Employee Experience

In an era of workplace upheaval, companies that create tailored, authentic experiences strengthen employee purpose, ignite energy, and elevate organization-wide performance.


From Engagement to Total Experience

The upheaval in working practices created by the pandemic has disrupted the balance of how it is possible to work and the needs and wants of leaders. This has created a disconnect in the expectations of employers and employees, one which is most clearly visible in Return To Office (RTO) mandates.

The traditional approach to employee engagement has come from a top-down perspective, with leadership facilitating benefits and activities that they feel will engage employees across the board. However, this has resulted in a one-size-fits-all strategy, with benefits often underutilised. This may be due to a mismatch with employee needs or simply poor communication of what is available to the workforce.

We believe the future of employee experience must lie in a personalised approach. This journey begins with listening to employees and, crucially, taking action to address feedback and communicating the actions taken.

This approach goes far beyond traditional engagement perks and activities and looks at the totality of the employee experience. When employees feel part of this process and can see their contributions are heard and valued, they become invested in an organisation's future.

The research shows that employees at companies who lead on employee experience (or EX) are more inclined to surpass work expectations, with a 40% higher level of discretionary effort, showing that improving the employee experience can directly impact the bottom line.

82 percent of employees say its important for their org to see them as a person and not just an employee

In 2023, engagement was completely dominated by customer-focused themes, such as employees feeling empowered to develop new and better ways of serving their customers. In 2024, the driving forces behind engagement will look a bit different: meeting career goals, as well as learning and developing, will rise in importance – illuminating the need for organisations to address employees’ ongoing desire for growth. 

Qualtrics, Employee Experience Trends

Defining the Employee Experience

The terms employee engagement and employee experience are closely related, but shifting to prioritise engagement over experience is far more than a change of terminology.

Employee Engagement:

Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organisation and its goals. (Forbes)

Employee Experience:

Employee experience is the result of all the interactions an employee has with their employer. (CIPD)

Employee experience is the way in which employees internalize and interpret the interactions they have with their organization, as well as the context that underlies those interactions. (Gartner)

There are two key differences:

The intention

Employee engagement is focused on a direct business outcome, which may be short-term or piecemeal in nature. In contrast, employee experience takes a more holistic and long-term view of the relationship.

The approach

Employee engagement is often a top-down exercise offering an organisation-wide solution. Employee experience offers a more consultative and personalised approach.   

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“Overall, employee happiness has steadily declined at the rate of 6% since 2020 and is trending in the wrong direction. This year, employee net promoter scores have decreased 9% since January — 10 times faster than the previous three years.”


The Benefits of an Experience-led Approach

Encourage fresh thinking

Prioritising the employee experience creates psychological safety, encouraging employees to speak up when there is an issue and come forward with new ideas. 

Increase engagement & productivity

By listening, responding, and tailoring the employee experience to the individual, you create a highly engaged workforce that is more invested in the future of your business. 

Enhance attraction

Demonstrating thought and care for the employee experience increases your draw for talent. This can be measured by a simple Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) question and by tracking the number of applications that come via personal recommendations.

A standard eNPS question

On a scale from 0-10, how likely are you to recommend this company as a place to work?


Identify cost savings

Listening to your employees (and analysing available use data) allows you to strip out any programmes or benefits that aren’t used or valued by employees, reducing direct costs.

What is Psychological Safety? 

Psychological safety is the belief that you won’t be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. At work, it’s a shared expectation held by team members that teammates will not embarrass, reject, or punish them for sharing ideas, taking risks, or soliciting feedback. (CCL)

How to move from Engagement to Experience

Listen. Respond. Communicate.

Step 1: Listen

Start by collecting anonymous feedback through an annual survey, and where possible, incorporate shorter quarterly pulse surveys. Your annual survey should act as a holistic review, whereas pulse surveys can focus on specific areas.

Your survey should focus on teasing out what’s important to employees and identifying pain points in the organisation. We recommend covering a broad range of topics in your annual survey, including

  • Tools and processes
  • L&D opportunities
  • Benefits
  • Workplace culture
  • Leadership

Most survey software can help you to dive into results by seniority, function and tenure to understand the patterns that play out across different levels of your organisation.

Step 2: Take action

Asking for feedback is only the start. Once you have identified issues, it's time to plan tailored interventions to address any pain points. 

Step 3: Communicate change

Just as important as taking action is communicating what you found, what you have done or are doing to implement change, and how you will monitor the impact. It’s essential that this is done clearly, utilising town hall sessions and digital channels, even where the change seems obvious.

These three steps will help uncover common issues and build trust in the process. You may find this results in more honesty and with further issues uncovered the next time you ask the same questions! This should be viewed positively, as it is due to the safety and trust you have built.

Optimising the Employee Experience


Employees regularly cite trust, social cohesion, and aligned purpose and values as important factors in their work.

A clear sense of purpose can be found in a clearly articulated vision, but also in the ability for each employee to see how their work connects to this vision and adds value.

Ensuring the vision and values of an organisation are known and understood is the first step in putting them into action. What’s then important is that organisations act according to those values and encourage their employees to do the same.

70 percent of employees said that their sense of purpose is defined by their work18 percent of respondents belived that they get as much purpose from work as they want


Benefits offer a clear opportunity to personalise the employee experience. 63% of employees say their benefits package is a major factor in their job satisfaction. However, benefits are often provided as a blanket solution when priorities for individuals can differ hugely. In one example, 41% of younger employees (aged between 16 and 24) valued a gym membership as a benefit, compared to just 13% of employees over 65.

Reviewing benefits usage across your organisation and combining this data with employee feedback on benefits can help you identify opportunities to improve your offer and remove benefits that aren’t being used.  

How can you flex

  • Perks like free gym membership, vouchers and discounts
  • Health insurance
  • Childcare vouchers

71 percent of respondents would take a job offer if the employer offered good benefits74 percent of respondents would be more inclined to stay with an employer if they provided good benefits


Allowing flexible working practices shows trust in your team and a balanced approach to work and home life. The level of flexibility you offer is, of course, dependent upon your business needs.

There are a range of options for businesses to consider which allow for a more personalised approach to work; these include: 

  • Choice over working public holidays 
  • The 4-day week
  • Condensed hours
  • Remote and hybrid work
  • Flexi-time

It’s worth considering that research shows higher performers, millennials and women are least likely to respond well to strict return-to-office mandates. These groups are most likely to value a sense of agency in their work and are most likely to quit in reaction to a restriction on their autonomy. Interestingly, there is also a gender divide on the impact of remote working. Women say hybrid working increases productivity, while men don’t showing the need for diverse thinking at a leadership level. 

Learning & Development

A lack of career development is one of the top reasons employees give for leaving a role. A recent survey found that only 40% of employees feel their company is upskilling their workforce, and 39% are concerned they are not getting enough training, especially regarding digital and new technologies.

40 percent of employees feel their company is upskilling the workforce39 percent are concerned that they are not getting enough training regarding new and digital tech

Organisation-wide surveys may reveal the need for customised skills programmes to fill these gaps and help accelerate change, especially where digital transformation is concerned. Recent trends in L&D include an increase in formal training for people managers, support for digital skills, including using AI and data analysis, and training which supports the transition to new platforms. 

A personalised approach to L&D creates learning plans driven by a combination of employee goals, potential opportunities within the business, and the trajectory of the existing role. These personalised career pathways show that the business is invested in the employee and enables a positive experience by providing them with the support to succeed. While Personal Development Plans (PDPs) can be viewed in a negative light, often used as a tool to manage poor performance, the same methodology can be used to enhance performance and increase engagement at work. They can also facilitate a culture of Continuous Professional Development (CPD), which allows the organisation to adapt and grow in the face of challenges and new technology. A critical factor in the success and continued relevance of these plans is for employee and employer to align on their goals at the outset and to check in regularly on progress.

66 percent of employees stated that they have no personal development plan in place


A warning:

These goals are focused on the development of the individual and are not directly tied to business outcomes as performance goals. For example, the overarching goal could be learning a new technology; the evidence of this could be a certification and using the skill on a business project. The goal isn’t the business impact (build x widgets using the new skills), but that may be an indirect benefit.

Performance Goals versus Development Goals

  • Performance goals often target achieving specific and measurable outcomes. They are instrumental in evaluating your employee's current level of performance.
  • Development goals target acquiring new abilities, skills, and knowledge to facilitate an employee's personal and professional development.

Further reading

Steps to create a PDP

1. Identify the overarching goal

Employers can help plot this out by explaining different pathways or the skills that may be needed in their current role in future. They can also help employees recognise their strengths and weaknesses. 

2. Break the top-line goal down into smaller step-goals

These could include undertaking formal learning programmes, shadowing, finding a mentor, or studying self-directed.

3. Agree on attainable deadlines for each goal.

This may require some research, which may be the first step-goal!

4. Recognise threats and opportunities

What could hold the employee back, and what could help them achieve the goals.

5. Make goals visible

Ideas include desktop reminders, printouts or posters. It’s important that the plan is front of mind. 

6. Measure progress

Schedule regular check-ins to check progress against the plan.

7. Create a support network

Encourage employees to collaborate to reach their goals. This could include finding another person to hold them accountable or someone to act as a mentor.


Recognition and reward are a key part of the employee experience, and they don’t always have to come with a cost. From a simple thank you for a job well done to wider recognition across an organisation and beyond. The act of acknowledging good work is hard to argue against.

Gaining feedback on where and how recognition is appreciated can help improve the experience and ensure employees are comfortable with the process. Consideration should be taken around sharing photos versus names only and the level at which recognition is shared across an organisation for various achievements. 

Management must take care to ensure different sections or teams are recognised equally. A process to nominate colleagues can help avoid a situation where employees feel overlooked by a narrow group choosing who to recognise in communications. The same also applies to those put forward for external recognition, such as industry awards. 

Rewards can range from small gestures to bigger investments. Finding out what motivates the individual and shaping a reward to suit can contribute to the sense of value in the experience. 

Opportunities to recognise employees:

  • Tenure - from first anniversary to long service awards
  • Milestones & Achievements - celebrating launches and milestone numbers
  • Personal milestones - such as birthdays, where employees have opted in
  • Going above and beyond - celebrating examples of behaviours you want to encourage

Most important drivers of great work

most important drivers of great work chart


The Employee Experience Board

A Employee Experience Board is a group of employees empowered to put forward their own agenda to compare and contrast with 

The benefits of a Employee Experience Board are two-fold. Firstly, it provides a fresh perspective for the organisation, bringing a new and often younger voice to the table. This can help businesses keep track of trends, particularly with regard to design and technology. Secondly, it provides a taste of leadership, giving employees a learning experience. Those on the Employee Experience Board must demonstrate an understanding of the organisation's mission and values. In return, they gain insight into board procedures and the decision-making process, giving them valuable leadership experience. 

Employee Experience Boards can contribute to business success; one example is the case of Gucci and Prada. When Gucci created a shadow board of younger employees, its profits soared. However, Prada ignored the creative input of its younger employees, failed to recognise the growing power of digital influencers, and its profits fell. 

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The Living Case Study

At the time of writing, the TIG team are compiling the results of our third annual engagement survey. What started as a wellness survey to inform the creation of a new employee programme has expanded into a comprehensive review of the employee experience. The insight we’ve gained has led to the development of a tailored wellness programme, the introduction of the 4.5 day week and the launch of our custom Learning and Development programme, the TIG Academy. 

Employee engagement seems to be very top-down, whereas shifting to the employee experience filters up, so it’s almost turning engagement on its head. It focuses not only on the employee lifecycle but on employees' lives. What do we need to do to get the best from everyone? What do we need to do as employers to enhance our offering?

Emma Caiger, Senior Research Director

Spotlight on The TIG Academy

We created this programme in 2023 in response to feedback from the previous year’s survey. This highlighted the need for a customised programme of learning that could help our people grow as researchers. There are two sides to the programme: one focused on creating client reports and one on presentation skills. The training uses a true-to-life scenario, preparing a report to a brief from a fictional client, from the research and report creation to a presentation to our board of directors. Throughout the journey, researchers receive feedback and collaborate with other team members to share skills and compare approaches. The programme feedback has been highly positive, and we’re excited to see how it develops in the coming year!

The Talent Insight Group learning model



How we help

If you’d like to raise your profile within your organisation and get your voice heard, we can help you get the right insights to have those conversations. Our talent intelligence service gives you access to data and insights to guide how your organisation could respond.

We can uncover a wealth of information and help guide your organisation through the journey to develop a strong Employee Experience, alongside assisting with your Talent Acquisition needs. Including by assisting with the following:

  • Employee insights, understanding how they perceive your offer and what they value most
  • Competitor insights, such as benchmarking and hiring activity
  • Candidate motivations to understand whether your offering meets their needs, values and preferences
  • Employer brand perception externally
  • Insights about the labour market, employment statistics and salaries
  • Best practice as an employer, helping you understand the strategies of other businesses, either competitors or market leaders.
  • Location insights to guide decisions about relocations, new offices or facilities or switching to remote or hybrid working models


  • Talent Mapping services to help you understand the available talent for specific role families.
  • Proactive Talent Searches for specific roles
  • Longer-term Talent Pipelining to prepare for future growth

We work in partnership with our clients to ensure that we uncover the insights you need, but our extensive experience means we can also guide you about the key metrics that will have an impact internally. We use a mix of primary and secondary data to ensure our insights are robust and reliable.

If you’d like to find out how we’re helping our clients in this area get in touch on 0191 691 5600 or email us here.