In a digital world with increasing transparency and the growing influence of Millennials, employees expect a productive, engaging, enjoyable work experience. Rather than focus narrowly on employee engagement and culture, organizations are developing an integrated focus on the entire employee experience, bringing together all the workplace, HR, and management practices that impact people on the job. A new marketplace of pulse feedback tools, wellness and fitness apps, and integrated employee self-service tools is helping HR departments understand and improve this experience. Through new approaches such as design thinking and employee journey maps, HR departments are now focusing on understanding and improving this complete experience and using tools such as employee net promoter scores to measure employee satisfaction.

  • Organizational culture, engagement, and employee brand proposition remain top priorities in 2017; employee experience ranks as a major trend again this year.
  • Nearly 80 percent of executives rated employee experience very important (42 percent) or important (38 percent), but only 22 percent reported that their companies were excellent at building a differentiated employee experience.
  • Fifty-nine percent of survey respondents reported they were not ready or only somewhat ready to address the employee experience challenge.


A productive, positive employee experience has emerged as the new contract between employer and employee. Just as marketing and product teams have moved beyond customer satisfaction to look at total customer experience, so is HR refocusing its efforts on building programs, strategies, and teams that understand and continuously improve the entire employee experience  Several factors make employee experience a challenge today:

  • First, many companies have not yet made employee experience a priority for HR leaders, often delegating this problem to an annual engagement survey.
  • Second, while some companies have created the C-suite role of employee experience officer, most companies have not assigned responsibility to a senior executive or team to design and deliver the employee experience
  • Third, siloed HR departments often find it difficult to obtain the resources needed to address an integrated set of priorities, which range from management practices to the workplace to benefits and, often, the work culture itself.
  • Fourth, companies need to update their tools to engage employees on an ongoing basis (with pulse surveys at least) to help HR teams and line leaders understand more fully what the talent they employ expects and values. An employee net promoter score is another important tool in this effort.
  • Fifth, many companies remain focused on “point-in-time engagement” and have not yet pulled together the disciplines of performance management, goal setting, diversity, inclusion, wellness, workplace design, and leadership into an integrated framework.


How do you differentiate the employee experience?  We think you should start here:

  • Elevate the employee experience and make it a priority: Recognize that the integrated employee experience is as valuable and can have as much (or more) of an impact as the customer experience strategy. Articulate a differentiated employee experience, and ensure it coordinates all aspects of the work, workplace, and workforce experience. Include the concepts of wellness and well-being in your strategy.
  • Designate a senior leader or team to own it: Assign a senior leader for employee experience and orchestrate the functions of engagement, learning, career development, organizational design, analytics, and culture into a coordinated team so that HR can focus on the entire employee experience. Programs such as leadership development, performance management, workplace design, and rewards now fall into the domain of the integrated employee experience.
  • Embrace design thinking: Study, listen to, and learn what employees are doing every day and discover new ways to simplify work and improve productivity, performance, and engagement. Develop employee personas and use them to develop journey maps.
  • Consider experiences for the entire workforce: All segments of the workforce—candidates, full-time, part-time, freelancers, gig employees, and even, often, alumni—will expect elements of the employee experience to be designed to attract and engage them.
  • Look outside: Use information from Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and others to spot areas of opportunity and weakness. Visit peer companies and look for fresh ideas about how to redesign the employee experience. Investments in benchmarking generally pay for themselves many times over in productivity and a reduction in turnover.
  • Enlist C-suite and team leader support: The involvement of senior executives and team leaders is critical, as daily management and engagement impact the overall employment brand. Senior leaders can be accountable for the employee experience through goals, rewards, and other performance programs.
  • Consider the impact of geography: Even though the trend is global, successful approaches will vary by geography. International companies should understand cultural differences in how employees perceive the work experience. Cultures that are more collective or group-focused require different engagement programs than those that are more individual-focused.
  • Measure it: Move beyond annual or biannual engagement surveys to regular pulse surveys and open feedback systems. Use candidate interviews, stay interviews, ongoing performance conversations, and exit interviews as ways to build a complete, real-time understanding of the issues your employees face. Consider instituting an employee net promoter score, which yields one number on the value of the employee experience that can be regularly measured and tracked


The content outlined in this blog post is an extract of Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report. Please click here to read the entire chapter on “The employee experience: Culture, engagement and beyond” as well as the rest of the report.

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