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Employee Experience: What It Is and Why It Matters

Jun 27, 2022| Reading time: 7min

BY Alex Hilleary

Principal Content Marketing Manager

Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said: “You don’t build a business. You build people, and then the people build the business.”

Over the years, companies have adjusted to do just that: invest in their people. Even more recently, large-scale adoption of remote work has created a multitude of cultural shifts, including initiatives surrounding diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB), salary transparency, and employee engagement.

But while many organizations prioritize these areas individually, successful ones have taken a step back and recognized that they’re all part of the employee experience. 

Ready to further your people initiatives? Read below to further understand the employee experience and how investing in your people can help transform your business and culture. 

What is Employee Experience?

Employee experience is a term that references how employees are hired, engaged, and retained throughout the entire employee lifecycle. 

The in-person and digital employee experience incorporates the following:

  • Recruitment and hiring
  • Onboarding
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Performance management
  • Learning and development
  • Scenario planning, restructuring, and succession planning
  • Company culture
  • Employee engagement
  • DEIB

Sounds like just about everything an employee experiences while working at your company, right? That’s because it is. And while it’s not rocket science, it’s important to note that the more positive experiences people have at your company, the happier they will be. 

Why Does the Employee Experience Matter?

Emily Connery, VP of People and Talent at ChartHop, likens the employee experience to your company’s North Star. She explains: “Once you have determined how your employee experience will look and feel, you can build everything else around that. You’ll know everything within your organization will be aligned – from training managers to conducting performance reviews to how people are expected to behave in and out of meetings.”

The alignment Connery speaks of is crucial to help standardize the employee experience across the board, no matter the team or department. And with that standardization comes:

  • Reduced work complexity. Alignment across the company equates to streamlined internal processes. Your people will therefore find collaborative tasks and communication much simpler than if expectations were disjointed.
  • Behavioral norms for collaboration, creativity, and empowerment. MIT reports that defining expectations and behavioral norms makes “it easier for employees to contribute new ideas and to curate their own ways of working to meet individual and collective needs.”
  • Boosted employee engagement. Creating a people-first culture and strategy leads to strong employee engagement, which in turn can save you and your teams substantial time and resources. 
  • Improved employee performance. According to Inc., employees who feel their voice is heard are almost five times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work. What’s more, they also push for more equality and inclusivity in the workplace.
  • Higher profits. Gallup reports that highly engaged teams, fostered by a strong employee experience strategy, show 21% greater profitability due to less absenteeism and lower turnover. 
  • Increased retention. Employees that trust their managers, leadership, and People team are more likely to be engaged and stay loyal to a company, reducing churn and helping you maintain strong workforce morale.

Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses in Your Employee Experience

It’s human nature for people to want to work for an organization at which they’re valued and actively invested in. But even if you create new processes and efforts to strengthen your employee experience, you won’t know the effects on your people unless you look at data. 

You could toggle between spreadsheets (that are hopefully updated) to help find trends among your people. Or, you could choose the simpler method: using a people analytics platform to help you identify strengths, determine intersectionalities, and help pinpoint areas of risk for your organization. 

Furthermore, using a modern people analytics platform will help you:

  • Stay agile. The employee experience isn’t finite, nor is it foolproof. Problems can arise and plans can change, but having the data and tools to be agile and iterate in the moment is essential. With a people analytics platform, your employee experience teams can take things in stride, effectively scenario plan, and act accordingly.
  • Fuel growth. Investing in your digital employee experience means giving people the tools they need to own their growth. Features like a dynamic org chart and performance management templates help connect employees and empower your people. Customizable employee profiles act as personalized data command-centers that enable individuals to steer their professional development, know the ins-and-outs of the company, and fuel a more autonomous experience.
  • Track results. If you want to understand your strengths and weaknesses, you need to turn to your people data. The insights you derive from your reports will help you create data-driven action plans. What’s more, a modern people analytics platform will integrate with your current HR stack so you can take a pulse check on virtually any sector of the employee experience and make improvements as needed.

Interested in looking at your people data to create a more robust employee experience?

Learn about 5 powerful HR metrics

Prioritize Your People

When you take a deep look at how you hire, engage, and retain your people, it’s easy to recognize that every business decision contributes to the employee experience. In turn, that strong employee experience feeds back into hiring practices, employee engagement, and retention efforts. 

This cyclical nature therefore heightens the importance of employee experience for your organization. Instead of playing whack-a-mole by attacking issues that arise, sit back and strategize how you can create people-first initiatives every step of the employee journey. By doing so, your people will not only reap the benefits, but your organization will as well.

Make sure you’re prioritizing your people, even through times of rapidly scaling headcount or economic volatility. Learn three ways People Pioneers get it done. 

Download the infographic here

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