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What is “Employee Experience”?

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As an old UX person, I have often answered the question what I actually do: “UX makes users happy! ”. Accordingly, ‘Employee Experience’ makes employees happy. It is as simple as that.

This is almost the opposite of “employer branding” – to exaggerate a little, a company tries to present itself as well as possible in order to attract as many applicants as possible in the “war for talent”. The company is the focus of attention. For us, the employees should be the focus of attention, whereby we (must) always think of the company as a system.

Amazon provides three American books1 in the search for “Employee Experience” (hereinafter ‘EX’), which understand the term in part very mechanistically:

  • “Employee Experience Advantage” (Morgan, 2019) includes not only the culture but also the physical workplace and (IT) tools
  • “Employee Experience” (Whitter, 2019) sees EX as a means to an end: Happy employees:inside are more productive
  • “The Employee Experience” (Maylett, Wride, 2017) collects examples from all over the world of how a positive EX has been/is created. This book takes the broadest and least technical approach

We do not see EX as a means to an end – EX should be an objective of entrepreneurial action. We understand EX very broadly – culture is not the appendix of space and tools, but the centre of action.

Wikipedia has two entries: Employee Experience Management and Employee Experience Design – one relates EX to “HR products and services”, i.e. very close to “UX for HR”; the other sees ‘EEM’ as a tool to ultimately optimize the customer experience. EX as a comprehensive concept is not formulated.

Since about 2 years there are (once again) in the West of America Employee Experience Managers in the HR departments of the GAFAs2 of this world. If the trend spills over to Germany (and usually it should be now), please let us do this in the good old tradition of the social market economy – with our hearts in it and in full responsibility for all stakeholders of our companies, with a focus on a lively and appreciative culture that does not (only) emphasize the technical aspects of EX.

Employee Experience’ makes employees happy. It’s as simple as that. Employee Experience describes the sum of all experiences that employees have with a company – and they should be as positive as possible.


Photo by Husna Miskandar on Unsplash

  1. as of 6.3.2020
  2. GAFA = Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon

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