Your employees play a major role in advancing your company's mission. When they're engaged, they work towards the right goals, communicate effectively, and contribute to a positive work environment.

Employee experience (EX) trends and standards continue to evolve as more HR leaders discover the value of happy employees. But reaching the employee experience pinnacle means thinking beyond snacks in the office and including deeper management practices that help employees feel valued.

Providing simple things like flexible working hours and a good work-life balance strengthens employee satisfaction. And naturally, that improves performance, employee retention, and the company's success.

The rippling effect of a positive employee experience is now the primary focus of employers in today's workplace. So what can you do to keep your team happy and motivated? Read on to learn more.

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Why should you work on your employee experience strategy?

Teams excel when each player gives it their all. But getting the most out of your team doesn't just fall on your employees. It's crucial to put thought into your employee experience and work towards exceeding their job expectations. Doing so allows you to:

  • Increase retention rates: Employee churn is at an all-time high, with over 37 million Americans quitting their jobs in the last year alone. That means employers need to consistently give employees reason to stay. You can do this by enforcing job security and career progression through positive employee experiences.
  • Boost productivity: Employees who enjoy their job and value their company, coworkers, and managers want to help everyone succeed. Constructive employee experiences increase productivity and efficiency, improving the organization's operations.
  • Improve employee engagement: Engaged teams activate critical thinking skills and creative mindsets, leading them to do their best work. When employees feel engaged at work, they're also more likely to collaborate better and vitalize the company culture.
  • Strengthen brand reputation: Modern consumers weigh your company culture before making a purchase. People trust organizations that value their employees, so your employee experience management will directly influence your company reputation scores.
  • Acquire top talent: During the talent acquisition process, seasoned workers look for a positive workplace culture with flexibility, health benefits, and room for growth. Prioritizing the employee experience will help you acquire experts who will launch your business toward success.

Need more convincing? Read more about how an effective employee experience strategy can help your team succeed. Spoiler: we share 12 concrete EX strategy examples you won't want to miss.

The 11 key pillars of employee experience

Providing an excellent employee experience means meeting and exceeding employee expectations. Keep reading to learn about the eleven pillars you should incorporate into your employee experience strategy.

1. Office space

Employees need a physical environment that enables productivity, comfort, and collaboration. To achieve this physical space, you need to provide your team the following:

  • All necessary tools and resources: Employees should have access to everything they need to complete their job, including tech tools, managerial support, and more.
  • Public collaboration spaces: Your diverse workforce will deliver the best results when unified. Collaboration spaces, like meeting rooms or digital chat tools, allow employees to work in harmony, which improves engagement.
  • Private focus areas: Employees also need private areas for downtime and focus. Providing a fair balance between collaborative and independent work allows employees to excel.
  • Comfortable break spaces: When employees spend 40 hours a week in one building, they want to feel comfortable and happy to be there. You don't need to exhaust the company budget on a cutting-edge breakroom, but providing access to healthy snacks, comfortable seating, informal spaces, dedicated exercise areas, and even showers can help employees feel more relaxed and at ease in the office.

Don't forget the home office

The above tips apply to remote employees as well. You should nourish at-home teams with the same tools and opportunities for optimal engagement and remote team collaboration.

Pro tip: If your team is largely remote, you should consider allocating each employee a special budget for their home office tech and furniture needs.

2. Company values and culture

All humans want to feel valued, especially in the work they do. Be sure to build your organizational culture on employee-focused ethics and values — always prioritizing respect and integrity.

A distinguished company culture recognizes employee value and acts on it. For example, if you want to prioritize diversity, implement new hiring protocols, rethink your perks to fit everyone's needs, and organize safe space trainings with your HR team.

👀 Have you read our first ever magazine? We dig deep into workplace culture, how it's created (and by who), and how to rethink it in the new year.

3. Recognition

Recognition is the number one managerial response employees seek. Positive recognition throughout the employee journey empowers hard work, personal growth, and satisfaction. That means recognition should never be a one and done situation.

Getting your managers and employees to recognize each other doesn't have to be a big feat. The key is to empower them with processes and tools that facilitate and guide them through the art of giving recognition. A tool like Good Vibes, for example, features prompts that inspire people to highlight their teammates' positive efforts and brilliant moments.

Use our tips on improving workplace recognition to ensure that no hard work goes unnoticed.

4. Empowerment and autonomy

Each member of your team has unique backgrounds, training, and value that shapes their ways of thinking and working. Empowering employees to speak up, take charge, and voice their opinions helps them understand their contribution within the organization. And ultimately, leads to better employee engagement.

Part of this empowerment is learning to master employee autonomy at all levels, which is especially important in remote contexts. When managers trust employees to take control of their everyday work, employees tend to feel more respected and valued. So if you want to build a high-performing team, don't forget to embed empowerment and autonomy within your employee experience.

5. Communication

Communication inspires engagement and collaboration. When peers and managers check in on each other, brainstorm and ideate, and talk through challenges together, they develop mutual trust and respect. What's more, they'll also align better on goals and work together towards a common purpose.

Communication can come in many forms:

  • Meaningful feedback
  • Expectation alignments
  • Listening skills
  • Task context
  • Regular check-ins
  • Team meetings
  • One-on-one meetings
  • Digital communication tools

Do your team members communicate well with each other? Sometimes employees just need a nudge in the right direction. Help them connect and collaborate better with these 13 tips to improve communication at work.

6. Employee feedback

Great employee feedback is the backbone of a happy and high-performing workforce. It helps employees work towards excellence, while also giving them a voice to help drive the company forward. And in trying times, it can be the difference between a struggling organization and one that is thriving.

A successful feedback loop consists of two main parts:

  • Giving feedback: Constructive feedback doesn't just tell employees how to improve. It shows them their manager values them and cares about their growth at the company (and in their career in general).
  • Taking feedback: Gathering feedback allows you to understand what your employees desire from their roles, manager, or the company. For example, you may discover that most of your employees want more one-on-one meetings. You can even use feedback from employee experience survey questions to shape your entire employee experience program.

Want to give your organization a competitive edge? Focus on creating a solid employee feedback system so you can continuously enhance your employee experience.

7. Alignment with company goals

A train cannot run without tracks, and your team is only as successful as the goals you point them toward. An aligned team focused on a specific, achievable, and measurable goal works harder to see results. Team alignment should include the following:

  • Crystal clear goals
  • Understanding and audit of the resources needed
  • Transparent communication
  • Consistent check-ins
  • Progression tools to keep everyone on track

8. Well-being programs

Working 40 hours a week — or more for many people — while balancing other aspects of life can be tough and even exhausting. Employees "burn out" when they don't get the chance to prioritize their mental health and emotional well-being. Now more than ever, they're choosing to take charge of this prioritization, and expectations for well-being at work are on the rise.

"The long-term success of many organizations may depend on whether they can rise to the challenge of addressing workforce well-being, given that 57% of employees said they may soon quit for a more supportive job."

Deloitte & Workplace Intelligence study

It's clear then that companies can no longer put well-being programs on the back burner. But how can you address it when well-being means different things to different people? A great place to start is by using an employee wellness survey. Such polls help you understand how your team feels and give you the data to back up your wellness efforts.

9. Flexibility and work-life balance

Like the point above, every employee has different needs when it comes to flexibility and work-life balance. Some employees have young children, some are studying on the side, and others may simply love recharging with social or sportive activities on the daily.

As more businesses move online, more employees embrace remote and hybrid work. Letting employees work in their most comfortable environments and at their own rhythm leads to work-life flexibility and satisfaction.

💡Julie Jeannotte, Officevibe's in-house HR Researcher and Employee Experience Expert, shares her take on work-life balance for managers and what it looks like in today's environment.

10. Resources and technology

Technology should make employees' lives easier. Equipping teams with the knowledge, tools, and tech they need to do the job efficiently improves their day-to-day satisfaction and engagement. Introducing technology advancements, access to external support whenever needed, and adequate software licenses into your workplace can also boost productivity and streamline the employee experience.

11. Training and career development

If you want employees to stay, you have to help them grow. From nourishing soft skills and building knowledge and expertise, to providing on-the-job training, you can bridge gaps in your workforce's needs while establishing recognition and loyalty.

Creating development programs can also help employees think about their future at your company, while helping managers support them throughout their growth. Setting one-on-ones dedicated to the career development talk is a great way to get the conversation going.

Start improving your employee experience

Improving your employee experience can seem overwhelming when you don't know where to start. Thinking about the pillars above and adjusting the status quo accordingly will guide you and your team in the right direction. By gathering insights through employee surveys, feedback systems, and one-on-one meetings, you can uncover the best ways to exceed employee expectations.

If you need help along the way, employee experience platforms like Officevibe, take the guesswork out of collecting feedback, measuring employee engagement, and sharing recognition.

Equip HR and managers with tools to engage, recognize, and drive performance.