How to Build a Better Employee Experience

Improving the employee experience has been the hot topic of focus for many organizations. It’s understandable when you consider that a positive employee experience is associated with higher productivity, better employee engagement, and improved bottom line results.

In fact, a recent study found that companies with the best employee experiences generated up to 3.8% higher stock returns than their competitors.¹

The process of improving the employee experience, however, is not as easy as flicking a switch. In order to truly make meaningful improvements, your HR team must shift its mindset from optimizing individual perks & processes to redesigning the entire end-to-end experience from the perspective of your employees.

These guidelines should frame the approach for anyone looking to improve their organization’s employee experience:

Treat employees like customers: This means first gaining a deep understanding of who your employees are, what they want, and their pain points. When we address their pain points and solve problems for our employees, they in turn are freed up to focus on solving problems for customers and the business. Just as we’ve moved away from one-size-fits-all for our customers, forming personas enables organizations to do the same for their employees. These employee personas will often need to extend to other “customers” of HR, such as freelancers, contract workers, candidates, and even alumni.

See through your employees’ eyes: This may sound intuitive, but putting yourself in an employee’s shoes opens up a different view of the problem, one that often crosses organizational silos. For example, in a recent journey mapping exercise of a client’s onboarding process, we found that one of the biggest pain points had nothing to do with the onboarding process itself – it was that employees had to bear travel costs up front before being reimbursed and that created financial strain. HR can no longer afford to abandon employees issues that fall outside its domain, but instead must become an advocate for working across finance and IT to solve them.

Realize that not all experiences are created equal: Some experiences are more impactful and drive greater emotional engagement (or disengagement) with the organization. These are moments that matter – for example, an employee’s return from parental leave – and they should be punctuated with high-touch personal interaction. On the other hand, some experiences are about efficiency; these experiences should be simplified and automated to make them as seamless as possible – for example, navigating employee benefits from your phone just as easily as you can explore purchase options on Amazon. The result? By focusing on the desired interactions within a particular experience, HR can differentiate when interactions need a human touch and when being digital makes sense.

Co-create solutions: HR should bring both leaders and employees to the table to design better employee experiences. This not only drives more innovative solutions that often resonate better with employees – since it involves the target users – it also facilitates the change process by streamlining testing needs and socialization efforts. This makes it possible to move from the concept to execution more quickly. In today’s fast-paced business environment, this type of agility is key to success.

Mercer, Building a Better Employee Experience, 2019 ²

By keeping these guidelines in mind, your HR team will be equipped with the proper mindset needed to improve your organization’s employee experience. With a great experience in place, your organization will come to see even bigger returns in terms of employee engagement, retention, and productivity.

It’s worthwhile to keep in mind, however, that the employee experience also extends beyond the workplace. HR teams should consider how they can help their associates rest & recharge as well.

A great way to help them maximize the time they spend outside the workplace is by offering employee savings benefits. With up to 50% savings on travel packages, theme parks, attractions, show tickets, and more, programs like TicketsatWork, Plum Benefits, and Working Advantage help to ensure that your associates return to their roles refreshed & ready to deliver their peak productivity.


¹ Edmans, 2012

² Mercer, 2019

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