Employee receives employee experience award

Employee Experience and Employee Engagement are two terms that have caused a little upheaval in the HR world, particularly in the last couple of years – but what do they really mean and is there any difference between the two?

Companies like Airbnb are setting the Employee Experience standard by offering an overall holistic experience to retain staff, boost morale and work towards an overall happier workforce.

However, where do we draw the line? Is it all about a ping-pong table here and a casual Friday social there?

How much do we need to give to our employees to get the desired results back?

What’s the difference between Experience and Engagement? It’s all so confusing!


Employee Experience

Employee cooperation
In simple terms, employee experience is the overall experience that an employee encounters from the very moment they interact with the recruitment team, right through to on-boarding, day to day work and the final chapter of potentially exiting a company.

It is not about perks, added occasional bonuses
but more so about empowerment.

It stems to create and form the personal perspective the employee has on their place of work. Not just the job that they do, the people they work for or the building they work in – but the business and company as a holistic entity.

The employee experience is about improving the overall life of their employees, whether through small steps or drastic measures.

It is not about perks, added occasional bonuses but more so about empowerment, autonomy and reward in a holistic sense throughout the workplace, and how a company can achieve that.


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Employee Engagement

Employee engagement teamworkEngagement, on the other hand, is the desired effect of successful employee experience.

This stems from an employee’s psychological involvement in their jobs, their tasks, their interactions both with their own team and with management.

High levels of engagement amongst employees result in proactive, energised and positive involvement in the workplace – which, one could presume, would be the desired profile for any employee.


How to achieve the desired employee experience?

To really know how to improve employee experience, the employer needs to see the company from an employee’s perspective – what is lacking, what is thriving and what could be done to promote a more bottom-up approach to a better, holistic experience for both current and future employees.

Employee engagement technologyTo do this, employers need to really follow a day in the life of their employees.
From the moment they enter the carpark of the establishment – is there enough space for all employees to successfully park their cars and get to work on time without having to compete with their colleagues for a place close by?

While working on a task – do your employees have functioning tools that can assist them to complete the task successfully?

Feedback from management – are employees told when they are doing a good job or are they only spoken to when there is an issue with their performance?

Interaction with other employees – is it encouraged to have a healthy relationship with your work team or are they simply people you tend to sit beside on a daily basis but with no added value to your day?

Engaged employee illustrationThis is to name but a few elements that could be considered when thinking of how an employee views their workplace and how they really feel about going to work each day as well as how they would discuss their employee experience upon exiting a company.


Employee Engagement – Does Employee Experience really improve Employee Engagement?

In short, yes.

Think about the questions we just asked about employee experience.

If you arrive in the carpark at your place of work and you see that every single space is taken, you have to park next door, pay for it and walk a longer distance that you didn’t calculate for while commuting to work. You’re late, you arrive at your desk or work-station and work beside the strangers on the team that surrounds you.

Imagine if you could turn that situation around, create an environment that was welcoming.

You turn on your computer or start-up machinery to find that it is malfunctioning again and you need to send a ticket to IT or the Maintenance department to help fix the problem.

In turn, you are unable to do the work that is asked of you in a timely manner that day and you are below target.

Would you be motivated to turn up to work each day and really put your heart and soul into your performance? In short, no.

Employees on devicesImagine if you could turn that situation around, create an environment that was welcoming, a place where there was enough space for you to get to work in a timely manner, that you operated in a space beside work colleagues that greeted you when you arrived, colleagues that you were encouraged to interact with each day and build a professional bond with.

You turn on your equipment such as a computer and set right into a productive days work without any technical issues.

When all this is added up, you would be much more likely to turn up to work wholeheartedly and be ready to give your all to doing your bit for the company that day.



Engaged, energised and motivated employees come from environments where their experience is truly important to the employer.

When an employee is complaining about an issue they are having that is affecting their daily performance in that company, the issue is heard and either resolved or the employee is enlightened with some transparency as to why they have run into that issue with the company and how both employee and employer can work towards improving it.

It is not as simple as having a couple of perks, a couple of team building experiences and qualified employees – it is holistic.

If we dedicate to improve and change, the desired results will follow.

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