A Model for Employee Experience

I have been working in the area of employee experience for a little short of three years. Definitions will tell you employee experience is every touch point from before a potential candidate starts with your organisation and their experience long after they finish. If you are tasked however with building an employee experience function, where do you start?

Decipher Patterns and Identify Priorities

There are three components to the employee experience; the physical environment, the technical and the interpersonal. Your first task has to be listening to employee voice. What is your framework for listening? Are you doing surveys, focus groups and one to one’s? It probably requires a combination of all three. What are people talking about? It may be a process that keeps coming up in conversation. It may be a person and their leadership style or perhaps a distinct lack of connection. Your job in all that listening is to decipher patterns and identify priorities. Different organisations will have different needs. For some it will be recruitment challenges, others workload, others retention of early career talent. What is the problem you are trying to solve? Choose a couple to focus on first, you can’t fix everything. In a way employee experience is never done because there is always something else to improve but I have learned to be satisfied with seeking progress not perfection.

The Most Impact

Next, consider what is your skillset where you can add the most value? For some people in employee experience, it might be the technical and applying lean processes for others it might be your energy in driving engagement and connection. We bring our personalities and whole selves into a personal role such as employee experience. For me, my focus is the interpersonal environment and the value I can add through my coaching skillset. Areas like developing coaching capabilities of management and leadership to enable better conversations within the organisation. This has an overall effect on climate and culture, can unlock the potential of employees, identify roadblocks and create a more agile environment. Equally my interest in sustainable people practices can create new opportunities such as progressive work practices or CSR activities which have many tangible and intangible benefits particularly in improved wellbeing.

Keep Iterating

Some days you may feel like you are in a maze and getting nowhere. On those days I find it helpful to refocus on the core goals, look at what you have done and keep building on that. Most likely the first attempt wasn’t the best but take what you know now and try one step better. If you have run your first event and it didn’t go according to plan, build on what you learned about what people like or don’t and keep iterating.


Metrics in EX can be tricky because they are usually intertwined with other so many other aspects of a business it can be hard to identify where there was direct impact. Of course, the North Star are the overall metrics for the organisation in areas such as wellbeing, motivation and productivity but it is helpful to somehow capture where your direct effort turns into impact. I suggest keep getting feedback. Perhaps you have started a new initiative such as a wellbeing programme, you may have some anecdotal feedback that is positive but what do people really value about it, can you add or take away from the programme, what are the items making a real difference?

Climate and Culture

An important distinction lies between organisational climate and culture, climate is about how people feel about their employee experience and culture is the way things are done. Both can be impacted simultaneously. The climate might be more intangible because it is how people feel. A great marker I have found is when people return from a career break such as maternity leave and they can feel the difference between before and after. We’re emotional beings after all.

Holistic Lens

Employee Experience is a specialist field still in its infancy. While most HR roles encompass employee experience, having a person dedicated to this role allows them to not be blinded by broader HR responsibilities and to use a holistic lens to personalise experience, drive engagement ultimately boosting productivity and innovation. If you can facilitate a dedicated person to this great, if not reach out for a consultation at aoife@insidestrategies.ie on how I can craft a bespoke service on an as needed basis for your team.


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