Business and HR leaders are acutely aware of the importance of employee experience and the influential effect it has on organizational performance and results. Eighty percent of the HR and business leaders who participated in the Deloitte 2017 Human Capital Trends survey said that employee experience was “important” or “very important” to them. The problem: Only about one in five respondents (22 percent) said their organization was “excellent” at establishing a differentiated employee experience.
The challenge for business and HR leaders is not only closing the gap between awareness and reality but also understanding the entire employee experience, from first contact as a candidate to the last interaction, and even beyond. Together with our Bersin colleagues, we will help meet that challenge with new research aimed at examining the full arc and meaning of employee experience. Our new article, Understanding Employee Experience: An Introduction, introduces a new and evolving definition of employee experience and identifies its main touchpoints and the levers that organizations can pull to enhance them.
Defining Employee Experience
We have begun to define employee experience with a working definition:
The sum total of all the touchpoints an employee has with his / her employer, from the time of being a candidate (active or passive) to becoming an alumnus / alumna.
A burning question is how employee experience differs from employee engagement. They are not the same thing. We speculate employee engagement can be both an outcome of employee experience as well as a driver. For example, when an employee has a memorable onboarding (or learning or internal mobility) experience, it is likely to lead to higher levels of engagement. On the other hand, Gallup reported in 2017 that 51 percent of employees have a foot out the door, suggesting relatively low engagement in a huge segment of employees. These disengaged employees also have an employee experience, and their lack of engagement likely leads to a poorer experience.
While employee experience is highly intertwined with employee engagement, the former seems to take a much broader approach. Employee experience is an emerging field. Our point of view will continue to develop as we begin a global industry study this summer, and collaborate with our consulting colleagues for a wider understanding of the topic across regions and industries.
We’ve begun to shape our thinking by grouping the various interactions between the employee and the employer into a set of touchpoints from the beginning to the end of an employee’s life cycle. Following are the eight touchpoints that start to form a picture of the entire employee experience:
An Evolving Picture of Employee Experience
Source: Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP, 2018.
- Candidate Experience
- Development and Learning
- Performance Management
- Growth and Internal Mobility
- Employees for Life
Underlying these eight touchpoints are four additional ones that affect employee experience throughout the employee life cycle:
- HR Operating Model
- People Analytics
- Physical Environment
The ultimate goal of our upcoming research will be to help you enhance employee experience in your organization, so that your employees won’t be among the half in the U.S. who already have one foot out the door.
If your organization is working on new employee experience initiatives and you’d like to be interviewed as part of our research, please reach out to Madhura Chakrabarti (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Robin Erickson (email@example.com). In addition, be on the lookout for an online survey later this summer.
Bersin members can download and read the full article, Understanding Employee Experience: An Introduction. Bersin members should watch for our continuing articles in this series that takes a deeper look into the many aspects of employee experience today. Not a Bersin member but want to know more? Visit the Bersin website. For more insights into employee experience, please see our blog series, which continues over the coming summer weeks.
 Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2017: Rewriting the rules for the digital age, Deloitte Development LLC and Deloitte University Press, 2017, https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/About-Deloitte/central-europe/ce-global-human-capital-trends.pdf.
 “The Right Culture: Not Just about Employee Satisfaction,” Gallup.com / Jim Harter and Annamarie Mann, April 12, 2017, http://news.gallup.com/businessjournal/208487/right-culture-not-employee-happiness.aspx.