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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

Employee engagement is a set of practices to help employees connect in a meaningful and emotional manner with the organization. This helps employees be more productive and align their own goals with the vision and mission of the organization.

This connection that employees form with their workplace, often goes on to influence their productivity and performance in the long run.

What is employee experience or EX?

what is employee experience

Employee experience is the level of satisfaction an employee experiences throughout their journey – from recruitment to exit- in an organization. It is a blanket term that includes employee engagement, employee happiness, employee satisfaction, and a few other such metrics.

The more enhanced the employee experience, the better the employee productivity and the better the organization’s reputation in the stakeholder market. So, despite overlapping with employee engagement, it is far from being the exact same thing.

What’s the difference between EX and employee engagement?

Employee engagement vs EX

Employee engagement refers to the connection and dedication that employees feel towards the organization. Employee experience, on the other hand, is what the organization does to make sure this engagement is honed well and stays on with a welcoming and wholesome work culture.

Employee experience is the gamut under which employee engagement comes. Employee engagement is the inherent feeling of an employee, while employee experience is the responsibility of the organization. Even the most engaged employee may have a bad employee experience if the organization is not dedicated enough to make them feel appreciated and encouraged.

Employee engagement is influenced by the core emotional needs of connection and bonding. It depends on the individual employee. On the other hand, employee experience is a collective term, a uniform experience that is influenced by company culture and environment, among other things. Simply put, employee engagement depends on what the employee feels, while employee experience stems from how the organization taps into that feeling.

Employee engagement is tackled in micro shots. For instance, the team and the manager influence a lot of what an employee feels. In fact, as per a Gallup report, 70% of the variance in what an employee feels is due to their manager. In contrast, employee experience is more of a macro term, where the organization has to ensure that the managers act in a certain manner, so that employee engagement remains at its peak.

Employee engagement is the result that employee experience aims for. So, even though the two terms are different, they go hand in hand and together create a good work culture that believes in the employees’ personal development as well as the company ‘s growth.

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

You can do it by mapping your employee’s journey within the company — from the time they are hired to the day they decide to exit. Here’s how to tap into every stage of the employee journey. 

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.

Using employee experience throughout the employee journey can help you increase employee engagement and tap into employee potential to extract ample productivity. Not sure yet about how to do this? Allow our experts to give you a detailed walk through of how to do this

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