Comprehensive EX

The importance of a comprehensive approach to EX

Sean Holdmeyer and Zach Babbe Employee experience Leave a Comment

“EX is employee surveys!” “EX is employee engagement!” “EX is my org’s new ping-pong table!”

Many leaders are doing their best to take advantage of the employee experience movement early on by attempting to prioritize and improve EX within their organizations. Unfortunately many are focused on the wrong things due to a general misunderstanding of the concept.

As a leader, the first and most important part of improving your organization’s EX is understanding what it actually is.

Understanding EX

Employee experience (EX) is defined as the comprehensive set of interactions and observations an employee has within an organization. And it’s important because it has a huge effect on employee engagement. To best understand the comprehensive nature of EX, there are two dimensions that require further explanation: timeline and type of employee experience.

Timeline of employee experience

EX occurs over the entire employment lifecycle, from the first time an employee encounters an organization before being hired through the interactions they have with an organization after leaving. This exhaustive timeline is comprised of five smaller time frames:

It is important to consider all of these interactions and observations when evaluating and managing your employee experience. Even if a prospective employee isn’t in your organization yet, or if they’ve left, they’re still having experiences with your organization. While all of these time frames matter, the employment time frame is the most important as it’s where employees will spend the most time (and will have the biggest impact on employee engagement).

Type of employee experience

EX also includes all types of experiences an employee has throughout the timeline of their employment. EX is experiential, and the types of experiences an employee has can be broken down into the categories in which people naturally experience things:

Types of EX

It is important to keep all categories in mind when evaluating and managing your employee experience. It is easy to focus on the more material parts of EX, like the interactions and observations that fall into the category of physical experiences (perks, for example). But keeping the other less tangible experiences top of mind ensures a balanced approach to EX management. They might not be as obvious, but they have a big impact on employee engagement.

The comprehensive approach to EX

Every organization’s employee experience is different. By identifying your organization’s unique employee experience along with your employees’ expectations of it, you gain a better understanding of your EX landscape. Then you can focus on identifying and closing any gaps that exist between your EX and employee expectations, which will have a positive effect on engagement.

If you focus on only parts or pieces of EX, you’ll likely miss critical gaps that require your attention. These unseen gaps oftentimes drive negative engagement, making it crucial to gain a complete understanding of your comprehensive employee experience. With that full understanding, you’ll be empowered to manage your employee experience appropriately, and will be able to positively influence engagement based on the elimination of experience gaps.

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