How an effective employee experience strategy can help your team succeed

Written by: Officevibe | Edited by: Jessica Romera
Published on: December 23, 2022 |  Reading time: 11m

The term employee experience (EX) is used a lot lately; the sweeping concept includes the entire relationship between the employee and the organization — from an employee’s interaction with their direct manager to their perception of the workplace environment.

Essentially, just about anything, from the company’s leadership style to a team member’s work-life balance, may influence the overall employee experience.

Savvy HR leaders know that a positive employee experience is the cornerstone of any successful business. When companies focus on EX, they enjoy stronger employee loyalty, increased productivity, a healthier company culture, and ultimately revenue growth.

But how do you go about creating a strong employee experience strategy to help your company grow?

What is an employee experience strategy?

A successful employee experience strategy should encompass all aspects of EX, including employee productivity, workplace culture, and inter-team relations, in a comprehensive, long-term, and balanced approach. When you strive for a better employee experience, your organization will see:

  • Less workplace stress
  • Lower employee absenteeism
  • Stronger employee ambassadorship
  • Higher job satisfaction

But organizations can also reap the financial benefits of implementing a healthy employee experience strategy and start seeing:

  • Higher employee engagement. Engaged employees are more emotionally invested in their work and are less likely to be disconnected during operating hours (also referred to as presenteeism).
  • Lower employee turnover. Employees who enjoy a happier EX are more likely to stay in their positions in the long term.
  • Successful talent-seeking. When your employees are happy, they are likelier to recommend your organization to other desirable, high-performing professionals.
  • Stronger customer satisfaction. Happier employees produce better work and provide a higher level of service, which leads to more satisfied customers.

12 Examples of employee experience strategies

So what exactly should HR departments or managers do to enhance employee experience? Let’s break down the components of a knockout employee experience strategy.

1. Focus on the employee

An efficient employee experience strategy sees the company’s own employees as its most valuable resource. And rightfully so. Your EX strategy should put the individual team member at the center and ask:

  • Who is this employee? How long have they worked in the company?
  • What drives this person? What do they want to achieve?
  • What does this employee value in their workplace experience? (E.g., more flexibility, a family-friendly schedule, access to mental health resources, etc.)
  • How can we improve our organizational structure to help this employee achieve their goals?

An employee survey can help you answer these questions. HR professionals can analyze survey results to view trends in different segments of your organization (for example, “About 50% of the employees in our marketing department are young parents who struggle with long office hours”).

2. Build trust

Building trust with employees is a vital part of any employee experience strategy. Security, confidence, and knowing that the company promotes their best interests all help employees thrive.

Cultivating trust in the workplace environment involves:

  • Honoring individual and team commitments
  • Promoting transparent communication
  • Taking accountability and owning mistakes
  • Fostering a helpful and people-first company culture

Trust is a two-way street and needs to be earned. Build trust with your team by asking your employees poignant questions.

3. Give meaningful employee recognition

Employees like to know that their managers and team members appreciate their hard work and efforts. When employees feel valued, employee engagement and loyalty soar. But according to Officevibe data, a quarter of employees expressed that their organization does not recognize and celebrate accomplishments or efforts.

Effective recognition should be:

  • Specific. Instead of “good job,” try “Your report from last Wednesday really highlighted our department’s work.”
  • Timely. Recognition works best when it includes both real-time feedback and acknowledgments during significant milestones, like the end of a big project.
  • Meaningful. Motivation rises when employees feel their work makes a difference and contributes to their personal development goals and broader company objectives.
  • Encouraging. Aside from reinforcing success, recognition can also boost employee morale during challenging times. For example: “We didn’t reach our social media engagement targets, but you did a great job increasing brand awareness. We’ll work together to adapt our strategy for next quarter.”
  • Team-oriented. Recognition should flow not just from managers to employees but also between peers. Why not make a colleague’s day by letting them know how much you appreciate them?

Everyone wants to be recognized for their hard work, efforts, and contributions. Start creating a culture of recognition and watch your workplace prosper.

4. Promote open, honest communication

Open and transparent communication makes every task easier; it allows teams to spot problems, suggest solutions, and develop creative action plans. To improve communication in your company, make sure you:

  • Run regular meetings with employees, either in person or virtually.
  • Encourage all employees to provide honest feedback.
  • Assess your communication channels. If important messages regularly get overlooked in Slack or other communication channels, consider testing out another platform.
  • Emphasize communication with remote employees to keep them involved and engaged.

5. Encourage diversity and inclusion

A diverse and inclusive work environment helps create healthier, more flexible, and more balanced teams. Today, leaders in many organizations understand that embracing diversity isn’t just “the right thing to do” but a pathway to a better workplace experience and higher levels of success.

A diversity program may address questions like:

  • Do our recruitment processes provide equal opportunities for employees from different ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds?
  • How well does our organization accommodate employees with disabilities?
  • On a scale from 1 to 10, how well does our company promote an inclusive environment regardless of sexual orientation, race, age, nationality, or disability status?
  • How aware are we of microaggression and unconscious biases in our organization?

Keep the important conversations going with the right diversity, equity, and inclusion questions.

6. Offer mentorship programs and training

Each employee brings something to the table; it’s why you hired them in the first placed. Both new employees and personel who move between departments can benefit from:

  • An experienced team member who regularly checks on their progress
  • A mentorship plan that gives small employee groups a safe space to address difficulties and suggest improvements
  • A training program to help employees expand their skill-set

7. Implement a standout onboarding process

An employee’s onboarding process extends far beyond signing a contract and reading some administrative documents. By implementing thoughtful onboarding steps into your employee experience framework, you’re showing your new hire that you’re investing in them for the long-haul and that you want to see them grow within the organization.

Not sure how to implement structured onboarding into your employee experience strategy? Try using tools like Softstart to foster a genuine sense of belonging on your team.

8. Create professional development opportunities

In today’s competitive workplace, many organizations emphasize career growth opportunities for their employees. Professional advancement contributes to higher employee engagement, greater job satisfaction, and a better overall employee experience.

Promoting career growth may include:

  • Training programs within the organization
  • Structured promotion frameworks
  • External workshops, classes, and conferences
  • Leadership coaching

Your people are motivated. Give them the opportunity to discuss their career development in a one-on-one meeting.

9. Perform stay interviews

Interviews are a standard part of the hiring process, but what about interviewing employees who have worked in the organization for a few months, a year, or a decade? Periodic stay interviews can help you assess your employee experience and improve employee retention.

Typical stay interview questions include:

  • What do you like (or dislike) about your work environment?
  • Do you see yourself working in our organization for the next year (or two years, or five years)?
  • What’s the biggest challenge you face in your work?
  • Would you recommend our organization to a friend or colleague looking for work?

10. Provide clear roles and responsibilities

Team alignment is a crucial part of an employee experience strategy. Work flows more smoothly and conflicts diminish when everyone knows what they should be doing, who handles each task, and what the end goal is.

To improve alignment and collaboration within your team, you should:

  • Keep tasks within the context of major organizational goals and values.
  • Define employee roles and watch out for role overlap.
  • Set employee goals that are clear and measurable.
  • Schedule regular performance management check-ins.

Making sure everyone is on the same page is key to moving your team in a successful direction. Discover Officevibe’s alignment tools and how they can help you rally the whole team.

11. Promote work-life balance

Stress, burnout, anxiety, and other mental health issues deplete employee productivity and cost employers a lot of money. Smart employers will do their best to reduce workplace stress by making sure their employees have time to rest, recharge, and take care of themselves and their loved ones.

An employee wellness survey can help you answer questions like:

  • How do our employees rate their stress levels and workloads?
  • Do our employees feel that their work obligations encroach on their personal lives?
  • Do employee benefits in our organization give people access to physical and mental health services?

12. Perform exit interviews

The end of an employee’s journey in the organization should include an exit interview that assesses their experience throughout their employee lifecycle.

Exit interviews can help you:

  • Evaluate the employee’s experience during their time in the organization and see what your company can do to improve employee satisfaction at pivotal points.
  • Understande why employees quit (lack of growth opportunities? More lucrative employee benefits in another company?) and working on strategies to improve employee retention.
  • End professional relationships through a friendly and constructive process.

How to implement an employee experience strategy

Now that you know what your EX strategy should include, how do you apply the concepts we outlined above to create a more positive employee experience?

Make employee experience a critical component of your company culture

In big organizations, many employees experience a lack of visibility, especially in the digital workplace era. Creating personalized experiences for your team helps offset the “little cog in a big machine” effect and bolsters employee loyalty to the company.

You can help employees feel seen when you:

  • Recognize individual employee achievements.
  • Celebrate employee milestones like work anniversaries.
  • Acknowledge workers’ birthdays and other personal celebrations.
  • Invest in regular one-on-one communication.

Identify challenges

Be honest with yourself. What, in your opinion, is the current biggest barrier to a stronger employee experience strategy in your organization? Ask yourself:

  • When discussing obstacles, do we encourage transparent communication, even when it highlights issues we may not like to see?
  • Are our managers and team leaders ready to be accountable for past errors and adapt employee experience strategies that didn’t work?
  • How healthy, supportive, and collaborative is our company’s work environment? What challenges do we encounter as we work to promote employee happiness?

Create employee journey maps

Employee journey mapping is a process that helps you evaluate employee experience throughout the employee’s lifecycle, from onboarding to leaving the company.

Journey maps help you recognize where your organization could use a better employee experience strategy. For instance, journey mapping can identify underdeveloped onboarding processes or lack of mentorship when employees move between departments.

Employee journey mapping involves these basic steps:

  • Gathering data
  • Creating archetypal employee personas
  • Identifying pivotal moments for these different personas
  • Constructing a journey map
  • Suggesting EX improvement solutions for critical steps in the employee’s journey

Define goals with OKRs

Employee happiness may be your endgame goal, but how do you break your employee experience strategy into specific OKRs (Objectives and Key Results)? Are you shooting for higher levels of employee engagement, business initiative, or a stronger focus on day-to-day tasks?

Officevibe’s OKR framework is an intuitive, user-friendly tool that can help you:

  • Create a clear and easily navigable plan.
  • Keep your employees actively encouraged and empowered.
  • Promote team accountability.
  • Recognize and celebrate progress.

Ask for employee feedback on employee experience

To build a systematic employee experience strategy, you must first understand the current state of employee experience in your organization. The most efficient way to do this is by asking for employee feedback.

Team meetings and one-on-one conversations are a great place to start, but getting every employee’s opinion in person may be challenging in large organizations. Also, some team members may draw back from giving 100% honest feedback face-to-face.

Measuring employee experience is easy with Officevibe’s employee feedback tool, which allows managers and human resources departments to run simple, interactive, and completely anonymous employee surveys. We also provide templates of employee surveys with ready-to-use questions that will help you gain actionable insights.

Measure your results

Your first employee experience survey is a valuable starting point that allows you to assess your progress. As you keep running month-to-month or quarterly employee surveys, you can cross-reference your survey results, determine company policies, and see how the decisions you implement impact the outcome of your next survey.

A consistent and reliable survey platform will become your strongest ally as you strive to optimize the employee experience in your company.

Seek continuous improvement for a positive employee experience

To succeed, an employee experience strategy should be an integral part of your company’s mission. Rather than a one-and-done effort, your EX strategy needs to include regular assessments and a commitment to constant improvement.

Getting genuine, regular, and constructive feedback from your team is an essential part of any employee experience plan. Officevibe offers user-friendly employee engagement surveys, one-on-one meeting templates, a peer recognition platform, and that can help you understand how your employees feel and discover efficient ways to improve the employee experience in your company.