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Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement vs Employee Experience: Here’s how the two differ

As per a study on employee engagement, companies with highly engaged employees report 21% higher profits and 17% more productivity. 

The main reason behind this is that disengaged employees do not have a good employee experience within the organization. They are not connected well and enough with the organization to give their best to it. And the overall employee experience is influenced to a great extent by how engaged they are. 

Employee engagement and employee experience, despite sounding similar and having similar objectives, are quite different from each other.

In simple terms, employee engagement is a part of the overall employee experience universe. However, it is a lot more than that. Read on to know exactly how these two terms differ.

What is employee engagement?

What is employee engagement

Employees’ degree of personal investment in their daily work defines employee engagement. It is a collection of procedures used by the company to support workers’ emotional and meaningful connections to their work. Highly engaged employees are more productive and have their personal ambitions aligned with the organization’s ultimate goals. Employees are further assisted by this emotional connection to improve their productivity, sense of creativity, and presence at work. 

Employee involvement provides several layers of advantages that help the company in addition to boosting productivity. Employee engagement may dramatically alter an organization when applied strategically with measurable measures. When HR departments put employee engagement ideas into practice, they concentrate on establishing the ideal work environments for employees. These initiatives might be as straightforward as streamlining procedures to remove persistent obstacles or more complex plans that seek to satisfy a team’s psychological requirements better. 

Managers “had the largest impact on engagement,” according to Gallup’s State of the American Manager survey, explaining more than “70 percent of the difference in employee engagement levels” across their teams and departments. Additionally, the manager’s level of engagement is a significant factor in determining how their staff engages. When working for a manager who is highly involved versus one who is not, employees are 59 percent more likely to be engaged.

What is employee experience or EX?

what is employee experience

Employee experience is the degree of happiness that employee feels throughout their employment with a business, from recruitment through termination. Employee engagement, employee happiness, employee satisfaction, and a few other similar indicators are all included under this general term.

The better the employee experience, the more productive the workforce is, and the higher the company’s standing with stakeholders. Thus, despite some overlap with employee involvement, it is not the same. The ease with which employees can get answers to their inquiries and the complexity of developing connections between employees and managers influence the employee experience.

Since employee experience is a vast concept, it is impossible to pinpoint each specific influencing aspect. Numerous procedures that start with hiring and continue throughout an employee’s tenure on the team involve them. What ultimately defines their overall assessment of these processes is their human impressions of them or how they feel to the people going through them. The daily tone of an employee’s journey is greatly influenced by their connections with their coworkers, managers, leadership, HR, and the business as a whole.

What’s the difference between EX and employee engagement?

Employee engagement vs EX

Although they appear to be the same, employee experience and engagement are very different ideas.

What exactly is employee engagement? Employee engagement combines their feelings about the company (an emotional tie) and what they are willing to accomplish. Employees that are engaged are more likely to stick with the company and promote it to others because they feel connected to the organization and their work. Employees are passionate about their jobs and companies and are prepared to go “above and beyond” in their work to support the latter’s success. When workers feel successful with the company, they are more engaged.

On the other hand, the employee experience is everything else. Employee experience is a general term used to describe what it’s like to work for an organization and how people feel about their time there. It includes the employee’s perceptions of their interactions with their manager and coworkers, the workplace’s physical environment, their access to the tools they need to do their jobs, their level of autonomy at work, and the possibilities for available professional growth to them, and more.

The capacity of a company to retain its employees depends on both the employee experience and engagement. Since both have several meanings, it can be challenging to understand their subtle differences. However, the goal is to improve the overall employee experience while preserving employees’ sense of engagement and purpose in their work.

How are EX and employee engagement correlated?

How does employee engagement impact employee experience?

Employee engagement is based on certain needs and when the organization doesn’t fulfill those it leads to a disconnect. This disconnect further creates a detachment that leads to adverse or no feelings towards the company.

Eventually when an employee’s engagement with an organization is almost nil, they quit and walk away. At this point, even multiple activities to engage them or development plans to train them are often fruitless.

Let’s explain this via an example. If an employee or team has a bad manager, no matter how much assistance you give them, their engagement and consequently their experience is going to get worse by the day until you address the actual problem, which is bad management or the manager itself.

If you create a strategy for enhancing employee experience, it should include and aim towards engaging your employees better. The employees who are more engaged, happier, and satisfied in their professional life are bound to stay with the company and perform better with time. Hence, aiming to enhance employee experience without concentrating on employee engagement won’t yield results.

How can employee engagement help enhance EX?

How can employee engagement enhance EX

Due in part to the fact that engagement is a crucial component of employee experience, the specific objectives, potential areas for improvement, and business results of both employee experience and engagement typically overlap. Employee engagement is undoubtedly the most crucial factor in improving the employee experience. Engagement tactics can encourage dedication to the company and its objectives. Even so, employing those measures does not guarantee that workers receive the greatest care. If an organization does not continually improve other variables like work culture, growth chances, and management style, strategies alone cannot ensure a pleasant experience.

Beginning with onboarding, managers and HR must foster employee engagement throughout their tenure with the organization. However, engagement becomes the primary priority after the employee completes onboarding and joins the company.

Recruitment: Hire mindfully

Hire people carefully and mindfully, after taking into consideration all the requirements of the position. Wrong and hurried hiring can lead to multiple disconnects, with the organization having wrong expectations from the new hire and the latter eventually being discouraged to the point of getting disengaged. This will lead to early exit and would give the company a bad name in the hiring market.

Hire well so that you pick just the right candidate who can be an asset to the company. A good hiring process contributes to a good employee experience right at the start of the employee journey.

Culture: Define it carefully

Be careful when you convey the company culture to the new hire. Consider them a clean slate who have no idea about the organization. Define the culture in a simple and clear manner, and ensure the new employee feels welcomed and not confused. Your company culture is a lot more than the perks you offer and the activities you conduct. It is the very essence of the organization and one that defines the mission and vision. Convey this fact clearly to the new hire.

A good practice would be to give out short bytes of information about the company culture right from the day a candidate shows interest in the organization and becomes a prospective employee. Even if they are not hired, they would know the company culture well which they can pass on via word of mouth.

Involvement: Engage your employees

You have to involve your employees in the day-to-day activities. Employees should not just work on what they are hired for, but should also be a part of what is going on at the organization. As per Alison M Conrad, professor at Ivey Business School, London, there are four principal factors that build employee engagement:

Power: Give it to your employees in the form of suggestion forums where they can pitch their ideas

Information: Your employees should have the relevant data to have an accurate and complete picture

Knowledge: Conduct knowledge and development plans to enable better use of information

Rewards: Reward and recognize the employees from time to time to keep the morale up

Leadership: Encourage to inspire

There is a famous saying, ‘people leave managers, not organizations.’ This stands true because, as we also quoted in an earlier example, if the direct manager is a difficult and unreasonable person, no amount of perks can enhance employee experience. It will further lead to disengagement and finally, exit. However, it would not end there. The employee would leave with a bitter experience that would reflect on the company for a long time.

Therefore, one of the first ways in which you should enhance employee experience and help engage employees better, is by training your managers to be more empathetic. Hire the right people for leadership positions and train them to be constantly better.

Communication: Stress on clarity

Last, but not the least, stress on clear communication throughout the organization. Create channels, both open and anonymous ones, for the employees to communicate what they feel about the environment and the company. Be open with the feedback, give it to the employees and be receptive to what they have to say as well.

Believe in constructive feedback and communication that helps in improving performances and productivity, rather than negative ones that just blame and further pull down the person.

Employee Experience or Employee Engagement: Which is more important?

Organizational leaders may be tempted to emphasize employee engagement more for excellent reasons. Numerous studies have shown that higher levels of engagement are associated with more revenues, fewer attrition rates, and better business results. Employee engagement is essential for business success.

However, it’s crucial to avoid putting the horse before the cart. As previously said, engagement is a result that is closely related to the employee experience. Lack of engagement results from a bad user experience; focusing too narrowly on engagement metrics might divert attention from the work that needs to be done to enhance the user experience.

There is no denying the significance of engagement, but it must be understood in connection to the experience; the only way to achieve high engagement is to create a great experience for employees. Therefore, it’s necessary to discuss with employees how the experience can be enhanced and then commit to executing.

How to improve employee engagement and experience at the same time?

Engagement won’t have much of an influence if there aren’t also happy and supportive moments at work. Here are a few ideas for getting your workplace to combine significance and fun.

Fostering connections among coworkers, the leadership, and the larger community is crucial because human connection is essential to engagement and a great experience. Increasing communication and giving your employees what they want will help you accomplish much of this while also gaining their trust and respect.

Boost Employee Engagement: We advise business leaders to create an internally articulated “Engaged Purpose” that links employees’ work to a bigger, more significant vision. How does your business improve the lives of people or the world? The first step in incorporating meaning and engagement into your corporate culture is to get everyone on board with your mission.

Show Appreciation: By expressing gratitude to coworkers and employees in casual settings and in official meetings, you can help create a more happy and fulfilling work environment.

Act on Employee Feedback: One thing that many “Experience”-centric books and articles neglect to mention is the importance of asking your staff what they believe could be done to improve their experiences. Ask your team before making assumptions or taking action based purely on what a self-proclaimed expert advises you. Would they like to practice mindfulness meditation or yoga before work? Or would they prefer the cafeteria’s healthier options? Perhaps collaboration walks during lunch. Please encourage them to think, acknowledge their contributions, and use as many of the ideas as you can. Employee engagement is increased due to their realization that their opinions matter and have a tangible impact.

Focus on employee experience to improve employee engagement

An ongoing conversation between the company and its employees is essential to reducing obstacles to engagement and enhancing the experience. One of the best ways to discover the insights required to improve the experience is through a listening program tailored to the organization’s specific needs, with surveys created to elicit employee feedback on the experience and issues of strategic importance to the organization. However, this is not the only option. Other strategies to maintain the conversation include using crowdsourcing, company message boards, team discussions, or even one-on-one meetings between management and staff.

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