on the employee experience.”

The Deloitte report elaborates further, saying that the employee experience team should also roll out functions dedicated to “engagement, learning, career development, organizational design, analytics, and culture” with an added new focus on “leadership development, performance management, workplace design, and rewards.” 

Not only is it important to have executive-level focus on the employee experience, the expectation that the entire organization will be trained to prioritize EX is just as essential.

Measure results with employee experience surveys 

Deloitte reports that roughly 79% of companies send annual employee surveys and about 14% do not send out surveys at all [1]

How do you know if your employee experience initiatives are working? Instead of using a survey once a year to measure employee satisfaction, it’s crucial to gather employee feedback routinely through the employee lifecycle with regular pulse surveys for capturing real-time employee issues or concerns. We’ve provided examples of easy-to-use survey types to help you get started:

  • eNPS: Measure how an employee is likely to recommend your workplace to a friend with an employee Net Promoter Score [eNPS] survey template and have them share the “why” behind their answer in a free response question. Then, use Additional Questions to dig deeper into what they suggest you can do to improve their overall experience. Learn more about how to customize your eNPS (Employee Net Promoter Score) survey here.
  • CSAT: Especially now, employees want to know that you’ve heard their concerns. Customize a two-part Customer Satisfaction Score [CSAT] survey template to ask employees how comfortable they are with their remote or in-office work situation during COVID-19. When you reopen your office doors, use the same CSAT method to ask them if they are satisfied with the workplace updates. 

Whether you are looking to implement policies to improve EX overall, or need immediate insights into how your employees are feeling about getting back to business, you have the tools to get started on your employee experience journey. Start your free trial now and begin prioritizing EX for a safe return to the office during COVID-19 and a permanent increase in happy employees and customers alike.