The Employee Experience Opportunity 

In 2017, Forbes named creating a compelling Employee Experience (EX) as the No 1 HR trend. And yet, as we move into the 2022, the reality is that most organisations do nothing more than pay lip service to employees being their best asset. The global cost of unproductivity is said to be at a staggering $7 trillion. Something needs to change…

What is the Employee Experience Opportunity?

The Employee Experience Opportunity (EXO) is a movement with a singular mission: to give EX parity with Customer Experience (CX). Founded by Mike Sharples (Chief Experience Officer, Brand Experiences) and Nicholas Wardle (EfS Steering Group member), it launched in November 2019 with the support of the Institute of Internal Communication. Through free-to-use toolkits and an ROI calculator, the EXO is enabling EX practitioners to have more sophisticated and evidence-based conversations with their senior leaders about providing the budget and resources to enable their people to be productive.

Defining EX

There is still some confusion about what EX is. What it isn’t, is next generation employee engagement. The EXO defines it as: “The entire relationship between employee and employer. It encompasses every interaction and touchpoint with the organisation and its stakeholders.”

So, it’s the work environment, the tech used, and relationships. Employee engagement, motivation, and productivity are all outcomes of EX.

What are the benefits of EX?

Effective EX benefits all stakeholders:
• the employees – who will benefit from an improved Employee Experience
• the customers – who will be serviced by happier and more productive employees
• the organisations – who will see a better return from their investment in people

What’s currently going wrong?

Put simply, EX is not treated as seriously by senior leaders as CX. Think about it. If an organisation improves sales by 10% this would be a widely celebrated; if it decreased employee turnover by 10%, few would know. And yet, depending upon scale, the money saved by keeping employees in the organisation may be greater than the extra sales revenue – and retained, motivated employees are likely to contribute to sales.

Also, key touchpoints on the employee lifecycle are often managed by HR employees as an add-on to their core duties; so the work is often undercooked, either because the people responsible don’t have the time or don’t have the skills to bring about positive change. There are tech tools out there to support an effective EX, but few organisations are budgeting for them. EX is underfunded and undervalued. IT has made the case for investing in tech, Governance has made the case for investing in fail safe data processes; now it’s time for the case to be made for EX.

Time for someone new to lead the people agenda?

HR professionals have led the people agenda for generations. With EX this could change, as those with internal comms and/or engagement experience are more closely aligned with EX and have the skills and knowledge to drive it forward. Equally, L&D professionals with their influencing skills lend themselves to be a great fit to lead EX; as do HR professionals who have been involved with the people-side of organisational development. In short, anyone could own EX.

The Employee Experience Opportunity Roadmap

There are three stages to the Roadmap:
• Define your EX strategy, underpinned by evidence-based research
• Monetise EX, so that senior leaders can see its value
• Create action plans for each part of the employee lifecycle, zoning in moments that matter to employees and creating memorable moments

Investing in EX is a win:win

Some organisations are already reshaping/renaming their ‘people department’ as Employee Experience (as opposed to HR etc.). This makes sense, as you have Customer Services/Customer Experience and CX/EX are two sides of the same coin. Whereas many organisations have customer success roles, they should surely have employee success-style roles too.

Ultimately, EX is about putting people at the heart of every organisation, because everyone matters at work. Effective EX leads to a more motivated, engaged and productive workforce… which will, ultimately, lead to a positive impact upon the bottom line.


You can access the free-to-use ROI Calculator here.
You can access the free-to-use Toolkit here.
The IoIC are running two EX courses early in 2022 (there is a charge for these):
The ROI of Employee Experience – Friday 04 February / Friday 11 February

Author: TAG SG member Nicholas Wardle

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