A Strategic Guide for Crafting Employee Experience Strategy

September 8, 2023
20 mins

Can you guess what truly empowers and fortifies your workplace? It's the collective well-being and positive experiences of each and every one of your employees.

Have you ever thought about how your company treats its employees? We often talk about keeping customers happy, which is surely important. But what about the folks who clock in every day? Their experience matters too.

MIT says companies that really put their focus on employee experience manage to double their annual net income compared to those who don't give it as much attention. This fact isn't just interesting; it really drives home the idea of how much a good work environment matters. 

And it has gone beyond something the HR department deals with—it's now a must-do for any business aiming to succeed. And for this, you’ll need a full-proof employee experience strategy.

And creating a strategy to boost employee experience is a walk in the park. (Jurassic Park). It takes sincere leadership, work, attention, and a lot of effort. It's more like building a sturdy bridge that involves recalibrating how you attract, engage, develop, and hold onto your top talent.

So, in this guide, we're going to walk you through:

  • Figuring out employee experience strategy

  • Seeing how a great strategy benefits everyone involved.

  • Crafting Your Game Plan: We're talking step-by-step tips on creating a strategy that actually works.

  • Tackling the Hiccups: Everyone faces challenges; we'll help you sidestep the common ones.

This journey won't be over in a blink, so get comfy. Ready?

Understanding Employee Experience

Think of it as the collective journey each employee has within your organization. It’s not just about their job tasks; it's about every interaction, every moment that shapes their day-to-day at work.

As per Harvard Business Review, 90% of employees are willing to trade a portion of their salary for a better work environment. It is clear that it's not just the pay that matters; it's the environment they’re working in, the relationships they're building, and the culture they’re part of.

The Impact of Employee Experience on your Business

Okay, let’s talk turkey—how does employee experience really affect your business? Well, according to Gallup, companies that prioritize employee experience manage to outperform their competitors by 147% in earnings per share. Yes, you read that right!

Now, remember that MIT nugget I dropped earlier? It's time for an encore: Companies doubling down on employee experience achieve annual net income twice as much as those that don't give it the same attention. Happy employees, happy bottom line.

Developing an Employee Experience Strategy

Now that we've established how pivotal employee experience is, let's get into the nitty-gritty of crafting a strategy that sets your organization on the path to excellence.

Why do we need a robust employee experience strategy? 

Well, it’s simple: It ensures that everyone in the organization is on the same page when it comes to fostering an environment where people can flourish.

You know what they say—missing pieces can bring down the whole puzzle. In this case, those missing elements in your employee experience strategy can lead to disengagement, high turnover, and a generally uninspiring workplace.

It needs to be people-centric as well. Let’s take a moment to remember that employees aren’t robots. They’re individuals with their own ambitions, quirks, and aspirations. A people-centric approach is a business necessity. After all, when employees feel valued and understood, they're more likely to bring their A-game.

Stages Where you Need to Ensure Excellent Employee Experience

With the groundwork set for understanding employee experience and its significance, let's now explore the pivotal stages where this experience becomes tangible. Every step in an employee's journey within your organization offers a chance to mold their experience, directly influencing their engagement, contentment, and overall value to the company.


Think of recruitment as the first date—a chance to make a great first impression. The way you communicate your company culture, values, and growth opportunities during the hiring process sets the tone for what potential employees can expect. A positive recruitment experience can lead to higher-quality hires who are genuinely excited to join your team.


Imagine a new hire's first days as the welcome mat to your organization. Effective onboarding is more than just paperwork. A structured onboarding experience ensures they feel valued, informed, and equipped to contribute from day one.

Employee Learning and Development:

Employees are like plants; they thrive when nurtured and supported. A commitment to their ongoing growth and development not only enhances their skill sets but also communicates your dedication to their success. Providing opportunities for learning, skill-building, and advancement is a cornerstone of a robust employee experience strategy.

Employee Retention:

Retaining top talent is an ongoing challenge. This is where your employee experience strategy shines its brightest. A workplace that fosters career growth recognizes achievements, and maintains a positive environment is more likely to keep employees engaged and motivated to stay for the long haul.


Yes, even the end of an employee's journey matters. An organized and respectful offboarding process can leave a lasting impression. Employees who part ways on good terms become advocates for your organization, potentially referring future talent. Moreover, an amicable exit can mitigate negative reviews or feedback that might arise from disgruntled former employees.

Next up, we're going to shift gears and outline the concrete steps you can take to build an effective employee experience strategy that encompasses these stages.

Steps to Building an Employee Experience Strategy:

Creating a robust employee experience strategy involves thoughtful planning, precise execution, and a keen eye for detail. To guide you through this intricate process, we've broken it down into a series of actionable steps that align with your organization's objectives. Let's get started:

Step 1: Define Clear Objectives

Just as you wouldn't set out on a journey without a destination in mind, an employee experience strategy needs a clear set of objectives. These objectives help you stay focused and ensure that every effort contributes to the bigger picture.

Imagine your company grappling with high turnover rates. Your objective might be to enhance employee satisfaction and reduce turnover by creating a more supportive and engaging work environment. Or, perhaps you're eyeing an expansion and need a strategy to attract top talent to your new teams. Your objective could be to establish a strong employer brand that appeals to both current and potential employees.

Defining objectives shouldn't be a shot in the dark. It should be a data-driven process that takes into account your organization's challenges, opportunities, and long-term goals. By setting clear objectives, you're not only giving your strategy a purpose but also creating a yardstick to measure its success.

To illustrate, let's say your objective is to boost employee engagement. You might set a measurable goal, like increasing your employee engagement score on surveys by 15% within the next year. This specific target gives you a concrete benchmark to work towards and evaluate your strategy's effectiveness.

Remember, objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound—often referred to as SMART objectives. They provide the foundation upon which you'll build your strategy's components, ensuring every action contributes to a unified purpose.

Step 2: Assess The Current State

Before charting a course, you need to know where you're starting from. Assessing the current state of employee experience within your organization is like taking a compass reading—it gives you a clear sense of direction for your strategy.

-Gather Data

Start by collecting relevant data. Surveys, feedback sessions, and performance metrics can provide invaluable insights into how employees perceive their experience. Are they satisfied with their roles? Do they feel supported by their managers? Are there any pain points in their journey?

Just as a seasoned sailor knows the strengths and limitations of their ship, understanding your organization's strengths and weaknesses is key. 

Recognize the aspects of your current employee experience that are working well. Maybe your employee recognition programs are driving motivation, or your remote work policies are boosting work-life balance. Equally, identify areas where improvement is needed. These could be issues like communication breakdowns, limited growth opportunities, or a lack of flexibility.

-Employee Persona Mapping

Think of employee persona mapping as creating a character profile for each type of employee in your organization. This helps you understand their needs, motivations, and pain points. For example, a sales representative's experience might differ significantly from that of a software developer. Tailoring your strategy to address diverse personas ensures a more comprehensive approach.


Don't be an island—know where you stand in comparison to others. Benchmarking against industry standards or competitors can reveal where you're excelling and where there's room for improvement. For instance, if your average employee tenure is lower than the industry average, it's a sign you might need to enhance your retention strategies.

-Analyze Data

Once you've gathered all this data, it's time to dive in. Identify patterns, trends, and correlations. Are there any common themes in employee feedback? Is there a dip in engagement after a certain milestone, like the first six months? Analyzing the data paints a vivid picture of your organization's current employee experience landscape. Each data point is a piece, and the clearer the picture, the better you can tailor your strategy.

-Bridge the Gap

With insights from your assessment, you can bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. If your survey reveals communication breakdowns, you might implement regular town hall meetings or a more open feedback culture. Remember, this assessment isn't a one-time task. It's a continuous process that keeps you in sync with changes.

Step 3: Identify Key Touchpoints

Now, it's time to pinpoint the moments that matter—those crucial interactions that define an employee's experience throughout their journey.

What are Key Touchpoints?

Think of key touchpoints as milestones on the employee's path. These are the moments where their experience is most pronounced, where emotions are stirred, and perceptions are shaped. Key touchpoints can range from big events like onboarding to everyday occurrences like team meetings.

-Mapping the Journey

Much like plotting coordinates on a map, mapping the employee journey involves tracing their steps from the moment they join to the moment they exit or grow within the organization. Identify every interaction, from the first interview to daily tasks to performance reviews. This comprehensive view helps you understand the employee's holistic experience.

Within this journey lie "moments of truth." These are the interactions that significantly impact an employee's perception of your organization. For instance, a warm and effective onboarding experience can set a positive tone for the rest of their journey. Similarly, a manager's feedback during a critical project can determine their sense of contribution.

-Employee Feedback

Seek input from employees to identify touchpoints that hold particular significance for them. Their perspectives can shed light on hidden touchpoints that might not be obvious from a managerial standpoint. An open channel for feedback ensures your strategy resonates with the people it aims to benefit.

You can't do everything at once, and that's where prioritization comes in. Some touchpoints might require immediate attention, while others can be refined over time. For instance, if your employee feedback indicates that team meetings are unproductive, improving this touchpoint could lead to quick wins in engagement.

Remember, not all employees experience touchpoints in the same way. A junior developer might have different expectations from a senior manager. Tailor your approach by considering the needs and perspectives of different employee segments.

Enhancing key touchpoints doesn't just impact those moments—it creates a ripple effect throughout the employee journey. Positive experiences breed engagement, commitment, and advocacy. On the flip side, negative touchpoints can lead to dissatisfaction, disengagement, and eventually, attrition.

Step 4: Design a Strategy

With our compass set on understanding, assessing, and pinpointing, it's time to work on designing your employee experience strategy. Like an architect sketching blueprints for a grand building, designing a strategy requires meticulous planning, thoughtful choices, and a clear vision of the result.

-Clarify Your Vision

Start by defining what success looks like. Envision the kind of employee experience you want to create. Imagine employees who are motivated, empowered, and fully aligned with your organization's goals. Your vision will guide every decision you make.

-Align with Values

Your organization's core values are more than just words on a wall—they're the DNA that shapes your culture. Design your strategy to align with these values. For instance, if innovation is a core value, your strategy might include initiatives that foster creative thinking and idea-sharing.

-Set Clear Goals

Just as a captain plots the course, set clear goals for your strategy. These goals should be specific, achievable, and measurable. For example, if one of your objectives is to improve collaboration, a goal could be to increase cross-functional project participation by 20% within six months.

-Tailor to Your Audience

Remember, one size doesn't fit all. Customize your strategy based on employee personas, departments, and roles. What resonates with your sales team might not resonate with your IT department. Personalization ensures your strategy speaks directly to the hearts of your employees.

-Define Action Steps

Break your strategy into actionable steps. Consider the touchpoints we identified earlier. What initiatives can you implement to enhance those interactions? For instance, if onboarding is a key touchpoint, your action steps might include developing a comprehensive onboarding program with mentorship components.

-Allocate Resources

A strategy without resources is like a ship without sails. Determine what resources—budget, time, and personnel—you need to execute your strategy effectively. If your plan involves technology, make sure your IT department is on board.

-Create a Timeline

Timelines keep you on track. Assign deadlines to each action step and goal. This ensures that your strategy progresses steadily and that everyone involved knows what's expected and when.

-Feedback Loops

Include mechanisms for feedback. Regularly evaluate your strategy's progress and gather input from employees. If a certain aspect isn't yielding the expected results, your strategy should be flexible enough to adapt.

-Communication is the Key

Your strategy won't succeed if it's kept in a drawer. Communicate it clearly to all employees. Explain the goals, the why behind them, and how everyone's contributions play a role.

-Involve Stakeholders

A strategy isn't a one-person show. Involve key stakeholders from various levels of the organization. Their perspectives can enrich your strategy and ensure buy-in across the board.

-Test and Refine

A strategy is a living document. Implement it and monitor the results. If something isn't working as intended, don't hesitate to adjust. Flexibility and adaptability are crucial.

Designing your strategy is like crafting a masterpiece—one brushstroke at a time. With your vision clear and your action steps defined, you're poised to bring your employee experience to life. 

Step 5: Involve Leadership

As your employee experience strategy takes shape, it's time to rally the troops—your organization's leadership. Involving leadership ensures that your strategy resonates throughout the organization, creating a unified and impactful employee experience.

-Why Leadership Matters

Leadership sets the tone. When top management champions the employee experience strategy, it sends a powerful message that this initiative is a priority. Their support encourages others to follow suit and embrace the changes.

Leaders aren't just decision-makers; they're role models. Their behavior and actions trickle down to the rest of the organization. When they actively engage in initiatives outlined in the strategy, employees are more likely to do the same.

-Gaining Buy-In

For your strategy to succeed, it needs more than just a nod of approval—it needs buy-in. Involve leadership early in the strategy development process. Share the vision, goals, and expected outcomes. Address their concerns and gather their input. When they're invested from the start, their commitment amplifies.

-Leadership's Role in Communication

Effective communication is the glue that holds a strategy together. Leaders play a pivotal role in transparently communicating the strategy to the entire organization. They can convey the "why" behind the strategy, making it relatable and showing how it aligns with the company's overall mission.

-Breaking Silos

Involving leadership can break down departmental silos. When leaders collaborate across teams to implement strategy initiatives, it fosters a sense of unity and collective ownership. Cross-functional collaboration becomes a natural outcome.

-Resource Allocation

Leadership holds the purse strings. When they allocate resources—whether it's budget, manpower, or time—it signals that the strategy is backed by the necessary support to thrive.

-Feedback Loop

Leaders are the ears of the organization. They're attuned to the pulse of their teams. Encourage them to gather feedback from employees and bring it to the strategy table. Their insights can provide valuable course corrections.

-Celebrating Success

Leadership's recognition of achievements amplifies their impact. When leaders acknowledge and celebrate milestones reached through the strategy, it reinforces the importance of the initiative and motivates others to contribute.

-Training and Alignment

Leaders need to be equipped to lead by example. Provide training on how they can embody the strategy's principles in their day-to-day interactions. This ensures consistency across the organization.

-Long-Term Commitment

Involvement isn't a one-off event; it's an ongoing commitment. Leadership's consistent support sustains the strategy's momentum, even in the face of challenges.

Involving leadership isn't just about delegation; it's about partnership. With their engagement, your strategy has a powerful advocate that can steer it toward success.

Step 6: Cultivate a Learning Culture

In our quest to build a robust employee experience strategy, we arrive at a pivotal step—cultivating a learning culture. Your organization's growth thrives in an environment that promotes continuous learning and development. A learning culture is the soil that nourishes innovation, fosters growth, and ignites employee potential.

What is a Learning Culture?

Imagine a workplace where curiosity is encouraged, mistakes are seen as learning opportunities, and every day presents a chance to acquire new skills. That's the essence of a learning culture. It's an ecosystem that values learning, encourages exploration, and supports skill enhancement.

Employees who feel empowered to learn and grow are more engaged, motivated, and adaptable. They're better equipped to take on new challenges and contribute to the organization's success.

How to Cultivate:

Cultivating a learning culture involves intentional steps that create an environment where learning becomes a way of life.

1. Lead by Example: Leaders need to nurture learning. When leadership visibly participates in learning initiatives, it signals their commitment and sets an example for the rest of the organization.

2. Provide Resources: A learning culture needs resources. Equip employees with access to training programs, online courses, workshops, and mentorship opportunities. Make learning accessible and appealing.

3. Encourage Experimentation: A learning culture thrives on experimentation. Create a safe space where employees can try new approaches, take calculated risks, and learn from both successes and setbacks.

4. Recognize Efforts: Acknowledge employees who invest time in learning. Recognize their efforts and celebrate milestones achieved through their commitment to growth.

5. Feedback and Reflection: After a journey, a traveler reflects. Similarly, encourage employees to reflect on their learning experiences. Provide avenues for feedback and discussions to solidify what they've learned.

6. Peer learning is like plants helping each other grow. Encourage knowledge sharing among colleagues. Set up forums, discussion groups, or mentoring circles to foster a collaborative learning environment.

7. Tie Learning to Goals: Align learning with individual and organizational goals. When employees see how their newfound skills contribute to their development and the company's success, they're more motivated to learn.

8. Celebrate Learning Moments: Celebrate learning milestones. Whether it's completing a certification, mastering new software, or successfully leading a project, these moments deserve applause.

9. Adaptability: A learning culture embraces change. Encourage employees to stay curious and keep up with industry trends and advancements.

10. Continuous Evolution: Cultivating isn't a one-time task; it's a continuous effort. Keep nurturing the learning culture, and refining initiatives based on feedback and outcomes.

Step 7: Prioritize Well-being and Work-Life Balance

In the whirlwind of modern work, it's easy to lose sight of what truly matters—the well-being of your employees. Prioritizing well-being and work-life balance isn't just a gesture of goodwill; it's a strategic move that boosts productivity, enhances engagement, and fosters a healthier workplace culture.

Recognize that your employees are more than their job titles; they're individuals with lives outside of work. By encouraging a healthy work-life balance, you create an environment where employees can recharge, reducing burnout and stress. Offer flexible work arrangements, encourage breaks, and set clear boundaries to prevent overworking.

Moreover, well-being encompasses mental, physical, and emotional health. Provide access to wellness programs, mental health resources, and growth opportunities. Encourage open discussions about well-being, breaking the stigma around seeking support.

Step 8: Implement Feedback Mechanisms

Building a robust employee experience strategy requires more than just good intentions—it demands a continuous feedback loop. Your strategy should adapt based on the insights of your employees. Implementing effective feedback mechanisms is the compass that helps you.

-Feedback Matters

Feedback bridges the gap between intention and reality. It provides a window into employees' thoughts, needs, and challenges. Regular feedback not only shows that you care about their voices but also helps you make informed decisions that resonate with your workforce.

-Creating a Feedback Culture

Encourage an open and transparent feedback culture. Provide various channels for employees to voice their opinions—surveys, one-on-one discussions, suggestion boxes, and even anonymous platforms. Make sure employees know their input is valued.

-Listening and Acting

Collecting feedback is the first step; acting on it is where the real transformation occurs. When employees see their feedback translating into tangible changes, it instills a sense of ownership and trust in the process.

-Timely and Constructive

Feedback should be timely and constructive. Address concerns promptly, and frame feedback in a way that focuses on solutions rather than blame.

-360-Degree Feedback

Consider implementing 360-degree feedback, where employees receive input from peers, managers, and subordinates. This holistic perspective provides a comprehensive view of their impact and growth areas.

-Feedback for Strategy Refinement

Use feedback to refine your strategy. If a touchpoint is causing frustration or an initiative isn't yielding the desired results, adapt accordingly. Flexibility based on feedback keeps your strategy relevant and impactful.

-Celebrate Feedback

Just as milestones are celebrated, celebrate feedback. Acknowledge employees who contribute valuable insights and recognize their role in shaping the organization.

-Feedback as a Learning Tool

Encourage employees to see feedback as a learning tool. Constructive criticism aids personal growth, and positive feedback reinforces the behaviors and actions that drive success.

Step 9: Recognize and Reward

Acknowledgment is the fuel that powers a motivated workforce. Just as a spark ignites a flame, recognizing and rewarding your employees sparks their enthusiasm and dedication. Regularly acknowledging their efforts, achievements, and contributions builds a culture of appreciation, fostering engagement and a sense of belonging. 

Whether through public recognition like spot awards, incentives, or growth opportunities, your recognition and reward program not only boosts morale but also reinforces behaviors that align with your organization's goals. This step adds a layer of positivity to your employee experience strategy, enhancing its impact and making your workplace a thriving hub of inspiration and achievement.

Step 10: Monitor and Iterate

Your employee experience strategy is a living entity, evolving with your organization and the changing landscape. Continuous evaluation is crucial – regularly assess the strategy's effectiveness, and monitor employee feedback, and engagement levels. Adaptability is key – keep an eye on industry trends, technological advancements, and shifts in employee preferences. 

Refine based on insights – replicate successful touchpoints, improve or replace ineffective initiatives. Employee involvement is essential – their perspectives provide valuable insights. Celebrate successes and learn from setbacks – view failures as opportunities for improvement. Transparently communicate updates and changes, reinforcing the strategy's importance. Monitoring and iteration form a cycle of growth, ensuring your strategy remains aligned with evolving needs. 

This concludes your journey towards building a robust employee experience strategy – an investment in your employees' well-being, engagement, and organizational success.

The Role of Technology in Employee Experience

In employee experience especially in 2023, technology has a big say in how employees feel about their jobs. Enter Bigfish Benefits—a solution that's all about making your workplace better through a strong company culture.

Putting Culture First with Bigfish Benefits

Bigfish Benefits, designed by experts who know all about People Science, offers three solutions that focus on building a culture where people feel good and work well. These solutions address common issues like high turnover, low engagement, and low productivity.

  1. Spotlight: Recognize. Reward. Rise.

Bigfish's Spotlight solution uses technology to make recognition and appreciation easy. It's like a special platform to celebrate achievements, give out awards, and understand how engaged people are—right when it's happening.

  1. Gravity: Connect. Collaborate. Grow.

Gravity, another part of Bigfish, uses technology to bring your team together. Share important moments, play virtual team games, and join in company-wide events. It's like a digital hub where everyone can hang out.

  1. Flow: Listen. Change. Evolve.

Flow, also from Bigfish, uses tech to help you figure out what your work culture is like. Listen to your team through surveys, see how well-being is doing, and get ideas for a healthier workforce.

Integrating Spotlight: Making Recognition Easier

By teaming up with your existing tools, Spotlight makes sure recognition becomes a natural part of your workplace. This way, your employees feel valued and appreciated in a way that fits right in.

With Bigfish Benefits, you're giving your organization a powerful tool to make work better for everyone. As we finish up, you're ready to create a top-notch employee experience strategy.

The Bottom Line

As we wrap up, you're equipped to sculpt an employee experience strategy that sparks enthusiasm. How will you blend these insights into your unique strategy?

Bigfish Editorial Team

If you have any questions, reach out to editor@bigfishbenefits.com

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