What Is Employee Experience (EX)?

While customer experience gets a lot of attention for most enterprises, a crucial segment is often overlooked.

Every organization needs employees. But there is little focus on employee experience. In recent times, in many industries, attracting the right people is as difficult as creating engaging customer experiences. It is a competitive landscape. With the pandemic bringing about radical changes to how a lot of people want to live and work. This is challenging for companies. As recruitment processes can be slow to adapt to these changes.

So what is employee experience (EX)? And how can you use strong EX practices to make sure you hire the right people and keep your staff happy.

what is employee experience - Two people shaking hands in an office setting.
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What Is Employee Experience (EX)?

For an organization, EX starts from the time a potential recruit sees your job advertisement or content related to your company. It then runs all the way through from interviews, onboarding, training and assessment right up to an exit interview. If that recruit then decides to leave your company.

Although EX is different from CX (customer experience), it also shares a lot of similarities. The core principles of CX are transferable to EX. People now want more personalized, bespoke experiences at work. They want to tailor their career path. So creating those experiences will help your business to keep and attract top talent in your industry.

Businesses tend to think of their people as different to consumers, they are not. People are looking for jobs in the same way as they shop. So it is no surprise that they carry expectations from consumer-focused digital experiences to employment-focused digital experiences.

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The Five Stages Of Employee Experience

The employee experience lifecycle works in a similar way to the typical CX customer journey funnel. Though only the first two stages are transferable, after “onboarding” EX moves away from what we think of when we look at holistic CX.

Here are the core five stages of EX.

Awareness & Recruitment

This stage runs from where a potential recruit sees an ad or job listing, investigates your website and applies for a job. The potential recruit will interact with your brand on a number of different channels both before, and after, submitting an application.

Any interviews will form part of this stage of the EX funnel. It is important to note that any rejection should be handled with care. People can leave negative reviews of your organization in the same way they would with a negative purchasing experience. So make sure you talk to the recruit as you would a customer at this stage.


Once the candidate has passed interviews, this is where their full employee experience will begin.

Again, some practices from CX may be applicable here. Employee onboarding should be simple, quick and focus on the essentials. In the same way a new app may try to onboard new customers.

Some industries will need a long onboarding phase for legal or safety reasons. But employees should still receive support from HR teams during this process. To make sure they do not feel overwhelmed.


Depending on the industry you operate in, training can be very complex. But you can still improve EX here, by creating more personalized training materials.

The technology and tools at our disposal now means that we can create training personalized packages for different roles, and recruit demographics. For many recruits this would change the training process and make it much more engaging.  


At this stage the recruit has become a full member of your team. That means they evaluated according to whatever processes you have in place in your organization. 

But, again, EX optimization can improve this process. With the right data you can create personalized improvement plans for staff. You could then use that data during salary reviews. You can also personalize the review/assessment process to make it less scary. Though this depends on the industry you operate in (for more on organizational culture check out https://medium.com/workmatters). 

But if you have legal/safety considerations, you will have less room to experiment.


People move on and the exit phase is a vital part of your employee experience. It is important to make this phase as easy as possible. This helps your team member who is moving on but also helps your organization. Word of mouth is as important in employment as it is in commerce. If your team member leaves with a sour impression of your company they will tell other people. So do not let that happen.

Former employees can be your best brand representatives, so make the exit phase of the EX lifecycle as smooth as possible.

People working in an office.
Photo by Israel Andrade on Unsplash

Why Employee Experience Is Important

There are very tangible benefits for organizations who want to focus on improving their EX. For starters, replacing staff is expensive. It’s estimated that U.S. firms spend from 16% to 21% of a workers salary on turnover expenses. The more skilled the worker, the more expensive it is to replace them.

Here are some other reasons to focus on employee experience:


A study by the University of Oxford found that happy employees are more productive. 13% more productive in fact.

Talent Acquisition & Retention

Better EX helps your organization to both attract, and retain, top talent. According to flexjobs the number one reason people quit their jobs is “toxic company culture”. Better EX will help you to avoid this trap.


According to Kornferry, “82% of the world’s most admired companies have a people strategy that has been approved by the Board, and organizations that prioritize their employee experience are four times more profitable”. If you look at the names at the very top of the employee experience index, you can see having happy people helps the bottom line. Similar to how investing in CX can help your business beat tough market conditions.

Another office with staff working at desks.
Photo by Israel Andrade on Unsplash

How You Can Improve Your Employee Experience

So where do you start with you EX optimization efforts? How can you begin to improve your employee experience?

It is a long process, but the good news is that you may already have some insights to get you started.

Use Operational Data & Talk To Your Staff

You will hold a lot of first-party operational data on your employees. From the second they send in their resume they provide you with personal data. You know their training. You will know their salary history and how old they are. If you had access to customer data like this it would be worth a fortune!

So combine the insights you already have by talking to your employees. Ask employees to tell you about their employee experience. They can tell you why things happen in your company and what you can improve. Use these employee insights with your operational data to create better experiences for your employees.

For example you might spend some money on perks. Employees can tell you if they even like those perks or if there are perks they would rather have. Like better dental coverage, for example. Maybe your budget would be better spent on different types of staff benefits.

Operational and insight data can help you to build true, personalized employee experiences.

Leadership Buy-in

Business leaders deal in hard facts. Get buy-in from them by selling the benefits of better EX. If you can increase productivity by 13%, C-suite will listen.

Survey Your Employees…But Not Too Much

You must talk to ALL your employees. But do not badger them with questions every single day. Staff will appreciate the effort but people will not respond to constant requests. Craft single questions you can ask every other day that will give you an insight into your  employee experience. Needless to say you should talk to everyone, otherwise you will not get a true picture of what is going on.

Contact us via hello@maqe.com.

Talk to MAQE

Need help improving your employee experience? Talk to MAQE via [email protected]. MAQE is an experience focused company. We have been creating commerce experiences for a decade. We also believe in people. So we can help you to make the most of the data you have to improve your organization and make it a better place to work.