Employee Experience

Empowering Employee Experience: Unleash Your Team's Potential

Published on : 3/1/23
Reading time : 9 min
  • Take control of your company’s culture and discover what it takes to give employees an exceptional experience. With 45% of workers globally saying they are actively applying/ looking for another job (Adecco) and 51% of UK workers feeling lonelier at work than before the hybrid working shift, uncover the ways to navigate common barriers that keep companies from creating a positive workplace.

    Here, you can find everything you need to know about employee experience. Keep on scrolling to discover more or jump ahead to the section that interests you most.

    1. What is employee experience
    2. Employee experience stages
    3. How to create great employee experience?
    4. Conclusion: the workplace is evolving fast

    Change Management to suit the times 

    While the terms Hybrid Working and Great Resignation were coined over a year ago, they remain incredibly relevant today. With 54% of UK managers saying leadership at their company is out of touch with employees (Microsoft), hybrid working is still very much in an experimentation phase. This leaves leaders not fully prepared for the times ahead; many companies need guidance in change management to embrace their strategy for the future.

    With more focus than ever on work-life balance and with 3 in 10 people wanting to leave their current job in the next 12 months (Adecco), the competitive job market has become all about the benefits companies can offer their staff. Workers are looking for an employer that can match their lifestyle and working environments that are both supportive and collaborative.

    The landscape of the employer-employee dynamic has changed dramatically. In order for organisations to remain competitive in attracting, recruiting, and retaining top talent, companies see the heightened need to embed employee experience into the core values and design of their culture and workplaces.

    Hybrid Working

    The pandemic led to a drastic change in the way we work. Coupled with technology that has enabled remote, hybrid and flexible working, the line between work and life has blurred, shifting employee expectations of wellbeing at work. Employees are in the driving seat; they know what they want from an employer. They want a working culture that holistically focuses on the employee experience and prioritises their engagement and wellbeing.  


    “Say an organisation has 19 offices, and say that same organisation has 9000 employees. In reality, that means they have 9000 workplaces. The question companies need to be asking themselves is how those workplaces are conducive to people doing their best work. Every person wants to be valued, and so companies have got to be working closely with all individuals; there’s no one size fits all solution.”  Linda Hausmanis, CEO of the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management 


    The Great Resignation 

    Burnout and poor mental health have forced people to re-examine what working life they want, and younger generations have been especially susceptible to the increased pressure caused by the pandemic. According to Adecco’s Global Workforce of the Future Whitepaper:

    Almost 4 in 10 workers (36%) say they have suffered from burnout, and almost 1 in 4 have taken a career break in the last 12 months due to burnout. This is reported more highly in Gen Z (40%) than Baby Boomers (20%)”.  

    The link between employee wellbeing and business performance is undeniable, with the combined cost of an emotionally drained workforce being a major concern for many companies. With 1 in 5 workers globally having tried to quit in 2022 (PWC), this issue isn’t going away anytime soon; the Great Resignation is only set to gain momentum.

    What is employee experience?

    Employee experience is all about a worker's perceptions of their company. It’s about the employee journey right through from the interview stage to exit, and when looked at as a whole, encompasses physical workspace, culture, work-life balance, and available technology. Creating a great employee experience is essential for happier, more productive, and engaged employees. 

    In our practical guide to workplace design, we explore the effects of an agile, attractive office and the difference this can make to employee retention.

    6 Trends shaping the Employee Experience

    This guide delves into the six trends that are transforming how food is employed in the workplace and how it can enhance the working experience of employees.



    Why is employee experience so important anyway?

    It’s no secret that people are key to business success. But, beyond that obvious fact, the future workforce - millennials and Gen Z - increasingly expect more from their employers and work environment. In order to attract and retain talent, keeping employees satisfied needs to be a top priority. Value your workforce, empower and trust them, and you’ll receive the reward and positive impact of a productive, loyal, and collaborative team. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of a great employee experience.

    What are the benefits of a great employee experience?

    Retain talent

    It’s not easy recruiting the right people for the job, and filling empty roles requires significant resources. There are also substantial benefits of keeping the valuable historical corporate knowledge of a committed, long-term team.  Working on strategies that build trust and improve the employee experience is vital. If team members know they'll be recognised for their contributions, have opportunities for personal growth, and understand when and why business change happens, they’ll have less reason to leave.  Retaining long-term talent is a real competitive advantage. While making the most of your existing talent pool and building their capability may be challenging, the time, effort, and risk of hiring replacement staff should be considered far harder. An employee experience strategy is an employee retention strategy.

    Boost productivity

    It’s as simple as happy employees having increased productivity levels. Higher levels of job satisfaction found through better employee experience produce productive teams that can focus on working collaboratively, understanding business-critical workstreams better, and being able to focus on pressing projects. 

    Increase profitability

    Great employee experience is an important goal on its own, given how much time many people spend at work. This being said, it is a known fact that the benefits of an engaged team will increase corporate earnings and profit. It will also help employers to attract and retain high-quality talent, further perpetuating a positive financial impact. Successful businesses place employee experience at the centre of their business strategy. 

    Employee experience stages

    The employee journey looks at people's lifecycles through a company. It is the process from interview, onboarding, and development stages, all the way through to exit. Journeys are important to examine for employee experience because the two are so intrinsically tied together. A positive employee journey and experience means creating a sense of shared purpose and culture and improving the shared experience. While it's important to examine this process as a whole and see where positive changes can be made, the employee journey has increasingly become about recognising that each and every individual. That everyone has a different perspective and experience when it comes to working for the same company. 

    Transform employee journeys

    It's important to enable a read on people’s interpretation of corporate values and practices by cultivating a culture of openness that lets employees know they can confidently give their thoughts. The best way to remain involved is to gather continuous feedback from applicants, job candidates, and exiting employees to gain insight into the employee experience. Ask employees what they want through surveys to ensure their needs are met, keep an eye on workplace trends, and adjust company culture to accommodate changing expectations. Make use of anonymous surveys to obtain a clear assessment of your team's engagement, ideally conducted at intervals over time. Questions such as, do you have the opportunities and tools to do your best? Do you feel you get enough recognition and praise? Is your voice heard and valued? When you present good ideas, are they able to be actioned? are all critical for analysing the employee journey. 

    Asking the right questions helps ensure your company clearly understands where they excel or fall short. This helps focus on adjustments that ensure teams relate to company culture and purpose. Great employee experience takes dedication, perseverance, and time. 

    Engagement vs experience

    These definitions can be unclear, so let’s take a look at the distinctions. In simplest terms, we can think of employee experience as more of an umbrella term that incorporates corporate culture, environments, spaces, and ways of working. Employee engagement is the output of these factors that specifically relate to each individual.  As such, we can consider employee experience as a broader term. It constitutes an employee's entire journey within a company, from before joining to after they leave and everything in between. Employee engagement is the strength of your employees' mental and emotional connection towards their work, team, and organisation. It affects just about every aspect of company performance, including profitability, revenue, customer experience, and employee turnover.

    There are, of course, more complex and conflicting explanations. Some companies consider employee engagement as a ‘top-down’ philosophy, by which purpose and culture filter down to employees. In this sense, employee experience works upwards in that work processes are designed around their employees.

    How to create great employee experience?

    Bad employee experience leaves staff feeling disengaged, unmotivated, and unproductive. It’s one of the few areas where businesses can truly differentiate themselves in a competitive job market. While many move on because they are looking for a better salary or more flexibility, company culture can be a major reason people leave their jobs. As a recent Adecco whitepaper stated:  6 out of 10 workers (61%) feel confident that they would be able to find a new job in six months or less, even in times of economic uncertainty. Although the looming recession may pour doubt over confidence levels, 54% of workers still believe they hold the power over jobs they can choose.

    It is very much an employees’ market, and the war for talent is real. Companies must take a strategic approach to the employee experience that gives them what they need to thrive. But what does it take to provide this kind of support? 

    • Effective communication and constant feedback: Both are crucial to successful operations but are often overlooked. It is in the interest of employers to embrace this way of working, as it will inevitably lead to a quicker correction of issues. Seek feedback through engagement surveys and performance conversations, both of which are great ways to ensure appropriate training is in place and to foster engaged behaviours. Today's workforce is hungry for regular discussions and will not be satisfied with an annual review.
    • Provide growth opportunities: Investing in your team, and keeping their skills and ways of working current, is essential to nurture a positive company culture. Team training can also be a brilliant way to accelerate and prompt positive behaviours and develop trusting relationships within the team, further priming them for success. Regularly trained employees are less likely to fall into negative team behaviours, including fixed mindsets or groupthink. It also increases their potential to grow within a company, creating a positive environment where existing employees are seen to be invested in and promoted. 
    • Create a positive work environment: Rigid traditions don't fit within the modern workplace culture - flexibility is king. A truly collaborative space gives teams a sense of purpose, creates a workplace buzz, and is an experience that cannot be replicated remotely. Great workplaces can help people make the connections they need, and makes more efficient use of the resources and space available. 
    • Invest in employee health and wellbeing: The pandemic has forced employees to re-evaluate their work/life balance and overall health. Wellness was a clear priority. Employers have a responsibility to promote employees’ physical wellbeing, whether by offering advice on fitness, sleep, and good nutrition or providing an optimal office environment that delivers sufficient natural light and fresh air.   

    Companies that take wellbeing seriously, and ensure that the physical working environment is designed for this, will attract and retain the best talent in a fiercely competitive marketplace. A healthy workplace results in a more dynamic and resilient workforce; investing in employee wellness is critical to building a workforce of healthy and happy employees. 

    Workplace Design

    Forward-thinking organisations have been forced to reimagine the workplace for employee experience as a more dynamic and creative space than ever before. The most successful companies will be those that break the rules, unconstrained by habit or convention and shaping technology-led, frictionless spaces that fuel the imagination and inspire excellence. The office environment should encourage teams to collaborate, learn from each other, and have spaces designed with specific tasks in mind. They must stimulate informal meetings and triggers information sharing. This could mean hot-desking to encourage people to interact more closely or the design of inviting ‘break out’ spaces. Design must also give staff more choice over how and where they work by incorporating technology that facilitates interactions. The key to an innovative and productive workplace is connecting remote and hybrid workers so they can produce their best work.  

    In our practical guide to workplace design, we explore the effects of an agile, attractive office and the difference this can make to employee retention.

    The Evolution of Food in the Office

    When it comes to the employee experience, the power of food should not be underestimated.

    This guide explores the six trends shaping how food is used in the office, and the difference it can make to the employee experience.



    How workplace food can help

    With employees being encouraged back into the office, environments need to be more engaging than ever before. Food can bring people together like nothing else, and by investing in dining areas and food services, companies can help colleagues build better connections.  Workplace food is not simply about providing nutritious meals to boost productivity. It represents an opportunity to create shared experiences and encourage interaction. It is an opportunity to get people excited about being in the office and to demonstrate a commitment to looking after employees and acknowledging their priorities. We know that professional networks and mentoring relationships are essential for advancement in the workplace and that building and sustaining these connections are important for psychological wellbeing. Remote working has meant that these relationships have suffered, but encouraging and supporting worker collaboration with workplace restaurants and communal eating can be hugely beneficial.

    Food brings people together. As one of the few places employees see each other in person, eating areas now function as the beating heart of any office building. Food has become essential for social interaction and employee bonding. Having dynamic, inviting dining spaces will reflect the flexibility people have come to expect from their jobs. They make for more collaboration, are better suited to promoting wellbeing and help deliver a more positive and creative atmosphere. 

    Sustainability must remain a top priority

    Sustainability is underpinned by an organisation's commitment to following less harmful or beneficial practices for the planet. Many companies have their own obligations to follow as well as government requirements. It is now critical that employee experience must take the environment into account. As a new generation of workers ages into the workforce, gen Z employees are focusing more on CRS values than ever before. The younger generation of talent wants more from their workplaces, and companies that fail to act risk losing out.

    "Climate anxiety is impacting people’s wellbeing. There’s a feeling of powerlessness, as everyone sees the enormous reality of our changing world, and people are asking themselves how they can individually make an impact. Ultimately we need to adapt to the reality of climate change, and that carries over into every aspect of our lives including workplaces." Claire Atkins-Morris

    However, this is an issue affecting all areas of recruitment. In fact, when interviewed in Workday's recent report, 50% of employees said that an organisation's environmental and social governance (ESG) commitments were crucial for keeping them engaged, and employees at purpose-driven organisations reported being three times more likely to stay. Workday's recent heartbeat report on employees' expectations in 2022 stated: "In addition to attracting and retaining top talent, there are a number of organisational benefits that come from taking ESG commitments seriously, including a stronger brand proposition, lower operating costs, fewer regulatory hurdles, and higher returns on investment."

    Sustainable workplaces must seek to use resources that have as little impact as possible on the earth and employees' health. Aside from the obvious, there are many benefits to a corporate culture that promotes sustainability. In addition to improved employee experience, it can encourage creativity, making it a key factor for innovation. Looking back to what has previously been said about the importance of offering food services as an employee benefit, sustainability also needs to be a key driver in this area too. Employees want to know where their food has come from, what waste is produced as a result, and the significance of the carbon emissions involved.

    With so many employees ranking an organisation's ESG commitments highly for keeping them engaged, companies need to prioritise sustainability more than ever before. More and more, people are recognising the importance of asking questions regarding ESG, and being able to provide answers is only set to become more fundamental to employee experience.  

    The workplace is evolving fast

    Companies must listen and respond to people’s needs. This means establishing the physical and mental space for creativity, enabling flexibility, empowering employees, and instilling an open and receptive corporate culture. Understanding and improving the employee experience is essential for companies to stay competitive in a global economy, and companies need to focus on the employee experience holistically. A new approach is needed that considers wellbeing, engagement, workplace design and sustainability necessary for a positive employee experience.

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