What is EX? A strategic look into employee experience in 2023

by Molly Johnston | Jan 05, 2023

time icon 5 mins

Employee experience (often abbreviated to EX) is exactly what it sounds like – your workers’ perceptions and feelings about their journey through all the different stages of their employment. 

It’s now more important than ever to prioritise employee experience in 2023, no matter what industry you currently operate in. That’s because when companies get employee experience right, they can achieve twice the customer satisfaction and innovation, and generate 25% higher profits compared to those that don’t.

Your employees’ physical workspace, company culture, and tech are all huge factors in how they perceive their workplace. As the key contributor to their employee engagement, morale, and productivity, ensuring your employees experience the best version of their employment at your company will keep them retained and guarantee better business outcomes. It’s a win-win. 

Employee experience: (EX)plained 

Employee experience in its simplest form is what workers encounter and observe during their time at an organisation. It refers to a company’s overall impact on its employees, including everything from their first day on the job, their daily routines, interaction with colleagues and senior staff, and their sense of meaning at work. 

Historically, companies focused solely on boosting their customer experience. As a result, they occasionally failed to address their own staff members’ experiences. However, as more light has been brought to recognising people as an organisation’s greatest asset, employers are understandably rethinking their approach. 

In today’s competitive market, employee experience is critical in attracting and retaining top talent. Employers who prioritise employee experience are reaping the rewards of an engaging workplace culture, leading to increased productivity, performance, creativity, and loyalty across their entire workforce. 

The importance of employee experience

Fostering a powerful employee experience is so much more than a checkbox activity for HR leaders. It’s directly linked to wider business processes and outcomes that impact the whole organisation and how it performs.

Employers recognise this influence, with 80% of executives rating employee experience ‘very important’ or ‘important’ in a recent survey. Below, we’ve listed the benefits of improving employee experience at your organisation.

Higher staff engagement, motivation, and productivity 

The definition of employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to their organisation and goals. It’s often synonymous with motivation and productivity. For this reason, it’s arguably the factor impacted most by employee experience. 

Employee engagement has become a bit of an HR buzzword in recent years, and most organisations are doing what they can to boost their workers’ engagement, motivation, and productivity for better business outcomes. 

Engaged staff care about the work they’re contributing to and are closely aligned with your company’s vision, goals and objectives. Because they care, they use discretionary effort, meaning they’ll go above and beyond for their employer. 

If employees don’t care, they will not put in the effort you need to reach new heights. In fact, they’re much more likely to jump ship, as employee engagement is also closely linked to employee turnover. 

Put simply, employees are only likely to give out what they receive. If their experience at work is negative, their response will likely be negative in return. As a result, they’re far less likely to be engaged, motivated, and productive at work. 

In the absence of a positive employee experience, company outcomes will likely suffer. By prioritising a positive employee experience for the workforce, you’re directly informed whether staff are willing to put the time, effort, and intellect into achieving the company’s objectives and goals. This includes any ambitious OKRs you’ve set together

Improved retention 

Finessing your company processes can lead to improved retention, especially when they directly impact an employee’s experience working at your organisation. 

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that if employees aren’t given the right start when they begin their employment, their attention starts to sway elsewhere. Recent research shows that around 10% of people leave their roles within six months of starting a new job. 

Growth or replacement of outgoing employees involves many considerations, but the cost of a new hire in the first year could shock most business leaders. According to NerdWallet research, an employee earning the average UK salary of £31,722 can in fact cost their employer £62,892.78 – over double their initial salary.

We all want to do our part to decrease turnover if we can help it, both for financial reasons and morale. Bullet-proofing processes like onboarding mean that new hires are introduced to the company in the most effective and efficient way, hugely impacting their view of the company and its culture, their productivity and output, and their desire to stick around long-term.

A simple way to ensure engagement from the get-go is to define what success and high performance looks like for them in their role; this includes defining KPIs together and discussing how their responsibilities directly impact the wider business goals and objectives.

New recruiting strategies 

Modern-day recruiting strategies rely on the information available about job-seekers habits. The majority use websites like Glassdoor to gather important details about their new potential employers, or do their fair share of snooping across social media. 

Understanding an organisation’s scope on work-life balance, employee needs, remote work opportunities, change management, and overall staff well-being are among the most popular topics discussed on employee review websites.

From existing staff members’ reviews, candidates can dive deeper into your culture and form an opinion about your organisation without ever stepping foot on the premises. That’s why it’s more than essential to boost employee experience to reduce the number of negative reviews that could tarnish your reputation. 

At its very core, business is about people – so where you can, celebrate achievements and showcase your culture across your social media channels were appropriate. Not only does this give your existing employees a confidence bump, but it signals to potential employees that it’s an ongoing priority for you. 

Boosted business outcomes

If you haven’t yet been convinced, improving employee experience can directly impact the financial outcomes of your business. Research on 250 global organisations found that companies with the best employee experiences had four times higher profits, twice the revenues, and a 40% lower turnover rate compared to those that didn’t score as well. 

So, especially in times of economic uncertainty, it’s worth putting some effort into making employee experience a priority – it pays off in the long run.

In summary

As companies look to stay competitive in today’s market, one of the most prominent employee experience trends is the importance of enhancing it. And business leaders everywhere are starting to recognise its strategic potential.

Not only will a positive employee experience attract top talent and improve retention rates, but it can also rapidly drive revenue growth. However, the benefits of a strong employee experience go beyond just financial returns. 

By designing an experience that supports and develops your employees, you are investing in the long-term success of your company and ensuring that your most valuable assets – your employees – are equipped to thrive throughout their employment.

For a deeper understanding of how employee experience can help you achieve your organisational goals, our useful guide takes you through the 7 principles you’ll need to consider when crafting a healthier culture and positive employee experience. 

Create the foundation for positive EX