What is Employee Experience and Does it Differ From Employee Engagement?

Life is two sides of a coin. Likewise, we would understand what employee experience is by identifying what it is not.

Employee experience is not the same as employee engagement.

  • – It is not a compensation package with a variety of attractive options for the workers;
  • – It is not an open space plan floor;
  • – It is not an enticing perk such as a flexible work policy;
  • – It is none of those above, yet it may include all of them.

What then is Employee Experience?  Employee Experience, also shortened as EX, is an emerging corporate function that focuses on tracking how workers feel and think throughout the touchpoints of their stay in the company. Employee experience became prominent as a direct response to a similar function of customer experience(CX).

CX is presently the most advanced means of knowing an organization’s clients. Using recent analytical approaches like audience segmentation and journey mapping, enterprises aspire to pinpoint and optimize the base client experience carefully. Customer experience’s impact is so crucial that 89% of corporate organizations presently compete in the marketplace based on differentiated client experience.

Meanwhile, people managers have started considering why this same technique is not being applied to the client experience. An adage that says, ‘Happy employees, Happy customers” totally buttressed this. Employee experience is becoming popular and widely adopted by innovative and people-centric organizations. The change was facilitated by the need for enterprises to work beyond the scope of conventional Human Resources role to achieve their objectives. For this to happen, companies would need to appeal to the physical, emotional, intellectual, and aspirational needs and wants of their employees.

Which of the Employee Experiences is the Most Significant?

Anyone who tries to answer this question will quickly say,” all EXs matter.” Well, they might not be wrong, but it is also not feasible and desirable to improve every bit of employee experience in the workplace.

To do justice to the question of which experience is the most significant, we would need to build on the title of this article,” What is Employee Experience?”

Employee Experience is the connection an enterprise creates with the employees. To be specific, it is the resultant effect of different spaces, processes, and channels businesses employed to communicate how they value and prioritize their workforces.

This relationship is an outcome of the establishment of three fundamental domains:

1. The Procedural Employee Experience

2. The Textural Employee Experience

3. The Emotional Employee Experience

Procedural Employee Experience

This is the experience of the actual tasks performed. It includes how the assignment is designed, as well as the system structures and processes workers engage to accomplish their roles and responsibilities.

Businesses have invested resources in improving this aspect of Employee ExperienceOpens in a new tab. of the three domains. This dated back to when Henry Ford invented the assembly line to the production process of the Model T. Ford changed the method for building his flagship car, saving workers energy and minimizing assembly duration from 12 hours to only 90 minutes. A process that used to be exhausting and time-consuming became faster, monotonous, and safer all through the night.

Businesses have not stopped to find procedural improvement from that time; now, they utilize processes such as Customer Relationship Management Tool and Human Resource Information Systems to achieve similar gains, though with minute profits.

Procedural EXs fashioned with intent and purpose will combine improving how workers relate with the systems and processes employed daily.

The deliberate design of the Procedural EX will factor in ease of engagement, task completion speed, and how easily an employee can switch from one system to the other.

Textural Employee Experience

This domain focuses on the texture of the workplace. It examines the figurative and literal places where work is being done. Author Jacob Morgan in The Employee Experience AdvantageOpens in a new tab. dissected his definition of Employee Experience into three primary environments: physical, cultural, as well as the technological environment. These environments are viewed as their respective ” places of work,” and a microcosm of what provides our experiences with a unique texture. Read more on How Office Design influences Creativity.Opens in a new tab.

The Physical environment includes how the organization physically organize their workspaces. The design and layout of everything from cubicles to the shared collaboration spaces to open floor structured offices all affect employee’s efficiency to accomplish their work. Read more on other  25 Factors that affect Workers Productivity.Opens in a new tab.

The technology environs all about the technology provided by companies for employees to carry out their given responsibility. The utility is a fundamental concern in this regard. For any tool or program, a worker utilizes, examine its usefulness, accessibility, flexibility, and its intrusiveness.

The cultural environment is entirely about corporate culture. Culture is usually defined as ” how things are done around here.” Concerning the Textural EX, culture is an outcome of those shared practices. These norms, values, traditions, and beliefs all produce an environment of collaboration that inspires employees to go beyond the limit.

The environments, as well as, the experiences provided by an organization should enhance employee’s work and empower them to remain relevant in a fast-changing, highly competitive global economy. What works at an organization may not produce a result in another company. The most important thing is workers feel each environment provides something intrinsically beneficial to their work requirements.

Emotional Employee Experience

Emotional EX has to do with how workers think about the company. It is also about how they relate with colleagues and leaders and how they perceive and navigate their workplace.

The Emotional EX is not only about the feelings and encounters of a single employee. It includes how employees feel and think daily weekly, monthly, or even their overall experience in the work environment. Employees would necessarily not hide those feelings. Instead, they share them with their peers and, together, create collaborative perceptions about what it feels to work at the organization.

This is crucial because the sums of our experiences are formed ultimately by our feelings. They are pointers to our conclusion, indicating whether our encounter was “good’ or ‘bad.” In this regard, the Emotional EX would be considered as the most significant of the three domains. If you run a business where workers usually have negative feelings and emotions about their experiences, chances are your Employee Experience approach is not productive.

Employee Engagement’s boundaries assist in understanding Employee Experience.

How does employee engagement comes into the context here as we already established that they are not the same?  A lot of research showed that engagement is a major differentiating factor when it comes to how workers deliver the client experience. We already wrote extensively on What is Employee Engagement?Opens in a new tab.

The Temkin group discovered in 2016 that businesses establishing client experiences had one and a half times more engaged workers compared to those who did not. Thus, to generate the results, can engagement be isolated from employee experience? What is Employee Experience in the context of Employee Engagement?

Corporate executives are discussing employee engagement as it is recent in a long list of labels utilized to explain employee performance and motivation.

What is Employee Experience? The timeline below shows how businesses have arrived at EX, looking at what efficiency is in the 19th century, and switching to engagement in the late 20th century. Here are lessons from the 10 Best Highly Engaged Companies.Opens in a new tab.

During the early 20th century, a product-focused and modern period, the goal was about making workers more efficient at producing goods and rendering services. The focus shifted to terms such as satisfaction, morale, and commitment as a more people-centric concept of labor emerged throughout the late 20th century. Funnily, most of the metrics are being utilized now in some way, indicating their importance has not faded away.

As we attained the concept of ’employee engagement’ in the 21st century, the significant difference is that the emotions and well-being of the employees affect their ability to function at their best.

Meanwhile, employee engagement is a crucial KPI and metric for a lot of HR practitioners and other corporate executives. It is rarely measured without the clear mandate that its proponents are responsible for raising and keeping the scores high.


We lose the emotional part of employee engagement when we pursue raising those scores. Corporate executives usually utilize perks such as a new floor design, free meal, and flexible work style to boost scores temporarily.

Those values are not less beneficial, but they are limited in their initial intention for the workers and the organization. The challenge emanates from implementing those perks as quick-fixes in an outdated corporate system, instead of looking at how those perks can establish a collaborative, employee-centric experience. This is where engagement differs from experience.

Employee engagement-the commitment of employees to your organization and their functions is the end objective while employee experience is the means to the end.

Do you want engaged employees? Then create an outstanding employee experience to achieve it. Engaged employees don’t come from an exclusively negative environment.

The feelings and memories employees have about their experiences are lifelong. It defines your company’s legacy. Would you want them to have a positive or negative experience?

Related Questions

How does Employee Experience differ from Employee Engagement?  Employee experience (EX) is the way of feeling and thinking while employee engagement is the goal you aspires to achieve by producing a positive EX.

Which of the Employee Domains is the most important?  Emotional EX is the most crucial because when workers have negative feelings about their experiences, chances are your EX approach is not productive.

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