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Employee Engagement Employee Experience

What Is Employee Experience? 12 Ways to Build an EX Advantage

April 25, 2024
11 min read

Designing the Employee Experience: The Ultimate Guide

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This article on the employee experience was originally published in March 2021 and updated in April 2024 with new information.

Today, top-notch talent won’t accept job offers, let alone submit applications, just anywhere. People want to work at organizations where the company culture resonates with them and their overall well-being is taken into consideration. They consider the kind of employee experience (EX) they can expect before throwing their hats in the ring —how they’d be treated and the kinds of opportunities they would have.

69% of job seekers say what they want most is a stable role with an employer who considers their needs as people, not just as workers. Career development makes the priority list, too, and workers are switching jobs to find the perfect fit. 51% of employees say they’re thinking about starting their job search this year.

Did you know 51% of employees want to quit this year? Reducing turnover starts with improving the employee experience.💡💼 Get 12+ strategies that make employees want to stick around:

These trends point to a simple truth: people are choosier about where they work. In today’s tight labor market, they can afford to be. Job growth has been stronger than expected in 2024, and unemployment is low, leading to stiff competition for skilled workers. It’s no surprise that employee retention is also a concern, with 33% of hiring managers in the U.S. expecting turnover to increase.

With the excess of open positions, the lack of qualified candidates, and the need to retain their workforce, human resources teams are sharpening their focus on the employee experience (EX). When employees have a positive workplace experience, their work performance improves in every way. They’re more productive, and they accomplish higher-quality work.

An employee experience strategy can help you attract, retain, and even grow your workforce in any labor market conditions. First, we’ll explore the meaning of EX and its impact on the employee journey. Then, we’ll share 12 strategies to improve EX —and give you access to 11 more.

Defining Employee Experience

The employee experience is made up of all the interactions an employee has with your company. That includes experiences throughout the employee lifecycle and beyond, from the moment they click on your job post as a potential applicant to after they leave your organization. It can even be impacted by their perception of your company before they thought about applying and how they feel about it after leaving. Each person’s experiences with their roles, managers, work environment, and well-being also affect EX.

Download ClearCompany’s Employee Experience Guide for more on the
importance of EX, plus 23 strategies to improve it.

The employee experience can be explained as how a person would describe each stage of their journey working for your company and their impressions of their colleagues. For example, if an employee feels your hiring process was long and complex and their manager is unhelpful or overly critical, their EX is negative and puts them at risk of disengagement or resignation.

A positive EX and a strong EX strategy is supported by the pillars of:

  • Trust
  • Credibility
  • Respect
  • Fairness
  • Camaraderie
  • Employee pride

69% of companies are making these values intrinsic to their EX and building a culture where employees feel comfortable being themselves at work. That leads to a thriving workforce and increased employee satisfaction.

The Role of EX in Talent Management

We spend a good portion of our lives at work, and our jobs profoundly impact our well-being personally and professionally. That became apparent during the pandemic as companies navigated talent management during unprecedented times. Whether their employers stepped up or fell short, their actions were a wake-up call for employees. Many reevaluated their relationships with work and their expectations for the employee experience.

So, in just a few years, the workplace evolved quickly, and with it, the ideal EX.

Today’s top talent is considering more than just the salary when weighing job offers. They want to work in a role where they can find purpose and fulfillment and, above all, are treated with respect. They’re looking for an environment where their well-being and growth are supported, and their opinions are heard and carry weight.

But unfortunately, 83% of companies say EX levels are low and negatively impacting business. That’s no doubt why improving employee experience is such a big priority, with 70% of HR leaders putting it at the top of their lists this year.

Let’s look at how your employee experience framework impacts every part of talent management and every stage of the employee journey.

70% of CHROs say employee experience improvements are their top priority right now. Discover 12+ strategies for creating a supportive, engaging work environment that drives success. 🌱➡️🏆


A great employee experience should start long before offer letters are signed. Your recruitment materials should give potential candidates a peek into EX to attract people who are likely to thrive at your company. Your candidate experience should emulate the EX, meaning candidates should be treated with the same respect and fairness as you treat employees.

If a candidate has a poor experience applying for a job at your organization, the news will likely spread because let’s face it — bad news spreads quickly. On top of that, 60% of candidates today report researching employers across a wide array of review sites for at least an hour before they submit an application.

An excellent candidate experience, on the other hand, can cultivate a brand ambassador for life. The fact is that most applicants won’t be hired when they first apply, but that doesn’t mean they’ll never be hired for any role. There’s also a chance they could be connected with other candidates who are the perfect fit for your company. Whether they start as eager new hires or are added to your talent pipeline, a great candidate experience is the first step for a great EX.


The onboarding experience doesn’t always receive the same attention as other stages of the employee lifecycle, but it’s just as important as any. New hire turnover is high —as much as 20% in the first 45 days. Employees say role responsibilities that didn’t match their expectations and incompatibility with company culture are top factors in quitting a new job.

Set off an excellent EX with a standardized employee onboarding process that lasts at least 90 days. Onboarding should include goal-setting, manager check-ins, and meetings with new team members and colleagues. This valuable time sets new hires up for a long, successful career at your company.

Performance and Productivity

There’s a strong correlation between good employee experience and better performance and productivity. 94% of employee and customer experience decision-makers say improving EX directly impacts net profits. That’s because your people aren’t worried about whether they can be themselves at work or if they’ll have the support they need from their managers to complete projects. Their environment allows them to focus on their work and do their best.

Years of research support the relationship between positive EX and employee performance. Organizations that prioritize a positive employee experience have far lower absenteeism rates. When employees are highly motivated to perform in their roles, companies see 23% greater profitability.


EX impacts how your employees feel when they’re at work. If they’re unhappy at work, they’re unable to do their best and could be either quiet quitting or totally disengaged. Disengaged employees cost you in profit and productivity —and there are more of them than ever. U.S. engagement rates recently dropped to 30%, and the number of actively disengaged employees rose to 17%.

Prioritizing employee engagement can help your company beat these trends and improve EX. Here are a few ways to improve engagement:

  • Get employee feedback and act on it. Employee experience surveys are great, but only if your company uses the information you receive. Ask what employees need that they’re not getting and use their knowledge to build a better EX.
  • Celebrate their milestones and recognize their accomplishments. Regular recognition makes employees feel appreciated and valued, increasing engagement and contributing to a positive EX.
  • Support their professional development. Access to these opportunities motivates your people, equips your company with in-demand skills, and improves retention.


According to research from McKinsey, improving EX is the best way to solve retention issues. When your people have a good work-life balance, are treated fairly, and feel like they matter, you create a great employee experience and the conditions for a long-term tenure. That’s especially important today, as many people are looking for new roles or becoming disengaged in their current positions.

Those factors, combined with the high cost of turnover and the ongoing competition in the labor market, make retention an even more attractive strategy. Investing in the employee experience to increase retention is more economical than hiring new people, and the results of great EX have a direct impact on business success.

12 Strategies for Improving the Employee Experience

Looking for ways to improve EX? Start here, then download our Employee Experience Guide for more.

1. Be flexible.

Workplace flexibility is one of the best ways to attract and retain employees today. 72% of Gen Z and 69% of Millennial employees say they’ve left or thought about leaving a job because of a lack of flexibility.

Offer your employees flexibility where possible, whether in work location or hours. If your employees can’t do their jobs remotely, flex schedules, like four-day workweeks or alternating shifts, can help you meet employees’ needs.

2. Facilitate work-life balance.

In addition to flexible schedules or workplaces, encourage employees to unplug after hours and on vacations and take regular breaks during the workday. This is especially important given the high rates of employee burnout today —82% are at risk of burnout this year.

3. Enforce safety standards and protocol.

Many employees work in potentially dangerous environments, like manufacturing plants or construction jobsites. Create a culture of safety by holding everyone accountable for following safety procedures, like wearing the proper PPE.

4. Adopt digital tools and workflows.

Technology solutions can help streamline processes and take tedious manual tasks off employees’ plates. For example, if your recruiters are manually coordinating and scheduling every interview, look for a digital tool that allows candidates to schedule their own interviews based on the hiring team’s schedule.

5. Establish a strong employer brand.

Your employer brand should accurately reflect your company culture to anyone outside it — prospective candidates, their friends and family, your talent pipeline, and even former employees. You don’t want your career site to make promises about monthly team outings and growth opportunities that don’t materialize after an employee is hired.

6. Send employee surveys on culture-related topics.

Having their voices heard is a key component of an engaged workforce. With employee engagement software, you can send surveys on a variety of topics and get their opinions on anything from your remote work policies to their overall job satisfaction. You can also build your own custom surveys if you want to get really specific.

Kick off employee experience surveys with ClearCompany survey templates. Download yours here.

7. Start a mentorship program.

Pair your incoming new hires with a more experienced employee outside their department. This serves a dual purpose of helping them form relationships with their colleagues and giving them a valuable resource — someone who can answer their questions and give them context for how your company operates and why.

8. Implement a digital onboarding process.

Whether your people work remotely or in person, implement digital onboarding. It’s not only easier for HR to manage, but it also helps build employee engagement before they even start. Simplify paperwork, create robust employee records, and start building trust with your new hires right away with a digital onboarding process.

9. Recognize outstanding efforts and achievements.

Employee recognition is one of the best tools available for motivating your people and increasing engagement. This can be as simple as thanking an employee privately or during a team meeting, or it could involve giving rewards like bonuses or extra PTO.

10. Use talent management software.

Support a holistic employee experience strategy with a talent management system. With all your people management tools and data combined in one place, your HR team will save time and gain insight. When you unite every part of the employee lifecycle in one platform, you can much more easily make connections and spot patterns that impact EX, leading to better talent management strategies.

11. Leverage automation and artificial intelligence (AI) tools.

Automation and AI streamline HR workflows, reduce administrative burden, and free up time your team can use to focus on strategic initiatives and employee support programs. For example, when you automate survey cycles, you eliminate the need for someone on your team to queue up each round of surveys, send them out, and notify participants when the survey is about to close.

12. Conduct regular formal performance reviews.

Don’t leave your employees in the dark about how they’re doing or their goal progress. Regular reviews provide records of performance that can help employees advocate for promotions, identify what they’re best at, and improve their weaknesses.

Your Guide to Designing the Employee Experience

When it comes to recruiting and retaining A-players, creating a strong and positive employee experience matters. An employee’s experience at your organization culminates in all parts of their workplace experience. From initial outreach to the exit interview, all aspects of your process need to support a positive and inclusive experience.

The bottom line is that investing in your employee experience can help you see increases in the quality of your employees’ work, the level of talent you recruit, and your retention rate.

Consider all aspects of the employee experience and create a strategy that keeps your people around for the long term with ClearCompany’s Employee Experience Guide. Download the EX Guide to find:

  • More information about the importance of employee experience
  • A guide to evaluating your EX
  • 11 additional strategies for improving EX

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