Just when you thought you were clear on Employee Engagement, HR starts talking about Employee Experience. Just what is Employee Experience, how is it different from Employee Engagement, and what does it mean to you?

For starters, it is not the same thing as Employee Engagement. As a refresher, “Gallup defines engaged employees as those who are highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace.” Promoting Employee Engagement is one of our biggest passions here at Basically Today. We constantly help our clients better engage their people to achieve increased efficiency, enhanced customer satisfaction, higher profits, and (win/win) improved employee happiness. We are all about Employee Engagement. Broadly, what steps do you need to take so that your people are involved and enthusiastic about their work? From this, you can see that the level of engagement of a particular employee or group of employees will change over time. When we start with a new client, for instance, employee engagement is generally low. After a short time, however, it increases. Likewise, without proper care and attention, a company could have high employee engagement only to see it wane over time. We see this sometimes with a new company owner or before, during, and after a merger. What’s important here is that employee engagement is a state to be improved and maintained. Not paying attention or feeling like you’ve solved employee engagement and no longer need to make it a focus will land you right back where you were before you started working on it. (Actually, the norm is that the slide backward puts you in a less favorable position than when you started making it a priority in the first place).

Employee Experience (commonly abbreviated EX) is the entire journey your employee has with your company. Every interaction, every situation, every email, every performance review, everything they’ve had from the time they first heard of your company and applied for a position to the time they no longer are a part of it. That’s Employee Experience (EX), and it’s essential. We want new employees to have a favorable opinion of our companies when they first apply. We want those people that love our mission and what we are doing and want to be a part of it. In the beginning, then, it is crucial to give them a world-class experience (from their first contact looking for a job). When we provide that experience consistently, not only are we providing excellent EX, we are also setting a standard that this is how we show up here. We show up professionally, we show up on time, we do what we say we are going to do, etc.

Tangent: My advice to job seekers is to punch out if you have a terrible experience with a prospective employer during the application and interview process. A job interview is kind of like a first date. If you show up poorly on your first date, how will you show up 20 years down the road? No thanks. Of course, what’s crazy is that the interviewers are meticulously judging how you show up while not showing up themselves. It’s a sign … that you don’t want to work there.

So, EX is a story, a journey. It’s a long-term relationship. Think of your spouse or significant other. There are good times and are bad times, but you stick together because you love and believe in each other. When you recount that love story, part of it is historical, part of it is now, and part of its future. Your work life is like this. And, if you don’t think of it this way, you should – and so should your significant other (the company).