Driving Business Results with Employee Experience Strategy

ben whitter on projectHR podcast discussing employee experience strategy

Episode 4.20: 92% of companies have said they plan to prioritize employee experience enhancements over the next three years, in an effort to prevent further resignations. Without a doubt, employee experience is sure to be a major organizational focus, not just for this year, but for years to come. Joining us today to help us better understand this challenge is Ben Whitter. He is the Founder & CEO of HEX Organization, and he is the author of ground-breaking books, such as Employee Experience,  Human Experience at Work - and coming this summer - Employee Experience Strategy: Design an Effective EX Strategy to Improve Employee Performance and Drive Business Results. Here, he explains:

  • What's included when we talk about "employee experience";
  • The five core facets of employee experience strategy;
  • Why positive employee experience is so critical for employers; and
  • How to avoid common employee experience strategy mistakes!

If you prefer to read along while you listen, we've done all the hard work for you! We listened back to this episode and took notes below, and access is free! 


Defining Employee Experience And Employee Experience Strategy 

  • Every moment an employee participates in an organization contributes to an employee’s overall experience. 
    • Developing an employee experience strategy must be examined holistically beyond providing flimsy perks or chasing workplace “fads”. 
  • Employee experience is defined as a holistically designed, engineered, and intentional employee journey throughout an organization. 
    • The employee experience starts from the pre-hiring process through retirement – the entire span of an employee’s employment with an organization. 
  • The mission-critical point of developing an employee experience strategy is treating people as human beings. 
  • The core facets of an employee experience strategy that need to be addressed are: 
    • The structure of the organization;
    • The communities the organization helps build;
    • The technology the organization uses;
    • The leadership of the organization;
    • Providing a sense of belonging to employees.


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Why Positive Employee Experience Is Critical For Employers

  • Employee experience has had decades of intensive research. This research has shown that profitability, customer satisfaction, innovation, and productivity increase when you focus on employee experience.
    • This research has also shown that the effects of a good employee experience strategy can be seen regardless of the organization’s sector or individual job role. 
  • Mr. Whitter states that “it’s easy to spot organizations that go wrong” regarding poor employee experiences. 
    • Telltale signs that an employee experience is being undervalued are: 
      • if there is a wave of individuals leaving;
      • If there are extensive complaints; and 
      • If people are protesting their treatment at the organization. 
    • More subtle signs of poor employee experience include: 
      • Low engagement scores; 
      • Low survey satisfaction ratings; and 
      • Employees reporting a negative experience at work. 
    • It’s important not to wait for signs of a negative employee experience to develop a positive one. 
  • No company is immune from poor employee experience, regardless of their years in business. 
  • It’s up to each company to develop an employee experience strategy to reflect society’s larger expectations for employment. Companies that don’t keep up will suffer. 
  • “If we keep pace with the trends and the research in employee expectations, we can continually evolve the experience that we deliver and co-create with our employees.” 
  • Mr. Whitter believes that an organization’s leaders dismiss the power of employee experience strategy because it is continually reinforced to do so throughout their careers, such as in MBA programs and other management training programs. 
  • These programs overly focus on the path to profit without examining the employees' role in those organizations. 

Building An Effective Employee Experience Strategy

  • Building an effective employee experience starts with a holistic analysis of what the current employee experience is.
    • This includes analyzing what's going right, what's going wrong, and some of the obstacles and challenges that practitioners and employees are experiencing. 
      • This analysis focuses on identifying the pain and frustration that employees are experiencing daily. 
    • This effort will likely require HR team members, management, and leadership to go to the front-line to see what the employees actually face. 
  • After analyzing what team members are facing, the organization’s leaders will need to start co-creating an employee experience strategy with the employees doing the front-line work. 
    • This is the foundation of a good employee experience strategy.
  • Employees don’t want to be “passengers” of their own employee experience. They want to be involved in curating it, helping design, and give input into it. They have to be involved from the get-go, from day one, as an active partner. 
    • Some options for including employees in employee experience design include sprints, hackathons, experimentation groups, and forums. The key factor is that they have to be interactive. 

Employee Experience Strategy From The Perspective Of Shareholders

  • As shareholders ultimately want to develop profitable businesses that last for as long as they can be sustainable, shareholders want clear returns from an employee experience strategy. 
  • For shareholders, examining corporate purpose can be a helpful tool in developing an employee experience strategy. 
  • It is easier to create good employee experiences when things are going well. However, in a crisis, this effort can slip. 
    • Economic pressures, larger societal issues, or geopolitics can revert an organization with a defined employee experience strategy to an autocratic command and control structure. 
  • Leaders within the organization need to talk to shareholders about how a healthy business is delivered by healthy employees, who are a big part of that profit equation.

Common Mistakes Companies Make About Employee Experience Strategy

  • Misalignment and a lack of accountability are common mistakes surrounding the development of an employee experience strategy. 
  • To combat this tendency, organizations should: 
    • Get alignment from all levels of leadership across the organization for employee experiences. 
    • Cultivate accountability and measure performance. 
      • Individuals across the organization should examine the employee journey to provide superior employee services for the workforce. 
      • The key stakeholders responsible for the employee journey should have their performance measured against the strategy's objectives and be held accountable for their outcomes. 
  • A common misconception in developing an employee experience strategy is that there has to be an extensive difference between how remote and in-person employees are treated.
  • Instead of focusing on where the worker is officing, the responsible parties should refocus on co-creating employee experiences – regardless of where they are working. 
    • Employers, HR professionals, leadership, and management should focus on the personalization effort of creating an experience that works for the employee. 
    • This shifts the issue from being about the differences in remote versus in-person employees to the true question of what’s right for the individual. 

Continuing The Conversation About Employee Experience

Ben Whitter Background 


Ben Whitter email: ben@worldeeinstitute.com

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