What is Employee Experience and How Do You Improve It?


What is Employee Experience?

Employee Experience (EX) can mean two things:

Individual perspective

From the individual’s perspective, experience is what happens when an individual interacts with the organization as she is trying to meet her needs and goals. The perceived quality of these interactions over time is the employee experience.

Employees interact with the company in the context of moments, for example, they apply to the company, have their first day, receive feedback, etc. In these moments, employees interact with different human, digital or physical touchpoints, like their manager, systems, or company policies.

The experience on the first day with a new company is for example determined by several touchpoint experiences: Does reception know I am coming to work? How is the first meeting with my manager? How are my colleagues? Is the workspace nice? Is my work equipment available? And so on.

Hopefully, the interactions in total are helpful, enjoyable, and effortless. If that’s the case, the Employee Experience is a good one.

Organizational perspective


From the organization’s perspective, EX is often used to describe the efforts an organization takes to actively manage the experiences that people are having. Most organizations have not yet become employee experience-centric, but many want to improve their capabilities to move in that direction.

So they strive to define an EX vision, create an EX roadmap, establish EX ways of working and tools required to measure EX, etc.

What is the difference between Employee Experience and Work Experience?

The difference between work experience and employee experience is that one is a set of skills, qualifications, and knowledge you bring to the table when you are hired as an employee. The other is a set of skills, qualifications, and knowledge you get in your day-to-day life at work.

Work experience is usually more job-specific than employee experience because it’s what you’ll do daily while working at a company. Employee experience can be broader because it’s what happens in your personal life that also impacts your work life.

What is an Employee Journey?

Employee journeys are a conceptual framework that especially complex organizations use to make Employee Experience manageable. The journeys are formed by moments or employee activities that are related to each other when employees interact with their organization to fulfill their needs and goals.

Thus, journeys are always built from the perspective of employees, they do not visualize processes of support functions like HR.

Journeys are typically persona specific. If you think of your workforce and the many job families, age groups, genders, etc., your journeys will very often vary. For example, the preferences and needs of new joiners may require one country organization to offer different steps during onboarding than another.

However, often there are still many common elements that form the body of a journey, and persona-specific parts are slight variations. Therefore, creating journey templates centrally and offering them to experience owners for customization is a good approach. Ideally, the templates are stored in a good EX operations tool that allows them to

  1. Centrally store journey templates
  2. Give multiple people access to work in parallel and save local variations
  3. Document activities to improve the experience
  4. Display experience data in the context of the visual journey, e.g. to show which moments offer a good vs. poor experience to employees


A major benefit of employee journeys is their visualization of accountability for experiences:

  1. Document the moments of a journey as well as the touchpoints that employees interact with at each moment.
  2. Identify the owners of the touchpoints.

Especially in the moments where many touchpoints are involved, it is powerful to show which touchpoint owners need to work hand in hand to provide a great moment experience. Often, this creates an “aha” moment and organizations experience a new level of transparency and collaboration across functional or team silos.

TI People employee

Why is Employee Experience Important?

Employee experience is important because it affects a lot of things, including the way your employees feel about their jobs and whether they stay with you. The best companies understand that employees are not just numbers on a spreadsheet—they’re people with feelings and needs.

If you want your employees to be happy at work and come back for more, then you must make sure that their experience is as enjoyable and rewarding as possible. This means giving them good tools, training them well, and making sure they have what they need to do their jobs well.

Employee experience includes everything from how easy it is to get in touch with supervisors or other team members when they have questions or concerns (and how quickly those concerns are addressed), to how much flexibility the company offers its workers so that they can balance family obligations or other life events with their work hours and schedules.

Business Value of Employee Experience

Words by Volker Jacobs: Founder & CEO

Last November, I met with ING’s CHRO Hein Knaapen, EMEAs CHRO of the year for Sustain­able Workforce’, to discuss ‘employee experience’ and how to best manage it. Hein asked me how employee experience relates to engagement and McKinsey’s Organizational Health Index, a KPI ING uses to manage its performance.

I told him that we had worked for the last 2 ½ years on how to manage employee experience (EX) at scale in large companies. We co-created solutions to common EX pain points together with 30 compa­nies, among them AXA, BASF, Bertelsmann, BMW, Bosch, Capgemini, Cisco, Dolby, E.ON, GE, Grundfos, Haufe, HERE Technologies, ING, Merck, Otto Group, Schenker, S&P Global, and USAA.

I explained to him the comprehensive methodology that resulted: CxHR – the Customer Experience of HR, with its four key components ‘Design / Share / Measure / Act’, coming along with an online platform to support CxHR in large organizations. Hein seemed impressed – he is a kind man.

Then he told me, and repeated it in front of our Digital HR Program peer meeting: “If there is one thing I learned as a CHRO, it is that everything HR does has to have a clear line of sight to business results.” In other words, Hein rightfully wanted us to explain the business value of EX. So, here we go.

On the left-hand side, the model shows generic business value levers in a simplified way: Business value defined as return on invested capital – with the ‘invested capital’ lever greyed out – equals increasing net profit by increasing revenue and decreasing cost.

The right-hand-side model shows the ‘What’ of EX: CxHR, our Design / Share / Measure / Act methodology, co-created, tested, continuously refined, and kept up to date by the members of our ‘Journey Networks’.

The most important part of the model is where CxHR connects to the generic business value tree through EX-specific business value levers in the ‘Why’ part of the model. Reading from right to left, CxHR creates two experiences:

1. An engaging experience at ‘moments of truth’

2. An effortless experience in HR

Moments of truth are ‘emotionally loaded moments with a disproportionate impact on employee engagement. With engagement defined as ‘discretionary effort and higher intent to stay with the company, it increases work productivity (discretionary effort) and retention (intent to stay; in recruiting the same logic applies to attraction).

Ultimately, work productivity and retention impact the revenue lever of our generic BV tree.

An effortless experience is something consumers happily get used to Netflix makes it effortless to find the next movie to watch, with Amazon it’s effortless to buy things. Compared to these effortless experiences in their private lives, consumers’ experiences with HR services in their professional life are, alas, very different.

Employees, managers, and HR professionals spend too much time with non-value-adding activities. This threatens the engagement of employees, but more importantly, the business value of effortless experiences takes an undesired path.

If HR can create effortless experiences at all touchpoints of HR customers in HR journeys, the manager time, employee time, and HR staff time spent on HR activities will go down. That improves the work productivity of managers and employees by up to 3%, which in return frees up time to generate revenue.

One of the companies we are working with put their EX initiative under the motto: ‘Giving 1 Million hours back to employees and managers each year!’

Moreover, effortless experiences decrease HR function costs, as less HR staff is involved in compensating for a lack of effortlessness. Finally, effortless experiences at touchpoints that are supported by new, cloud-based HRIT systems will improve the end-user adoption of these systems.

A massive impact: 26% of the total investment in new cloud HRIS is at risk due to lower-than-expected end-user adoption – mainly because the experience with the new system is not as effortless as it could be.

What are the Drivers of Employee Experience?

TI People employee

Most work experiences are perceived by employees to be within the control of management. Engagement drivers are the deep-down feelings and emotions that employees have about their position, management, and organization. They correspond to the deeper needs of the individual and contribute to a state of well-being and increased levels of energy and passion that goes into every action.

When leaders manage these drivers and turn them into positive experiences, employees consistently strive to do their best work. Employees are the single most important asset in every organization, and their engagement level speaks volumes about the organization’s health.

By measuring employee engagement, employers can see how to implement an engagement strategy to address any areas of declined employee engagement.

Top 10 Key Drivers of Employee Experience

The difference between work experience and employee experience is that one is a set of skills, qualifications, and knowledge you bring to the table when you are hired as an employee. The other is a set of skills, qualifications, and knowledge you get in your day-to-day life at work.

Work experience is usually more job-specific than employee experience because it’s what you’ll do daily while working at a company. Employee experience can be broader because it’s what happens in your personal life that also impacts your work life.

What is an Employee Journey?

1. Clarity of Purpose and Direction.

Understanding the mission, vision, and road map of your organization is essential. Employees need to have a clear understanding of what the organization is about and what it wants to achieve. They want to understand the exact roles and responsibilities they have as well as the roles of other employees within the company. When everyone is clear, they will be more likely to band together in support of the same cause.

2. Ideas and opinions matter.

Employees should be encouraged to express themselves freely and leaders need to have efficient communication channels established across the company. Communication is crucial.

Feedback options that are formalized include things like a benchmarking study and employing questionnaires, interviews, surveys, focus groups, 360 reviews of leadership, town hall meetings, and comment boxes.

3. Use the right tools and resources for the job.

Your employees need certain things to complete their job. You may not be aware that they’re lacking something.

It is the only method to make sure that the appropriate equipment, tools, materials, and even potential resources are always available to create a communication link between employees and management. With everything they require to do the job to be completed, production is increasing, as will profits.

4. Workplace Wellness, which involves a compassionate workplace and a balance between work and life.

Research has shown that the engagement of employees increases dramatically when an organization shows that it is truly concerned about the well-being and growth of its workers. Every business must find the right balance between operations and the wellness of its employees, for it is important to keep them engaged.

5. Recognition and appreciation.

When employees are acknowledged, rewarded as well appreciated, and receive an appropriate compensation package. Everyone deserves a little appreciation for their accomplishments, perhaps, one of the most primal human needs.

Employee recognition is a way to reinforce the team’s achievements and inspires others to follow similar behavior. When rewards are in line with the requirements of employees, the possibilities are endless.

6.) Work is fun with a real affection for the job and the organization.

People who are passionate about their jobs never claim that they love it just for the paycheck. The employees who claim that they love their jobs are affirming that they are enthused by their work and get satisfaction from it.

Fun at work boosts employee motivation and creativity, while increasing absenteeism, perhaps, because people are afraid of missing the opportunity to have fun.

7. Opportunities to continually learn and grow.

Do your company’s training, learning, and career development plans function in the way you expect? Discuss with your team members what you feel is lacking, and the things that need to be clarified.

Every opportunity to learn that you offer to your employees should help them directly in what they do. You’ll learn what those benefits are through listening to your team members.

8. The freedom to unleash passion and creativity by contributing to the company through unique abilities, talents, and enthusiasm.

Employees would like to work for an organization that is fully engaged with their talents, stimulates their enthusiasm, and fuels their drive and enthusiasm.

9. High-trust environment that is characterized by trust and support for taking risk-taking in a calculated manner.

Employees must be trusted to perform the tasks expected of them and to make decisions that are right for the company based on the rules set in place.

Employees must also be able to rely on management in their communication skills and professional manner. If a team truly connects and performs well and is at peace, it is obvious that they are truly in trust with each other.

10. Making progress in one’s work through important tasks and progress daily.

If employees are making progress in their work or goal and receiving help, they’re more likely to overcome challenges. Research proves repeatedly that the most important motivation employee has isn’t money, it’s progress.

If these 10 engagement drivers are an integral part of your organization’s DNA Then you are in the position of having… EXTRA Leadership. When it comes down to it, it’s all about being a leader… starting from the supervisor in front of you all the way and up to CEO at the penthouse office.

The Employee Experience Model

The employee experience is all about the entire interaction of your employees with your company, from onboarding to offboarding. The model for employee experience is an approach that helps an organization determine the level of their employees and how they can improve in their workplace.

Focus on Five Different Factors

1. Competitive Salary & Career Opportunities

The way you evaluate your employees is a key factor in determining how productive they are. If you want your employees to be the best that they can be, you need to give them the tools and resources necessary for them to do their best work. But as it turns out, how much money you pay your employees is a big part of that equation.

Research shows that when employees are paid more than their colleagues, they tend to perform better than those who make less money. This is because higher-paid workers tend to be more ambitious and motivated than their lower-paid counterparts. They also feel more secure about their jobs and have more confidence in their abilities as well as in their skillset overall.

2. Effective Communication

When you are communicating with your employees, you want them to feel safe, appreciated, and motivated. These are all important aspects of creating a healthy workplace environment. However, if you do not have effective communication with your employees, then they may feel that their work is not valued. This can cause them to be less productive and even leave the company.

To improve employee engagement, we recommend that you use effective communication methods so that your employees will feel like they are being heard by their superiors and managers. If you want your company’s employees to feel engaged at work, they need to know what’s going on in the business around them.

3. Work Flexibility

Work flexibility is a key component of a successful organization. It allows employees to be able to manage their personal lives, while still being productive in their jobs. Being able to have control over one’s schedule allows for more productivity, which leads to better results at work. Work flexibility also helps with retention and overall employee experience within an organization.

4. Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are not just about people from different backgrounds, but also about different mindsets. We believe that everyone has something unique to bring to the table due to their background and perspective, which is why it’s important to put a significant emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

Be sure that your employees be able to learn from each other even if they live located on different continents. We all benefit from cultivating this sense of community and appreciating everyone’s opinions.

5. Professional Development

A personal development day is a great way to end the week, but it’s also a great way to start the week! A personal development day helps your staff get back into the swing of things after a long work week, and allows them to think about what they want out of life. It can be a great way for them to explore new hobbies or try out new skills, which can then lead to greater career opportunities down the line.

It’s easy to think that personal development is something that only happens outside of work hours—but by making it part of the routine at work, you’ll be encouraging your employees to think about their growth as well as the growth of their coworkers.

Keeping Employees Happy

The employees naturally have a duty towards their bosses. But what leaders and managers often overlook is that they are also accountable for their obligation to their employees, as well. Making sure that your employees have a positive experience is your obligation as an owner and leader.

If your staff is happy and content, they’ll become more efficient and remain in your company for longer. Additionally, you will establish a reputation as a good place to work. This will make it easier to find the best talent.

TI People employee

How to Improve Employee Experience

What stops organizations from actively working on Employee Experience

There are several roadblocks for organizations to adopt Employee Experience approaches, but I focus on two key aspects.

Firstly, Employee Experience is not yet perceived as a proven driver of company performance. We have strong proof points, also in research e.g. by MIT Sloan or HBR, but it is not yet commonly known.

Therefore, Employee Experience has not yet fully landed on CEOs’ and CHROs agendas where it belongs. Without executive buy-in, it is difficult to gain budget and initiate experience improvements that prove the value of EX.

The second key roadblock is that Employee Experience approaches somewhat interfere with other ways of collecting employee feedback, mostly engagement. Employee engagement is an established way to look at how employees perceive their organizations.

Data is mostly collected through large-scale census surveys that run annually or every second year. Employee Experience requires true EX data, and it’s difficult to get a place in the measurement calendars of organizations.

That’s a shame because combining Employee Experience and engagement data is very powerful (to read more: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/timo-tischer_employeeexperience-ex-peopleexperience-activity-6938420764899479553-8uBM?utm_source=linkedin_share&utm_medium=member_desktop_web).

How do you promote Employee Experience?

The best promoter of Employee Experience is the proven success of EX initiatives. Employee Experience is still fighting for the role it deserves at the table of CEOs’ top priorities, given it is crucial for high productivity and business results.

Therefore, promoting Employee Experience requires the following steps:

  1. Identify an issue that negatively impacts business performance (e.g. no-show of new hires before the start date; first-year attrition of skilled engineers that are expensive to recruit; lack of attraction of female talents; etc.)
  2. Set your success KPIs (e.g. first-year attrition rate)
  3. Collect Employee Experience data to identify which experiences are causing the issue: those that matter most to employees, but in which current experience is poor
  4. Design a solution to solve that issue together with employees, and give designers a kickstart by leveraging insights from the experience measurement
  5. Re-measure experience after implementation of the solution to show the improvement and observe the impact on your success KPIs
  6. Observe the impact on your success KPIs
  7. Communicate the results of your activities broadly in your organization Choose a smaller business issue or a simpler solution over the high need for alignment and long-lasting development implementation of solutions.

Speed is important to use momentum. A well-defined success case then serves as the basis to extend to further business areas and start scaling up Employee Experience capabilities (have a look here https://lnkd.in/dbXtcbde for more details).

Employee Experience Management

How to build an EX-centric organization?

Building an Employee Experience-centric organization requires EX Leaders to scale up three dimensions:

1. EX Aspiration & Advocacy:

Here, the EX Leader needs to gather the organization’s leaders behind a long-term Employee Experience vision as well as an immediate EX roadmap.
The vision is developed together with senior stakeholders, with the current state of Employee Experience as a starting point.

Both starting point and vision are developed by engaging with senior stakeholders, e.g. through a combination of surveys, interviews, and workshops. The interactions also serve as education of senior stakeholders, an important step to gain allies for Employee Experience.

The EX Leader and potentially her team then define and align a roadmap to achieve the vision, with a detailed plan for the next 12 months.

In an ideal world, the outcome of these efforts is a shared aspiration, vested leadership, and organization-wide advocacy for Employee Experience.

2. Experience Enablement:

The focus of this dimension is to establish measurement, structures, capabilities, and ways of working that enable a sustainable way to positively influence employees’ experiences.

These elements do not need to be fully built before engaging in Employee Experience activities. Rather, set up a first EX measurement to go after a first real business problem based on experience data.

This allows us to prioritize high-impact experience opportunities and inform experience innovation.

3. Experience Innovation:

This dimension is directed towards establishing cycles of discovery and human-centered experience innovation and implementation. EX measurement provides data-based priorities for improvement and initial hypotheses for root causes.

These hypotheses are to be tested and further detailed by additional research like interviews with employees. Once the issues are identified, required improvements can require small changes or large redesigns.

Solutions are to be developed together WITH, not FOR employees, and need to be timely implemented to ensure employees and the organization is taking meaningful action on their feedback. Finally, the impact of the solution needs to be verified by re-measuring the experience.

While achieving high maturity in all three dimensions requires time and effort, there’s no need to expect perfection right from the beginning. Rather start small and iterate while scaling the dimensions. The key to success is to initiate and grow all three dimensions in parallel from the beginning as they are highly interdependent.

How to grow ambition and stakeholder support over time?

Aspiration for and advocacy for Employee Experience will grow over time. Don’t worry if it’s not there in full right from the start!

For the first iteration of EX Aspiration & Advocacy, focus on these tasks:

  • Define an EX-centric vision for the next 3 years
  • Assess current initiatives that are related to Employee Experience (there will be many!)
  • Build an Employee Experience roadmap for the next 12 months
  • Educate senior stakeholders in direct interactions
  • Ensure coaching of the EX team and leader

What are the first steps to set up the organization to manage EX?

Experience enablement will grow over time. Don’t worry if it’s not fully established when you start! For the first iteration of Experience Enablement, focus on these tasks:

  • Measure Employee Experience to understand the root causes of one specific business problem
  • Analyze findings to prioritize a high-impact experience opportunity
  • Inform experience improvement or reinvention with insights from Employee Experience data to drive efficiency of the solution design

How do give designers a jump-start with meaningful EX data?

Experience innovation will grow over time. Don’t worry if you are not solving all the company’s experience problems right from the start! For the first iteration of Experience Innovation, focus on these tasks:

  • Use experience data to the scope and inform an experience innovation project (this drives the efficiency of the research and design process as such!)
  • Design to improve or reinvent the experience of a set of specific interactions, together WITH, not FOR employees
  • Implement the designed solution and experience
  • Re-measure the experience after the experience enhancement is operationalized
  • Learn from the impact that the design has on the experience as such

What stops organizations from actively working on Employee Experience

There are several roadblocks for organizations to adopt Employee Experience approaches, but I focus on two key aspects.

Firstly, Employee Experience is not yet perceived as a proven driver of company performance. We have strong proof points, also in research e.g. by MIT Sloan or HBR, but it is not yet commonly known.

Therefore, Employee Experience has not yet fully landed on CEOs’ and CHROs agendas where it belongs. Without executive buy-in, it is difficult to gain budget and initiate experience improvements that prove the value of EX.

The second key roadblock is that Employee Experience approaches somewhat interfere with other ways of collecting employee feedback, mostly engagement. Employee engagement is an established way to look at how employees perceive their organizations.

Data is mostly collected through large-scale census surveys that run annually or every second year. Employee Experience requires true EX data, and it’s difficult to get a place in the measurement calendars of organizations.

That’s a shame because combining Employee Experience and engagement data is very powerful (to read more: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/timo-tischer_employeeexperience-ex-peopleexperience-activity-6938420764899479553-8uBM?utm_source=linkedin_share&utm_medium=member_desktop_web).

What is The Difference between Employee Experience and Employee Engagement?

Employee experience is centered around the entire experience of a worker throughout their time working for the company. However, employee engagement is the measure of the degree of involvement an employee has with their job.

It includes the elements that contribute to employee satisfaction and how enthusiastic employees are about their work. However, it is also a measure of how well-connected the employees feel with their company and how dedicated they are to the cause and the amount of work they are willing to put into their job.

The most engaged employees know their place within their organization, how they are a part of the organization as well as how they could make a difference in the business.

Employee Experience or Engagement? It’sboth

Some organizations may wonder whether they should invest in Employee Experience or Employee Engagement activities. The answer is simple – it’s both.
Measuring and taking action on Employee Engagement is very established in many organizations. So why would they allocate the budget to Employee Experience?

The first thing to note is:

Employee Experience data is different from engagement data. EX data is collected more frequently than engagement data, and at the level of specific interactions (touchpoints) within a certain context (moments), e.g. experience with the line manager when changing shifts. Engagement data captures the outcome of employees’ experiences over time.

Secondly, the way action is taken on experience vs. engagement data is different. Engagement results are typically broken down to team levels, and managers are given recommendations on how to improve in areas with low engagement scores. Experience improvements are often situated in other parts of the organization like HR, IT, or Shared Services.

If an HR system (being a touchpoint) is causing dissatisfaction in several important moments, and experience shall be improved, it’s due to the system owner to work with employees to identify suitable ways to improve the experience. So experience data opens the 2nd path to creating better experiences for employees, next to asking managers to act.

As experience data is not broken down to team levels, experience surveys also require fewer responses – while engagement surveys are usually sent to the entire organization and require high response rates, experience surveys can be distributed only to a representative sample to gain meaningful insights.

Practically, it is an improvement to employee listening activities to add experience measurement to the picture. Recently, in a project with a global sportswear company, we ran a survey that included classical engagement items (outcomes and engagement drivers) as well as Employee Experience questions. Interestingly, regression analysis showed that EX moments were a much better predictor of overall engagement scores than the drivers of the engagement model themselves.

Employee Experience vs Employee Engagement

Employee Experience is the quality of interactions employees have with their organizations. Employee Engagement results from that Employee Experience. Companies that provide a good experience to their employees will see that their employees’ intent to stay with the company and their willingness to go the extra mile for their job – or in other words: their engagement – rises.

Organizations can actively work on making the experiences of their employees effortless and delightful. If they measure Employee Experience in a structured way, identifying the quality of interactions at touchpoints, within the context of moments, organizations can identify interactions that are important but currently provide a poor experience.

Improving these interactions based on the requirements of employees leads to higher engagement.

To give an example, a question related to understanding Employee Experience may read ‘How was the experience with your manager when you returned from paternity leave?’ – looking to understand the experience at the touchpoint ‘manager’ in the context of the moment ‘return from paternity leave.

In comparison, engagement survey items are typically broader, such as ‘I’m confident in our leadership team’. While it is certainly valuable for organizations to understand how employees perceive the leadership, the outcome of these questions is less actionable than knowing exactly in which moments experiences are poor and which touchpoints cause dissatisfaction.

In line with that thought, we have recently run a statistical analysis comparing the impact on the engagement of (a) typical engagement drivers and (b) EX moments. Although we were using an established engagement model, the EX moments were much stronger predictors of engagement than the engagement drivers themselves.
Overall, Employee Experience and Engagement are complementary and should go hand in hand when setting up employee listening.

What are Employee Experience Priorities and Trends?

It’s four elements. First, Employee Experience leaders continue to try to change their perspective. An Employee Experience-centric organization. We don’t do anything for our employees; we do it with them.

When we come up with solutions, we ask them. This is number one, but it’s not always easy. We are currently at a stage where priorities are set top-down and ongoing initiatives are determined by the HR leadership team, for example, external factors that aren’t driven by employees.

Experience intelligence is the second. Employee Experience needs its own currency to succeed. Employee Experience KPIs and Employee Experience leaders still do not have those in place. That’s the second, and it will help to overcome the one I already mentioned because data is more persuasive than opinions.

It is much easier to have the data available to show what isn’t working at the moment and what can make a significant impact. If you improve the Employee Experience, it will also increase tremendously. This will be a great help in getting over it.
The third question is: How can we increase employee experience initiatives? How can we make them better? This clear view is that you need to think big but also start small and iterate as you scale it up.

You can find a small problem that is relevant to a business owner and show improvement with data. This will allow you to grow your experiences-centric approach within your company and help you secure funding executives and budgets.
Finally, it doesn’t work if there isn’t a strong or broad Employee Experience vision. This is still an important piece. This is something that very few organizations make explicit.

However, we have seen others that have committed to employees and investors. They have, for instance, become the top employers according to real data. This is a strong vision that was communicated even at an investor conference. We expect to see more of these types of commitments in the future.

What is the State of Employee Experience?

Introducing TI People’s State of Employee Experience research report.

Redefining HR as a people success function, Employee Experience (EX) is to Human Resources what Customer Experience is to Marketing and Sales: the face of the future.

Over the last two years, TI People has worked alongside Global 2000 companies to define EX, measure it and manage it within large organizations. Through this project, we have proven EX’s business value and come to understand its cross-silo nature and resulting ownership complexity. Together, we have built the most comprehensible view of today’s EX landscape.

Organizations across the world recognize that providing a better experience to their employees is essential to success in a highly competitive marketplace. But which of the massive EX promises and concepts have been adopted in large companies? And which concrete steps should HR take, next? It is with sincere gratitude to all of our co-creators that TI People is proud to introduce you to the State of Employee Experience Report: your roadmap to EX in 2019 and beyond.

1. EX is on the new CEO agenda

With new technology and the rise of platform companies like Amazon, Google, Netflix, Spotify, and others, ‘customer experience (CX) became the key differentiator for companies, seemingly overnight.

The concept of always-on, effortless, and instant gratification created by these new platform companies was powerful enough to disrupt entire industries. With CX and the move to agile platform businesses came the fourth industrial revolution, requiring digital, agile skills and an entirely new world of work.

Consequently, talent and its engagement, attraction, and retention are the key differentiators for the company and EX is a new focus for CEOs:

To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace. Doug Conant, CEO of Campbell’s SoupTweet Customers do not come first.

Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers. Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin GroupTweet

Three out of four CEOs agree. And nine out of ten would give facilitation and management of EX to the CHRO.

2. EX is an opportunity for CHROs – and a challenge

With three out of four CEOs being ‘fans’ of employee experience and nine out of ten seeing the facilitation of EX in HR, EX is becoming a priority for the CHRO: Of our surveyed CHROs, 55% have made EX a ‘declared priority’ for 2019, and 92% agree that the importance of EX will grow between now and 2021.

Hence, EX might become the next sub-function of HR, just like Analytics did five years ago. The opportunity for CHROs to provide business value is huge. It stems from two levers: First, EX creates a better experience at ‘moments of truth,’ those moments where the experience matters, and directly improves engagement.

Engagement is defined as ‘discretionary effort’ and ‘higher intent to stay with (or join) a company’. It accounts for 55% of the total business value of EX – or 85 Million USD in bottom-line P&L impact for a company of 20,000 employees. Second, EX creates a more effortless experience for managers and employees.

It is giving significant time back to the business – 100 hours per employee and manager per year, on average. The total bottom-line P&L impact is 71 Million USD in a company of 20,000 employees.

In response to this opportunity, CHROs are setting up central EX teams. The Head of EX typically reports to a direct report to the CHRO or directly to the CHRO. is the easy part – these teams are for the average 20,000-employee company And the EX team’s capacity is on average three people in a 20,000-employee company, with an average budget increase of 12%.

The challenge for the CHRO and the EX team is how to execute their EX ambition: With a 75% CEO mandate, 55% of CHROs have declared EX a priority for their organizations. But only 12% have put an EX roadmap in place to execute against this priority.

There is an obvious execution gap: EX is unchartered territory for most CHROs. Let’s compare EX to other significant HR initiatives, like a global Workday implementation: It’s complex, it’s burdensome – but we know what to do.
The playbook for global Workday implementations is written. That’s very different for EX. In addition, the term EX is not copyright-protected. Undefined in that sense, EX activities can range from better coffee machines to new workplaces and HR apps.

Hence, there are lots of misconceptions. Especially when it comes to managing it at scale in large, complex organizations.

3. Successful EX is simple, self-sustaining, local

In co-creation with 30 companies, we have defined the ideal space for the CHRO to manage: It is a set of 12 employee journeys and five manager journeys, with a total of 285 touchpoints. Of these, 171 are owned by HR. Yet of the 36 most critical touchpoints, only one is owned by HR.

Hence, for HR teams to effectively facilitate and manage EX, the scope is the employee and manager journeys for which HR is accountable. Within these, the most EX-critical pieces are owned by line managers. What does this mean?

For HR to fulfill its role as an EX facilitator and manager, it must find ways to involve and engage the line managers from the business as owners of the most critical pieces of EX. HR practitioners share this view: 89% agree that EX cuts across internal ‘silos’ of HR, other support functions, and the business. Manager-ownership of the most critical experience touchpoints.

Concluding on these findings, EXcan only is successful if line managers become an integral part – even the driving force – of it. That way EX isn’t yet another HR initiative driven by the center of the organization. Instead, it is a simple, self-sustaining, locally driven system, a ‘local contact sport’.

Improving Employee Experience Begins here!

How long does it take to set up an Employee Experience initiative?

If you take Employee Experience seriously as an organization, it is a commitment to positively influence people’s experience of work in the long term. This is definitely ‘thinking big, and getting there is neither quick nor easy.

However, taking the first steps is easy enough: Start small. Find a business owner with an experience problem that you work on. Define your Employee Experience KPIs that also serves as a proof point for success.

Measure EX, solve the issue by developing solutions with employees, re-measure to prove a success, and make sure to spread the word about the achievements. Then scale up Employee Experience in iterations:

Find additional use cases, create more backing for EX to secure additional backing (and potentially budgets), and build up the required capabilities and tools to measure EX and enable experience re-design. Think big, start small, and iterate as you scale.

    How to get started with Employee Experience

    At the moment, Employee Experience is not established in many organizations. We often find few people in an organization have understood the relevance of becoming more EX-centric and are familiar with the terminology and approaches of EX. A general buy-in at the executive level is missing, but to be successful, EX leaders need to have a strong mandate, ideally from CEO or CHRO.

    To start with, EX leaders should build their EX roadmap and work together with senior stakeholders in doing so to activate both business and HR executives. Ideally, find a business sponsor with a pressing people issue and run a pilot applying EX approaches to solve this issue. A pilot also involves measuring EX for that specific use case to precisely identify pain points and create KPIs to demonstrate improvements.

    We also strongly recommend connecting to EX leaders from other organizations. It’s great to learn from success stories, but certainly also reassuring to hear that others are facing similar issues. Many organizations think they are far behind in Employee Experience. But in fact, only a few companies have already strongly advanced, so no need to worry.

    We believe in the power of people. We believe that people are the most important resource in any organization, and we believe that a good employee experience is one of the best ways to keep your people feeling great at work.

    At TI People, we believe in the importance of making people feel great at work. We collaborate with Employee Experience Leaders to improve people’s work experiences. We want people to like their jobs, therefore we’re on a mission to make businesses more experience-centric. As a result, we measure our performance by the number of individuals who have better work experience.

    We Help the leading companies in the world measure, design, and manage their employee’s experiences. Keep your people feeling great at work with TI People!

      World-class organizations deliver results through superior human experiences of work.

      "Applied EX" will help you achieve that.

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