We all know the basics of employee satisfaction. And sure, happier employees make for a pleasant work environment. But when we talk about how to improve employee experience, we’re thinking about the entire employee lifecycle in all its complexity, from onboarding to exit.
(Plus, how those day-to-day experiences foster higher employee engagement, company profitability, retention, productivity, and customer satisfaction — but we’ll get there in a minute.)
So, think of the tips presented here as your cheat sheet for creating a positive employee experience. And these insights, drawn from more than 2,000 employee surveys, will help you strengthen the pillars of your program and create a business case for the employee experience.
Want to save this piece for later? Download the guide:
The Employee Experience Cheat Sheet
Meet the 4 pillars of the employee experience
There are four pillars that make up your organization’s employee experience:
- Connection: The bonds between an employee and their manager, coworkers, and your company’s mission and values.
- Meaningful impact: The employee’s sense that their work matters — to your company, to themselves, and to the world at large.
- Appreciation: Knowing your work has value and being recognized and rewarded for your contributions.
- Growth: Learning opportunities, continuous feedback, and ongoing support for career development.
Let’s take a second to deep dive into each and grab some quick tips to improve employee experience at your company.
Connections drive a great employee experience and a sense of well-being. And by creating a company culture that fosters meaningful relationships, you will boost employees’ overall sense of happiness and desire to be productive. In fact, our Employee Experience Study found that if you have a friend that you see most days at work, it’s like earning $100,000 more each year.
Here are some quick tips for strengthening connection in your company:
💌 1. Communicate core values early and often — not just during onboarding
- Bulletin boards, TV screens, social media, performance reviews, and HR newsletters are easy opportunities
🤝 2. Create opportunities for coworkers to connect
- Think quarterly offsites, team-building activities, group lunches, a shared break room in your office, etc
- Help new hires have great first impressions by pairing new employees with onboarding buddies
💬 3. Encourage regular 1-on-1s between employees and managers
- Strive to meet at least once a week
- Need a no-fail framework for 1-on-1s? Download 3 of our favorites here
✅ 4. Get feedback with engagement surveys, and take action on the results
When Millennials moved into the workplace, they brought the desire to feel their work had meaning. As a result, organizations that clearly show employees their work has a sense of purpose create a powerful workplace. Which may explain why employees who derive meaning from their work are more than three times as likely to stay with their organizations.
Here are some quick tips for fostering meaningful impact in your company:
👁 5. State your company vision, mission, and values clearly
- In performance management, tie company values to individual goals
- Recognize employees who reflect company values publicly and privately
🙌 6. In company-wide meetings, highlight the ways your employees are making customers’ lives better every day
- Customer interviews, reviews, and case studies are great resources
🎗 7. Help employees give back with volunteer days and meaningful giving opportunities
- Encourage employees to recognize and give back to each other
- So, a little recognition can make a world of difference — learn the science behind it
Learn how the employee experience has changed in our manifesto:
The Employee Experience Revolution
Here’s a simple fact: Your employees’ experience is greatly enhanced by the feeling that they’re recognized and appreciated. In fact, 81% of employees say they’re more motivated to work harder when their boss shows them appreciation. So think beyond perks. Instead, ask yourself: How do you use appreciation to create a positive experience?
Here are some quick tips for building a culture of appreciation:
📝 8. Make recognition detailed and specific
- Go beyond a simple thank-you — if you were to reread your recognition one year from now, would you know what it meant?
⏲ 9. Share appreciation in the moment
- End-of-year callouts for actions that happened months ago are far less impactful than in-the-moment praise
🎉 10. Make appreciation public
- This amplifies your intent and allows every success to be celebrated across the organization (at Kazoo, we use our public recognition feed)
👯♀️ 11. Empower peers to recognize each other
- Recognition should come from more than just a manager — create a culture where peers recognize each other for victories big and small
Need to build appreciation? Check out:
25 Employee Appreciation and Recognition Ideas
When surveyed, 88% of employees said learning and growing in their job mattered to their employee experience. In other words, employees need growth to stay engaged with their work long term. So by building growth opportunities into the employee journey, your company will reap the rewards in employee satisfaction and personal development.
Here are some quick tips for creating a sense of growth in your company:
🤔 12. Look into unconventional opportunities
- Professional growth doesn’t have to be a tuition reimbursement plan, or a structured learning program
- Instead, try conventional opportunities including mentoring, lunch and learns, and meet-ups
📈 13. Set goals on the employee, team, and company level
- Try using goal management software to help employees track their progress and tie personal growth to business success
🎤 14. Raise awareness of learning and development opportunities
- Mention them in newsletters, intranets, or office signage, and offer incentives for attending and participating
🗺 15. Create clear expectations around career advancement
- Communicate promotion cycles as well as what is required for employees to advance to the next level of their career
Ready to improve employee experience?
So there it is: The employee experience is no longer part of the distant future of work. That future has arrived, and companies taking note are reaping the rewards. And we should know — Kazoo customers investing in the employee experience report 50% higher retention, increases in program participation, higher Glassdoor scores, and more.
By focusing on the four pillars of the employee experience – connection, meaningful impact, appreciation, and growth – companies are able to create workplaces where employees are inspired, aligned, and ultimately thriving. So find out how Kazoo can help revolutionize your employee experience.