The Difference Between Employee Engagement & Employee Experience

Employee Experience vs Employee Engagement

Understanding of how employees engage with your organisation brings real competitive advantage. Enlightened businesses, those who understand the potential to influence employee engagement for the better, using crafted employee experiences that meet their needs have seen productivity increased by an average of 21%.

An organisation’s people are its power. Without motivated employees who are invested in the brand, the business simply can’t function. In a post-pandemic world where employees are more mindful than ever of their place of work’s impact on their well-being, businesses need frameworks in place to get their people invested in the brand. Harmony between a business’s brand and its employees is everything.

This is where employee engagement and employee experience come in. You may have come across these terms before, but how exactly they’re defined, how they differ from each other, and how they work together are worth unpacking in detail.

Defining employee engagement

Let’s begin with employee engagement: What it is and what it is not.

Employee engagement is an outcome. It’s a sign that employees are buying into the brand, that they identify with its values, are actively committed to furthering its interests and that they can see a place for themselves within the business.

In a word, it’s about synergy – synergy between an employee’s best interests and those of the brand, with the goal being improved productivity as a result of the employee identifying with the brand and finding a link with their ambitions and that of the brand.

Employee engagement involves setting measurable, defined events around which an employee experience can be designed. This makes measuring engagement a matter of looking at specific moments in time for any given employee, and asking whether these are being met.

Defining employee experience

Employee experience – often abbreviated to EX – is where the magic happens. If engagement is based on measurement at different touchpoints, experience is what employees see, hear and feel at every juncture during their time with the organisation – and how that connects together. Ultimately, we want employee experience to breed trust, which is why you need consistency.

We can say, then, that employee experience refers to the entire journey a worker goes on with a given brand, from their first impression when applying for the job to their final exit interview – and every point between. Of course, some experiences are more important than others, and this is where your employer brand comes in – the things you really want to be famous for in the employment marketplace. Experiences such as reward and recognition programmes that incentivise their best performance, need to be designed with your employer brand in mind.

The importance of measuring and shaping the employee experience alongside your brand can’t be overstated. People are savvier than ever about the impact their places of work have on their well-being, and more determined than ever to find a workplace that fulfils them and aligns with their own goals and beliefs.

For this reason, businesses must approach employee experience as an essential part of their branding process.

This involves much more than just HR. It’s the broad view of every aspect that comprises the employee’s day-to-day life on the job, from the physical workspace itself, to the tools and processes available to help them do their jobs better and enjoy the work experience – and that encompasses functions like IT and finance.

Employee engagement and experience – what’s the difference?

Now that we have a working definition for each term, we can get into the differences between them, as well as how they work together.

We talked about touchpoints earlier – namely, how engagement refers to individual measurable points of contact between an employee and the employer brand. In contrast, employee experience can be seen as an overview of the whole connected employee journey as it encompasses every moment of engagement.

Put another way, employee experience is what the organisation puts in to make the employee’s work life easier, while engagement is the resulting output the organisation receives from that staff member.

Therefore, we can say that to achieve desirable employee engagement, a business must put effort into creating a great employee experience that aligns with its brand.

Aligning employee experience engagement, and employer brand

The dependence experience and engagement have on each other has the power to define your business’s brand from the inside and out. When deployed effectively, employee experience campaigns can result in more engaged employees, so aligning these as part of a comprehensive brand strategy is important.

It starts with understanding who your employees are as people – i.e. what they want from the world of work and the behaviours you are looking for in the ideal future employee. Once you’ve developed these employee personas, you can then start to understand their social and emotional needs (What experiences do they need to have in order to engage best?)

It might sound overly spiritual, but enabling your employees to connect to the “higher purpose” of your organisation is the strongest way to get them invested. Every person deserves an employment opportunity in which they feel fulfilled and in which they can identify with the principles of the brand and grow further into their role.

How to measure employee experience

The easiest way to measure the success of an employee experience campaign is, as we have said, to assess the resulting employee engagement that stems from it. You need to know whether you are looking to drive up eNPS, employee satisfaction, attrition, pride, buy-in to strategy, innovation or pace of change.

As we know, ultimately, employees that are engaged with their employer’s brand perform better, which leads them to develop within their organisation.

On a simple level, staff retention can go some way to telling the story of how engaged employees are. It all comes down to the strength of the employee experience – which can be augmented with behavioural science insights to result in a stronger campaign that is as relevant and compelling as possible for your people.

At the end of the day, employees are just that – people. Like your customers, investing in their experience is a vital component of every successful business, and one that can pay dividends for both them and your brand.

For a richer explanation, see our blog on how to measure employee engagement.

Harness the power of your internal brand to improve your employee experience

At The Team, we’re passionate about delivering renewed brand experiences to our clients’ people, from customers to the vital employees that keep an organisation on its feet. If you’re interested in a rebrand or refresh, we’d find out more about you and your business.

Let’s talk – contact us today to learn more.