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12 ways top workplaces improve employee experience (with examples)

By Gabe Scorgie

13 min read

12 ways top workplaces improve employee experience (with examples)
Illustration by Maya Ramadhina

It’s probably safe—and unfortunate—to say there are many companies that don’t care about it, much less be concerned about how to improve employee experience (EX). 

But you care, right? 

Employee experience is defined as the sum of all the interactions an employee has with an organization throughout their tenure—even before, as their experience would include their time through recruitment and onboarding. The daily work environment, culture, and opportunities for development and growth all play a part and should all be considered if you’re wondering how to improve employee experience. 

EX should never be considered inconsequential—it has a direct impact on engagement, productivity, and retention. When employees have positive experiences, they’re more likely to be motivated, productive, and probably happy to stick with you long-term. So yes, employee experience is about them first but ultimately, it can be about an organization’s bottom line. 

If you care about your bottom line, you need to care about EX. And to do that, you need to focus on employee success. What is employee success? All the things that contribute to their effectiveness, engagement, and fulfillment while on the job. 

The world of work has changed

There are employers who would rather ignore that the culture of work has changed since the onset of the pandemic, but it’s an undeniable fact. 

Employers are pushing to get people back in their cubicles five days a week, and it isn’t going well. Employees are pushing back at being treated like drones, especially after proving they can still be effective, efficient, and productive while working from home. 

12 ways to improve employee experience

#1. Allow flexible work arrangements 

There’s a good chance employers who are rigid when it comes to work arrangements aren’t opening themselves up to new paradigms. They’re not thinking about how to improve the employee experience, and they’re likely blind to the potential cost. 

This doesn’t mean employers have to allow everyone who can to work fully remote. Alternatives include: 

  • Hybrid work
  • Compressed workweeks 
  • Flextime

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#2. Support a work-life balance 

Do everything you can to promote and support a good work-life balance. Doing so can help you maintain their well-being, productivity, and job satisfaction. 

And in case you’ve missed it so far, the better, healthier, happier your employees are, the better they are at their jobs. You should hear a cha-ching here as you wrap your head around the fact this type of employee typically makes the company more money. 

So what can you do? First, be open to the flexible hours mentioned above, and then consider these:

  • Enough paid time off for vacation days, sick days, leave, and personal days
  • Parental leave and family support for both parents and, if possible, resources for childcare
  • Wellness programs that focus on both mental and physical health as well as healthy eating habits 
  • Help employees manage workloads—encourage them to communicate to managers when they feel overwhelmed, and then provide solutions to workload issues 

#3. Create a supportive work environment 

A supportive work environment will go a long way in improving employee experience—in fact, it’s critical for their well-being and success. A supportive workplace is engaged, innovative, and successful, making it attractive to new talent and easier to retain current talent.

Consider these:

Encourage psychological safety

This refers to the belief that somebody is able to take risks, share ideas, and express their concerns without any fear of negative consequences. An employee who feels psychologically safe is more likely to engage, innovate, and collaborate effectively—all leading to an improved workplace experience

Here are some tips on how to encourage psychological safety:

  • Open communication
  • Leading by example
  • Actively listening
  • Offering constructive feedback
  • Conflict resolution
  • Providing anonymous feedback channels

Foster a culture of inclusivity and diversity

The right kind of culture can lead to employees who feel valued and empowered. Employers can foster this type of culture by:

  • Diverse hiring
  • Training and awareness
  • Employee resource groups
  • Inclusive policies
  • Celebrating differences
  • Zero tolerance for discrimination

Provide professional development opportunities

Most employees value opportunities to grow and develop in their careers. Employers can support this by:

  • Training programs
  • Career pathways
  • Mentorship and coaching
  • Tuition assistance
  • Cross-training

#4. Effective communication and feedback

It’s probably safe to say that—at least to some extent—a healthy work environment couldn’t exist without effective communication and feedback. Additionally, most successful organizations have a foundation of effective communication, since it ensures that information in any form is shared clearly and accurately among employees and teams.

Here are some key elements of effective communication to help develop a framework for employee experience:

Transparent communication channels

When it comes to communication, transparency means being honest and open about your company’s goals, strategies, challenges, and decisions. When employees understand the bigger picture, they’re more likely to feel engaged and motivated.

Clear and open communication channels can include in-person meetings, emails, messaging platforms, and even anonymous suggestion boxes. Make sure employees are aware of how to communicate their ideas, concerns, and feedback.

Regular feedback and performance evaluations

When considering how to improve employee experience, one aspect is employee development and growth—and those feedback and performance evaluations are critical in this area.

Here’s a few ideas on how employers can effectively manage this:

  • Regular performance reviews: It’s a good idea to conduct regular performance reviews at least annually. This is to assess employees’ progress in contributions and is an opportunity to discuss strengths, areas for improvement, and career goals.
  • Constructive feedback: When providing feedback be sure to focus on specific behaviors, outcomes, or actions rather than making the conversation personal. Employers should also encourage a growth mindset by discussing how employees can improve.

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#5. Recognize and reward employees

If you want a motivated, engaged, and high-performing workplace, then it’s necessary to recognize and reward your employees. When they feel valued and appreciated, they’re more likely to remain committed to their work and to the organization.

Here are a few key areas where this aspect of an effective employee experience framework can be achieved:

Employee recognition programs

These are structured initiatives designed to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions and achievements of your employees. And while their primary goal is to create a culture of appreciation, these programs can take various forms. Having said that, regardless of the form, each type of program should adhere to the following:

  • Clearly defined criteria: In order to ensure fairness and consistency, it’s important to establish clear criteria for recognition. This should include an outline of what you consider outstanding performance to be, such as meeting or exceeding goals, demonstrating exceptional teamwork, or just going above and beyond.
  • Different recognition methods: Be sure to offer a variety of ways to recognize employees, all the way from formal award ceremonies to informal gestures of appreciation.
  • Tangible rewards: Some employees will prefer tangible rewards, so including things like bonuses, gift cards, certificates, and more should be considered.

Further reading: 6 types of employee recognition

#6. Incentives and rewards for outstanding performance

When considering how to improve employee experience, keep in mind that incentives and rewards are excellent tools to motivate employees to achieve outstanding performance.

Recognition programs focus on acknowledging past achievements, but incentives and rewards are typically forward-looking and can be used to encourage your desired behaviors and results.

Consider these:

  • Performance-based incentives: Try tying incentives directly to performance metrics, such as sales targets, project completion, or quality improvement
  • Monetary rewards: Things like performance bonuses, profit-sharing, or commission-based compensation are effective motivators for many employees
  • Non-monetary rewards: Depending on an employee’s extrinsic motivations, things like additional paid time off, flexible work arrangements, or professional development opportunities may be better incentives

#7. Promote work engagement and motivation

Want to elevate employee experience and create a productive and satisfied workforce? Then promoting work engagement and motivation by encouraging autonomy and ownership is essential.

Here’s how:

Encourage autonomy and ownership

First of all, autonomy in the workplace refers to giving employees freedom and authority to make decisions on how they perform their work—within your set boundaries. This allows them to take ownership of their tasks and responsibilities. 

The benefits of autonomy:

  • Increased motivation: Employees who were granted autonomy have a greater sense of control and responsibility, which can lead to higher levels of motivation. Employees who have a say in how they approach their work are more likely to be invested in the process.
  • Improved creativity: Employees who have the freedom to explore new ideas and methods often contribute fresh perspectives to projects, since autonomy encourages creative problem-solving and innovation.
  • Higher job satisfaction: When given the degree of autonomy, employees feel trusted and empowered, which will boost job satisfaction. Additionally, when they’re satisfied with their work environment, they’re more likely to remain engaged and committed.

#8. Offer opportunities for growth and advancement

Providing employees with a chance to grow and advance in their career path encourages engagement, which can lead to employee retention, better performance, better talent, and more.

Here are a few opportunities that can help deliver a better employee experience:

  • Career development planning: Encourage employees to create and regularly update their career development plans. This should be an outline of their career goals, strengths, weaknesses, and the steps they need to take to advance within the organization.
  • Training and development programs: Provide access to training programs, workshops, and courses that can help them enhance their skills and competencies. The advantages to this are twofold—these opportunities improve employee performance, but they also demonstrate your organization’s commitment to their growth. 
  • Mentoring and coaching: Implement mentoring and coaching programs that pair experienced employees and leaders with anyone seeking guidance and professional development. Mentorship can provide valuable insights and networking opportunities.

#9. Wellness and well-being initiatives

These are important initiatives for any organization that wants to create a healthy, supportive, and productive workplace, and also include efforts aimed at promoting employees’ mental and physical health.

Consider implementing the following in your organization to beef up employee experience:

Provide mental and physical health support

Over the last few decades, there’s been growing recognition of the importance of mental health in the workplace. Employers are increasingly taking steps to reduce the stigma of mental health issues and promote open conversations about mental well-being.

Support can be offered in several ways:

Access to counseling services: Many organizations offer access to counseling services or employee assistance programs that provide confidential support for any employee dealing with personal or work-related stress, depression, or any other mental health challenge.

Flexible work arrangements: If you do have employees struggling with mental health issues, consider offering flexible work arrangements to help them manage their issues. This allows them to create a work environment that best suits their needs.

Stress reduction programs: This could include things like mindfulness training, meditation sessions, or stress management workshops. They can help employees develop the coping strategies they need to deal with any workplace stressors.

#10. Put wellness programs and resources in place

In addition to the above, consider the following:

  • Health and wellness education: Give employees educational resources on topics like nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress management. Workshops are webinars on any of these subjects can promote healthier lifestyles.
  • Fitness and physical activity: Offer fitness activities or discounts to gym memberships. You can also encourage physical activity by organizing fitness challenges, walking clubs, or yoga classes.
  • Ergonomics and workspace design: Ensure that everyone’s workspace is ergonomically designed to reduce the risk of physical strain or injury. Make sure they have ergonomic tools, such as adjustable chairs and or standing desks.
  • Mental health first aid training: Train both managers and employees in mental health first aid. This can help equip them with the skills to recognize signs of mental distress and provide initial support.

#11. Continuous improvement and adaptation

Improving employee experience isn’t one and done. It’s important to regularly review and update your strategies while being open to feedback and making necessary changes when they arise.

Here are some ideas on how to accomplish that:

Regularly review and update employee experience strategies

First, you’re going to need to align your strategies with your broader organizational goals and objectives. Regular reviews help ensure that your strategies remain consistent with your company’s mission and vision.

Pay attention to the following and develop some new rules for a better employee experience:

  • Dynamic work environments: Thanks to technology, industry trends, and workforce demographics, the modern workplace is constantly evolving. What used to work efficiently may not anymore. Regular reviews are essential to ensure that employee experience strategies remain aligned with the current and changing state of the organization.
  • Competitive advantage: If you want to stay competitive, you need to adapt to changing employee expectations. Companies that regularly assess and improve their employee experience are more likely to attract and retain top talent.
  • Agility and adaptability: Today’s business environment demands agility and adaptability. Reviewing and updating employee experience strategies helps put the organization in a better position to respond quickly to changing circumstances, such as economic shifts or global crises.

#12. Be open to feedback and make necessary changes

Taking time to research how to improve employee experience is admirable. Implementing new strategies is certainly a step in the right direction, but something else is involved. Since employee experience is ultimately about the employee, you need to pay attention to feedback.

Here’s a few suggestions on how to do that:

  • Collect feedback: Provide multiple channels for employees to give feedback. This could include surveys, suggestion boxes, one-on-one meetings, or focus groups. Actively encourage them to share their opinions, concerns, and suggestions.
  • Anonymous feedback: Make sure employees have the option to provide anonymous feedback, since this encourages more honest and candid responses, particularly when addressing sensitive issues.
  • Action plans: Develop action plans that are based on feedback analysis. Clearly define any steps that will be taken to address issues that were identified and make necessary improvements.
  • Accountability: Assign responsibility for implementing changes and ensuring that they’re effective. Hold all individuals and teams accountable for driving improvements.


Clearly, there’s a lot involved in improving employee experience. Creating a workplace where employees feel valued, engaged, and motivated requires a holistic approach. 

To recap, we’ve discussed:

Create a supportive work environment by:

  • Encouraging psychological safety
  • Fostering a culture of inclusivity and diversity
  • Providing professional development opportunities

Recognize the importance of effective communication and feedback by: 

  • Establishing transparent communication channels
  • Conducting regular feedback and performance evaluations

Reward and recognize employees by:

  • Implementing employee recognition programs
  • Offering incentives and rewards for outstanding performance

Promote work engagement and motivation by:

  • Encouraging autonomy and ownership
  • Offering opportunities for growth and advancement

Provide wellness and well-being initiatives by:

  • Supporting mental and physical health
  • Providing wellness programs and resources

Ensure continuous improvement and adaptation by:

  • Regularly reviewing and updating employee experience strategies
  • Being open to feedback and making the necessary changes

Investing in employee experience is a strategic necessity. Why? It enhances retention, attracts top talent, boosts productivity, fosters innovation, and ensures a positive workplace culture. These benefits translate into cost savings, improved brand reputation, and overall resilience in the organization, meaning it can be a critical driver for success.

In one simple, succinct sentence, good employee experience equals organizational success.


Engagement is not enough

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Gabe Scorgie

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