Business Leadership Today

Employee Experience Best Practices for 2024 and Beyond


Matt Tenney, Author of Inspire Greatness: How to Motivate Employees with a Simple, Repeatable, Scalable Process

A startling statistic reveals that 49% of employees feel their organization isn’t delivering on the experience they promised. This underscores the urgent need for organizations to prioritize and implement employee experience best practices.

Organizations that prioritize employee experience and implement best practices to ensure a positive experience for all employees tend to have a more engaged workforce, leading to improved business outcomes.

While there are many different approaches leaders can take to improve the employee experience, I believe the best approach is to meet employees’ needs for engaging and thriving at work. 

In a previous article, I discussed the universal needs that employees have for excelling at work. These 14 drivers of employee engagement are strongly linked to the employee experience. When you support a positive employee experience, you meet these needs and improve engagement. 

There are a few best practices based on these universal needs for thriving that enhance the employee experience and boost engagement in the process.

Employee experience best practices include providing clarity and needed resources, fostering growth and trust, empowering excellence and autonomy, recognizing strengths and achievements, emphasizing purpose and well-being, engaging in active listening and feedback, and cultivating belonging and caring leadership.

This article will explore some of the best practices that can help enhance the overall employee experience. By following these best practices, employers can ensure their employees feel valued, supported, and motivated to contribute to the organization’s success.

Providing Clarity and Needed Resources

Employees need clarity on job expectations and the necessary resources to meet those expectations. 

Need: Clarity of Expectations

Clarity of expectations is crucial in organizations. It involves ensuring each team member understands their role, responsibilities, and how their work aligns with company objectives. 

For example, a project manager may outline project goals, assign tasks, and explain their relevance to the project timeline. A sales manager might set clear targets for salespeople, equipping them with the strategies and tools they need to hit them. 

Need: Having the Tools Required to Do One’s Job

Having the right tools to do one’s job is essential in any work environment. Employees need the required resources to excel in their roles. Without them, they can’t achieve greatness.

For example, a graphic designer would need access to design software like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, while a software developer would need a robust code editor and a powerful computer to excel in their role. A salesperson might need a reliable Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to track leads and customer interactions. 

Fostering Growth and Trust

To have a positive employee experience, employees need to feel they are growing personally and professionally. This requires a high degree of trust between leaders and team members. 

Need: Growth

Supporting employees in their growth and development is crucial. This involves providing opportunities for professional development and career advancement. For instance, offering training programs, workshops, or courses can help employees acquire new skills and knowledge.

Consider an employee who aspires to move into a leadership role. Providing them with opportunities to lead projects or teams can be a valuable learning experience. 

Need: Trust

Building trust within a team is fundamental to a healthy work environment. This can be achieved by being transparent and forthright with employees. For example, sharing company updates, both positive and negative, can foster a sense of trust and openness.

Trusting employees with responsibilities and decision-making can demonstrate faith in their abilities. For instance, allowing a team member to lead a project can boost their confidence and reinforce trust.

Empowering Excellence and Autonomy

Employees want to achieve excellence, and they are more motivated to achieve it when they can work with autonomy.

Need: Excellence

Encouraging employees to strive for excellence in their work is essential. This can be achieved by setting high standards, providing constructive feedback, and recognizing outstanding performance. 

Creating a culture that values continuous learning and improvement can motivate employees to excel. This could involve offering professional development opportunities, such as training programs or workshops.

Need: Autonomy

Empowering employees to take ownership of their work by supporting autonomy is a powerful strategy. This approach can significantly boost their confidence and engagement levels. 

For example, allowing a project manager to make key decisions about project timelines and resource allocation can foster a sense of responsibility and ownership. Giving software developers the freedom to choose their programming languages or frameworks can enhance their commitment to the task. 

Recognizing Strengths and Achievements

Employees like to do work that leverages their strengths. Recognizing and leveraging their strengths helps them achieve great things. Showing appreciation for those achievements supports a positive employee experience and helps employees stay engaged. 

Need: Doing Work That Leverages One’s Strengths

In any work environment, it’s crucial to assign tasks that allow employees to utilize their unique strengths. This approach optimizes productivity, significantly increases job satisfaction, and improves the employee experience.

For instance, if an employee has a knack for public speaking and building relationships, they might excel in a client-facing role such as sales or customer service. On the other hand, an employee with strong analytical skills might be better suited for roles that involve data analysis or strategic planning.

Need: Appreciation / Recognition

Regular recognition and appreciation of employees’ efforts are key to a positive employee experience. This can boost morale, motivation, and satisfaction. For instance, a manager might acknowledge an employee’s project success in a team meeting or through a thank-you note. 

Recognition isn’t just for big achievements; consistent punctuality, a positive attitude, or teamwork can also be acknowledged, making employees feel valued and motivated.

Emphasizing Purpose and Well-Being

Employees are more engaged with their work and happy in their roles when they feel that their work has meaning beyond their day-to-day duties. Engaging in purposeful work improves their well-being, which is essential for a positive employee experience. 

Need: Meaningful Work

Helping employees understand how their work contributes to the company’s mission is vital. Emphasizing the purpose behind tasks makes work more meaningful and engaging. For example, a software developer might feel more motivated if they understand how their code improves the user experience or solves a customer problem.

Regularly communicating the company’s goals, values, and vision can also help employees see the bigger picture. A company-wide meeting or newsletter can highlight recent achievements and their impact on the company’s mission.

Need: Well-Being

Implementing policies that support employees’ physical and mental well-being is crucial. Offering flexible work hours or remote work options, for example, can help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance. Workplace wellness programs can also promote physical health. 

Additionally, providing access to mental health resources, like counseling services or stress management workshops, and fostering an inclusive work environment can support employees’ mental and emotional well-being.

Engaging in Active Listening and Feedback

Employees need to feel heard and valued. When you are receptive to their feedback and take action on it, it makes them feel heard. 

Need: Feeling Heard

Creating an environment where employees feel their opinions are valued and heard is essential. This can be achieved by engaging in open dialogue and encouraging feedback. For example, regular team meetings can be a platform for employees to voice their suggestions and concerns.

Additionally, suggestion boxes or anonymous surveys can provide a safe space for employees to express their thoughts. Managers can also have one-on-one meetings with their team members to better understand their perspectives.

Need: Feedback

Regular, constructive feedback is vital in the workplace and helps employees identify strengths and areas for improvement. For instance, a manager might give feedback on a presentation, praising clarity but suggesting more supporting data. 

Encouraging a two-way feedback culture is also important, with platforms like team meetings or anonymous surveys allowing employees to share thoughts on decisions or policies.

Cultivating Belonging and Caring Leadership

A positive employee experience is one in which employees feel like they belong in the organization and feel supported and valued by leadership. 

Need: Belonging

Fostering a sense of belonging in the workplace involves building a supportive and inclusive culture. For instance, team-building activities can help employees form connections and understand each other better.

Inclusive practices, such as ensuring diversity in teams and decision-making processes, can also contribute to a sense of belonging. For example, a company could implement a mentorship program that pairs newer employees with more experienced ones, promoting a sense of community and shared learning.

Need: Feeling Cared for by Their Supervisor

Training supervisors to be supportive and caring toward their team members is one of the most important strategies for creating a positive employee experience. This can be achieved through leadership development programs that emphasize empathy and effective communication.

For example, a supervisor could regularly check in with their team members through one-to-one meetings to understand their challenges and provide necessary support. This could be as simple as asking about their day or as specific as discussing project-related issues.

Matt Tenney has been working to help organizations develop leaders who improve employee engagement and performance since 2012. He is the author of three leadership books, including the groundbreaking, highly acclaimed book Inspire Greatness: How to Motivate Employees with a Simple, Repeatable, Scalable Process.

Matt’s ideas have been featured in major media outlets and his clients include numerous national associations and Fortune 500 companies.

He is often invited to deliver keynote speeches at conferences and leadership meetings, and is known for delivering valuable, actionable insights in a way that is memorable and deeply inspiring.

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