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How to improve the employee experience in 14 easy steps (a 2022 guide)

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Did you know that employee experience is one of the most important factors in determining employee engagement, productivity, and even business success?

Companies that have a comprehensive employee experience management system in place see a significant improvement in their return on assets (ROA) and return on sales (ROS).

According to a recent IBM study, organizations that score in the top 25% for a positive employee experience see a ROA that's nearly 3 times higher and a ROS that's twice as high, compared to organizations in the bottom 25%.

Employee experience is not just about providing a good salary and benefits, though – employees want to feel engaged, appreciated, and productive in their work.

If you're looking for specific ways to improve the employee experience at your company, you're in the right place.

In this blog post, we will discuss 14 ways to improve employee experience and have a happier, more productive, and more engaged workforce. Here's the quick list:

  1. Consider the entire employee lifecycle

  2. Reduce overhead and automate people operations

  3. Build your processes and technology stack around employees' needs

  4. Improve your recruitment procedures

  5. Assess employee motivation and alignment for each role

  6. Improve onboarding and offboarding

  7. Provide hybrid working options

  8. Invest in your employees’ wellbeing

  9. Collect employee feedback regularly – and act on it

  10. Provide the right career growth opportunities

  11. Improve employee engagement

  12. Improve internal communication

  13. Build a culture of transparency and trust

  14. Use the right employee experience technology

What is the employee experience?

Employee experience, also known as EX, is the impression an employee has of their job and of the workplace environment, from the time you recruit them to the time they leave.

It includes everything from how employees interact with the company, what opportunities for growth and development they have, and how motivated they feel about their jobs, to whether they feel a sense of belonging and purpose.

Employee experience is closely related to employee attrition and retention, as well: happy employees will stay longer at your company and are more likely to recommend you as an employer to your peers. It drives business outcomes and is an essential element to the success of your performance management strategy.

Employee experience vs. employee engagement

A term that often comes up when discussing employee experience is employee engagement. Are they the same, though? If not, what's the difference between the two?

Employee engagement is a measure of how committed employees are to their work and how much they care about their company. It includes factors such as whether employees identify with their company’s mission and values, whether they feel they're doing meaningful work, and whether they feel a sense of belonging.

Employee experience is a broader term that includes all aspects of how an employee feels about their job, their workplace, and their team throughout the entire employee journey. The employee experience directly influences employee engagement.

Why do you need to invest in the employee experience?

In short, because it pays off.

The employee experience has a direct impact on employee engagement, productivity, and financial results: Companies that invest in the employee experience see better financial results than those that don't.

According to a study by the MIT Sloan Center for Informations System Research, employee experience is one of the key predictors of business success in terms of:

  • Innovation: Companies in the top quartile on employee experience have 51% of their revenues from products and services introduced in the past 2 years, compared to 24% for companies in the bottom quartile.

  • Customer experience: It turns out that CX and EX are closely related. Customer satisfaction is twice as high for companies in the top quartile compared to companies in the bottom quartile.

  • Profitability: The top performers in terms of employee experience are 25% more profitable than the companies at the bottom of the list.

As you can see, the employee experience is crucial for many aspects of a business, which is why you need to invest in building a comprehensive employee experience strategy.

14 ways to improve the employee experience at your organization

In this section, we'll discuss some specific things you can do to enhance the employee experience at your organization, starting today.

1. Consider the entire employee lifecycle

To make meaningful progress on the employee experience, you need to consider the entire employee journey, from recruitment to departure, and all the touchpoints between your employees and your company.

Map out the entire employee journey to see which are the most important points of contact, and to identify the ones that you need to work on first, i.e. the ones where friction or frustration tend to build up easily:

  • Do you struggle with a slow, drawn-out recruitment process?

  • Do you have the right tools and procedures to onboard and offboard employees efficiently?

  • Are your human resources procedures clear and transparent?

  • How easy is it for your employees to request time off, manage their pension contributions, access all the apps they need for job, get the laptop they want?

  • Do employees feel appreciated and supported in their day-to-day work?

Once you assess the entire employee lifecycle and identify the main friction points, you can start working on an employee experience strategy.

2. Automate people operations and managerial overhead

One of the easiest ways to make meaningful improvements to the employee experience across the entire employee lifecycle is to automate people operations and managerial overhead. This creates simpler, more robust processes and saves everyone time that can be spent on more valuable tasks.

For this, you can use a unified workspace platform that enables you to manage HRIS, payroll, and apps & devices in one place.

This way, your employees can access everything in a single hub, which significantly simplifies communication and minimizes admin overhead.

3. Build your processes and technology stack around employees, not admins

Another key component of the employee experience that companies often overlook is the need to build processes and technology stacks around their employees, not admins.

To ensure employee satisfaction, you need to place employees at the center of your processes, and always keep them in mind when making any changes. After all, processes exist in order to enable your employees to do their job, and shouldn’t stand in the way or slow them down.

The same is valid for your technology stack: Your employees should be the main factor you consider when adding new tools to it; you also need to make sure that all applications can be accessed easily, from a one location, and that key aspects of the employee journey are handled in a single platform.

If you’re using siloed technology to handle specific admin and managerial tasks, without considering the big picture, you’re also creating friction points and sub-par experiences for your employees. For this reason, it’s key to put your employees first and build all processes around them.

4. Improve your recruitment procedures

Recruitment is the first point of contact between you and prospective employees: A bad candidate experience can harm both your employer's brand and the employee experience in the long term.

Make sure all job postings are up-to-date and accurate, and that you respond to applications and queries quickly.

Use a talent acquisition platform to help you find the best candidates, and make sure the hiring process is as smooth and stress-free as possible for them.

Just because you can make candidates jump through countless hoops, it doesn’t mean you should – up to 73% of applicants will abandon an application process that takes longer than 15 minutes, according to a study by Hays.

So, make it simple to apply for a job at your company, and be as transparent as possible about the next steps – interviews, skills assessments, background checks – and the time the whole process will take.

Keep disqualified candidates informed, and provide meaningful feedback whenever possible.

5. Assess employee motivation and alignment for each role

An important aspect of the employee experience is employee motivation, and whether your employees feel aligned with their role.

According to the Job Characteristics Model to Job Satisfaction developed by Richard Hackman and Greg Oldham, employee motivation is based on a number of intrinsic and extrinsic job elements, such as:

  • Autonomy: The degree of autonomy employees have

  • Skill variety: The variety of skills they need to use

  • Task significance: The perceived significance of tasks

  • Task identity: The nature of tasks

  • Feedback: The feedback employees receive

These five job elements define job satisfaction and have a significant impact on the employee experience.

Not everyone needs the same level of autonomy or skill variety to feel happy at their job, however, which is why the HR team needs to assess employee alignment and motivation individually.

This can be a part of a larger yearly assessment, where you re-evaluate job fit and consider different career progression opportunities you could offer employees.

6. Improve onboarding and offboarding processes

Onboarding and offboarding are two of the most important people operations processes that impact business success and risks. So it is important to make the processes robust and simple.