Did you know that enhancing the employee experience directly impacts your customer experience? Not only do happier employees lead to higher productivity, increased employee retention, and better company culture, but happier employees are better at customer service. Those are some of the reasons that optimizing your employee experience is so essential right now. We’re in the midst of a very competitive talent landscape. Companies aren’t just fighting for candidates, they’re fighting to retain current employees. There are more job openings than there are available candidates, and recruiters are tapping active and passive candidates alike. 

The employee experience—or how an employee perceives your company—is critical to retention during every stage of the employee lifecycle. A poor experience could lead your workforce to seek out greener pastures, but a strong employee experience can compel your employees to stay. 

Your employees are the backbone of your company, contributing to innovation and customer satisfaction. Perhaps that’s why 83 percent of organizational leaders emphasized a positive employee experience as crucial to organizational success.

RedThread Research wanted to know what went into a truly remarkable employee experience, so they interviewed 20 progressive companies to find out. Their research identified four levers to a holistic employee experience: a clear philosophy, a supportive culture, an articulated accountability, and an aligned measurement approach.

1. Clear philosophy

The most progressive companies have a clear philosophy of employee experience, including:

  • The target audience for the employee experience. Some companies prioritize employees’ needs in order to accomplish higher employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention. Other companies prioritize customers’ needs in order to accomplish higher customer service, satisfaction, and loyalty. A few companies have a blended focus, considering both employee and customer needs.
  • A clear definition of employee experience. The definition can vary depending on the target audience, but RedThread Research defines it as, “Employees’ collective perceptions of their ongoing interactions with the organization.” That is, what employees observe, hear, and encounter during emotionally laden events (i.e. first day or work) and everyday exchanges at work.
  • How employee experience relates to employee engagement. RedThread Research defines employee engagement as “A measure of energy, involvement, and concentration that is exhibited in work attitudes and behaviors.” The employee experience affects how employees feel and behave in the workplace.

Your philosophy should guide all of your employee experience efforts and decisions.

2. Supportive culture

Progressive companies understand that a supportive company culture is paramount to a positive employee experience. A supportive culture must include well-defined and communicated values, beliefs, and assumptions that encourage employees to adopt the following behaviors:

  • Collaboration to understand feedback and address issues
  • Transparency to leverage opportunities to capture and address issues
  • Psychological safety to cultivate trust and encourage feedback
  • Alignment to establish employee experience as a priority 
  • Feedback-sharing to serve as mediators between employees, customers, and the company

RedThread Research explains each behavior in greater detail in the below chart.


A supportive culture allows your employees to bring their most authentic selves to work so they feel free to make meaningful contributions to the company.

3. Articulated accountability

People Ops teams are largely responsible for coordinating the employee experience and tracking progress—but accountability doesn’t begin or end there in progressive companies. There are two types of accountability present in the most progressive companies:

  • Distributed accountability: Senior leaders across functions develop the employee experience strategy and address issues.
  • Centralized accountability: Individual contributors share frequent feedback with their manager via surveys, team huddles, and one-on-one conversations. Managers are empowered to address issues within their own teams.

Do what you think is best for your company. If you’d like a consistent employee experience across your entire company, distributed accountability is a good bet to help you get there. Or, if you want your employee experience to be a bit unique to each office, department, or manager, a centralized accountability model may be a better choice. 

4. Aligned measurement

Progressive companies vary in how they measure the success of their employee experience strategies. Some will use existing analytical frameworks in an employee experience measurement tool. Others create custom models with their people analytics team to identify critical outcome metrics, and determine which aspects of the employee experience affect them.

Critical outcome metrics that can help measure the success of your employee experience efforts include:

  • Employee engagement scores
  • Net promoter score
  • Customer satisfaction score
  • Employee satisfaction score
  • Organizational health index score

A great employee experience often leads to more engaged, satisfied employees who are more likely to recommend your company and take better care of your customers. If these scores are increasing, you must be doing something right. Utilize analytics so you can identify and double down on what’s working, and cut strategies and tactics that aren’t.

Final thoughts on crafting a great employee experience

Progressive companies are much more agile than the average company. They know that annual employee engagement surveys aren’t enough to measure and improve the employee experience. Instead, they are constantly measuring, improving, and measuring again to make progress. The modern employee has many choices when it comes to where they want to work, and the modern company wants to improve the employee experience to retain workers. That’s because organizations with a strong employee experience have twice the innovation and customer satisfaction, and higher profits than organizations with a weaker employee experience.