Employee Experience Strategies to Drive Engagement and Retention

Two employees high five each other

The most important employee experience strategies include listening to your employees, taking action based on their feedback, and being transparent about next steps

Good employees leave their employers for a variety of reasons. The most common, according to researchers? The nature of their individual jobs, their workloads, concerns about pay equity, not feeling appreciated, and having limited opportunities for career advancement. 

Before workers turnover, they disengage, and recent data indicates that disengagement is on the rise while engagement is on the decline. The latest findings from Gallup show that only roughly one-third of workers report being actively engaged, another 18% report being actively disengaged, and the other 50% report being neither engaged or disengaged. Per Gallup, some of the same factors that cause employees to quit are driving disengagement, including: declines in opportunities to learn and grow and feeling cared about at work. Other top factors include not having enough clarity around job expectations, connection to the company’s mission or purpose, and chances for employees to do what they do best. 

With circumstances such as these at play, you may be wondering what forces are shaping your own employees’ decisions to leave or become disengaged, and what can be done to intervene before employee disengagement and dissatisfaction become a contagion that affects the wider workforce. 

By listening to your employees, you can not only find out what’s driving their behavior — you can unlock insights into steps your company can take to improve worker sentiment, well-being, and sense of belonging. Gathering employee feedback and taking action based on these insights are two of the most important employee experience strategies any organization can put into place. In fact, Gallup’s report on employee disengagement recommends that the best ways to enhance engagement include asking for feedback, translating this feedback into actionable change, and sharing wins resulting from these changes with employees. 

Ahead, we’ll dive into why these employee experience strategies matter and offer other key employee experiences to put into place to strengthen employee satisfaction, loyalty, and retention, and fuel other key business outcomes, such as customer satisfaction and retention and year-over-year revenue growth. 

Top Employee Experience Strategies

Create a workplace where employees thrive and contribute to your organization’s success using these employee experiences strategies.

#1: Have a clear philosophy

Your employee experience program needs to clearly define the employee experience and its relationship to engagement.

#2: Find executive champions and bring together key stakeholders to support your EX efforts

Gaining buy-in from C-level leaders and cross-functional partners from across IT, operations, facilities, managers, and other employee-facing teams is critical to ensuring success with any employee experience strategy you hope to implement. 

#3: Define your employee experience objectives

Set goals for improving the employee experience, define a strategy for execution, and set up a formal system for tracking your progress. Having objectives will help you choose which questions and information need to be asked and gathered to meet these goals. 

#4: Ensure shared accountability

Companies cannot delegate employee experience to the HR department or HR leaders. It must be a holistic approach with shared responsibilities among senior leaders, managers, and employees.

#5: Foster a supportive culture

Your company’s culture must be grounded in employee-centric values that reinforce your key behaviors, such as collaboration, transparency, safety, alignment, and feedback.

#6: Communicate the purpose of your employee experience surveys and listening efforts

Explain the purpose of collecting information regarding company culture, feelings towards the physical workplace environment, or technology and training. Approach communication with compassion so as to create a safe space where employees can provide clear and honest feedback. And be transparent and proactive about how the feedback will be used, as employees will be less likely to participate if their feedback won’t be used to produce a better work experience. 

#7: Ask the right questions, collect the right insights

Your goal should be to understand how your employees feel about the cultural, physical, and technological environment in your organization. Probe for employee perceptions of:

  • Company culture: How workers feel about the organizational structure, mission, leadership style, compensation, benefits, etc.
  • Physical: How workers feel about their workplace environment, such as office space, desks, chairs, common areas, etc.
  • Technology: How workers feel about the technology they use to do their jobs.

#8: Strive for continuous measurement to understand the real-time employee experience

Companies need to continuously measure and evaluate employee experience using a clear data analytics strategy. Continuously measuring employee experience throughout the employee lifecycle provides the feedback companies need to ensure alignment with goals and objectives.

#9: Gather and analyze employee experience data from across sources

Employee experience measurement does not mean just taking an annual employee survey. You need real-time feedback that makes it easy for companies to optimize performance in the moment.

Use the best employee experience platforms to gather timely feedback from employees, get their suggestions for how to improve the employee and customer experience, and collect and analyze indirect employee insights (such as from employee reviews posted to job websites, performance review data, PTO usage patterns, and internal messaging channels) to detect top themes and topics employees are discussing, measure overall sentiment, assess employees’ levels of belonging and commitment to the organization, and uncover actions that can be taken to optimize the employee experience. 

#10: Take action based on results

This is a crucial step that is often overlooked by leadership. Ensure that your organization is committed to taking action in a timely manner and to implementing changes to enhance your organization’s processes, policies, technology, products, services, and overall workforce experience based on employee feedback and insights. 

The goal: To remove points of friction for employees and customers, all while giving priority to issues that have the biggest impact on employee satisfaction and retention and overall company culture. When action isn’t taken, employees lose trust in the organization.

#11: Be transparent about what actions have been taken and what results that have been achieved

Identify a process for not only measuring feedback, but for reiterating results to employees. Remember, employees are more likely to participate if they know the time and energy they invest into providing honesty will translate into an improved work experience. Be transparent about your findings and what you are actively doing in terms of strategy to rectify concerns. 

Keep everyone within the company in the loop about the top topics and themes employees have discussed when sharing feedback. Provide regular updates about what steps the company is taking as a result of this feedback, using prominent communications channels, such as town hall meetings, the company’s newsletter, or an employee app, to share new information. 

#12: Understand how different team members feel about the employee experience — and optimize experience for segments based on their unique needs

There’s no one single employee experience. How employees feel about coming to work and doing their jobs varies based on their personal experiences — the type of worker they are (desk workers, deskless workers, etc.), the seniority they have, their tenure with the company, and how they identify (by gender, race, age, parental status, etc.). 

#13: Use predictive analytics to gain visibility to your company’s next big challenge

Organizations that regularly collect employee feedback via surveys as well as via other sources of direct feedback and indirect feedback sources can leverage these large scale data sets to create a predictive analytics framework designed to detect signs of employee turnover and alert the right individuals (managers and leaders) to intervene while there’s still time to get an individual employee to stick around and stay engaged and prevent the spread of disengagement and churn. 

The Value of Effective Employee Experience Strategies

As just one example of the power of employee experience management, consider what happened at the Irish retail bank Permanent TSB. When the financial services organization with 2,500 employees and more than 1.1 million customers introduced new employee experience strategies that include gathering employee feedback on a regular basis and implementing over 1,000 positive changes (and counting) based on that feedback, they saw an clear impact: a seven-point increase in employee NPS® and a 65% uplift in customer loyalty among bank branches with more engagement employees. 

Organizations with top-performing employee experience strategies in place have been found to be 1.8X more likely to have high levels of customer satisfaction and retention compared to their underperforming peers while also being more likely to report a 20% year-over-year revenue growth compared to underperforming organizations, according to a study of leading versus lagging employee experience efforts. 

Looking to improve your organization’s employee experience to drive engagement,  retention, and other business outcomes? Meet with a Medallia expert to create a world class employee experience.