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How to Create an Employee Experience that Makes Staff Stay

Coral Drake | August 17, 2023 |

employee management Featured
How to Create an Employee Experience that Makes Staff Stay

Employee experience encompasses everything from the physical work environment, to how employees relate to leaders and one another, to how they maintain a work-life balance.

Creating an environment where employees feel valued, engaged, and empowered not only boosts employee retention but also drives creativity, productivity, and overall company success. Here’s why employee experience matters, and how to create a great one at your company.

Why Cater to Employee Experience (Other Than Saving on Wages)?

A great work experience significantly factors into employee retention, even in the face of tempting competing offers. Research indicates nearly half of employees would forgo a 20% raise in exchange for management that gives them greater engagement in their work. 

Conversely, employees will leave a business that doesn’t engage them for nominally higher pay. Turnover rates are up to 40% higher in teams with low engagement. According to one study, 58% of respondents said happiness is more important than salary. 

So, engaged employees are more likely to stay. But why else does engagement matter?

Engaged Employees are More Creative 

Engaged employees are more likely to engage in creative thinking. When employees bring creativity to their work the result is innovative solutions and ideas that drive business growth. 

Fostering a happy, exciting work environment enables companies to unlock their employees' creative potential, improving work outcomes as well as the employee experience.

Happy Employees Deliver Better Customer Service

Employee mood has a direct and quantitative effect on the quality of customer service. When employees are happy, they are more likely to provide a positive and friendly customer experience. 

According to a PwC report, 42% of customers would pay more for such an experience, and 65% stated that a positive customer service experience influenced them more than advertising. By promoting employee happiness you also give customer loyalty a boost.

Happiness Enhances Productivity

Happiness doesn't just make the workplace a more enjoyable place; it also boosts productivity. A study by Oxford found that happy employees were more efficient, completing more work in less time. They recorded 13% higher sales than their less happy counterparts.

Investing in employee happiness can lead to significant productivity gains. You may even make enough to give your employees that raise you’ve been trying to avoid!

How to Create an Employee Experience that Makes Staff Stay

Be a Good Leader

In the heart of every thriving workplace lies a network of positive relationships. These connections, nurtured by leaders, play a pivotal role in shaping employee experience. They foster a sense of belonging, boost morale, and enhance productivity. 

Just like in a classroom, where teachers set the rules and expectations for student behavior, it’s up to leaders in the workplace to clearly define acceptable behavior. 

A classroom work environment doesn't mean crossing professional boundaries. It means creating a sense of genuine care and support by recognizing employees' efforts, celebrating their successes, and supporting them through challenges. 

Fostering a culture where everyone is encouraged to succeed and where each person's contribution is valued enhances the employee experience and boosts loyalty and retention.

Here are a few ways to infuse the behavior you want into every aspect of the employee experience. 

  • Handle disagreements impartially: Disagreements are inevitable in any workplace. However, the way they're handled can make all the difference. When decisions are based on facts and not personal biases leaders create a sense of fairness and trust within the team.
  • Encourage emotional intelligence. Leaders should be slow to emotional responses. This doesn't mean suppressing emotions, but rather understanding and managing them effectively. It's about responding rather than reacting to build a calm, stable company culture where employees feel safe to express their thoughts and feelings and know how to do so appropriately.
  • Cultivate creativity and openness. A culture of creative thinking, where every suggestion is considered and innovation is rewarded, boosts productivity while making employees feel valued and engaged.
  • Intolerance for intolerance. Intolerance has no place in a company striving for employee engagement and retention. Leaders must ensure that every employee, regardless of their background and views, feels valued and respected. Any form of discrimination or harassment must be dealt with swiftly and decisively.

Actively Build Your Team

Team-building activities may seem unrelated to the daily work of employees, but they serve a crucial purpose in employee retention. They provide a platform for employees to interact in a non-work context, allowing them to get to know each other on a personal level. This familiarity breeds trust and understanding and creates a sense of unity which is vital for effective collaboration.

Moreover, these activities equip employees with practical skills to work together under high-stress situations. They learn to communicate effectively, solve problems collaboratively, and support each other, which translates into improved performance in the workplace. 

Games on equal footing set aside hierarchy, experience level, and other work-related obstacles to open collaboration and joint problem-solving. 

When employees see their leaders participating, having fun, and working alongside them it humanizes them and builds a healthy camaraderie. 

Team-Building Ideas

There's a wide array of team-building activities to choose from to build into your company culture, each with its unique benefits. Here are a few options:

  • Volunteering: Organizing a day of service for a local charity not only brings the team together but also gives them a sense of accomplishment and purpose. In this podcast episode, learn how Maple Street Biscuit Company empowers their restaurant employees to participate in an annual Day of Good. 
  • Sports activities: Whether it's a game of soccer, a bowling night, or a boxing class, sports activities are a fun way to foster teamwork and healthy competition.
  • Cooking Competitions: A cook-off can be a great way to foster teamwork. Divide the team into groups, give them a theme or ingredients, and let the best dish win!
  • Escape Room Challenges: These games require the team to work together to solve puzzles and escape a locked room. It's a fun way to enhance problem-solving skills and teamwork.

Foster Work-Life Balance

In today's fast-paced, increasingly digital, post-Covid world, employees are seeking more equality between work and life. They want control over their lives and schedules, and they value their time outside work just as much as their time at work.

Good work-life balance is crucial for employee happiness. It reduces stress, prevents burnout, and improves overall well-being. Moreover, it makes employees feel valued as individuals, not just as workers. 

The best way to learn what your employees want regarding work-life balance is to ask them. Every employee experience is different. Each employee has different needs at work and home.

Some employees may want more time for school or family. Others hope for overtime to increase earnings when they need it, or a flexible schedule to accommodate a hobby. That said, here are a few ideas for improving work-life balance at you workplace:

  • Increased Paid Time Off (PTO): Providing ample vacation time allows employees to rest, recharge, and spend quality time with their loved ones, enabling greater creativity and engagement when they return.
  • Paid Hours for Non-Work Activities: Paid hours for activities like volunteering or attending school shows the company values personal growth and community involvement.
  • Company-Sponsored Wellness Activities: Meditation sessions, yoga classes, or therapy improve employees’ mental and physical health.
  • Predictable Work Schedules: Allowing employees to know their work hours in advance can significantly improve work-life balance without hurting the company’s bottom line.

Enable Employee Advancement

Investing in an employee's advancement may seem counterintuitive. After all, why encourage a star performer to move beyond their current role when they're already excelling? 

Employees who see no growth opportunities in their current roles will eventually seek them elsewhere. However, when employees feel that their company is invested in their growth and advancement, they're likely to reciprocate with increased loyalty, productivity, and commitment. 

Given opportunities to grow with a company they love, employees may be more likely to stay, even for lower wages or a less esteemed position. 

Strategies for Promoting Employee Advancement

  • Formal Mentoring Programs: Pairing less experienced employees with seasoned professionals provides them with valuable insights, guidance, and support. 
  • Courses and Industry Certifications: Encouraging employees to pursue relevant courses or industry certifications makes them better employees in the short term and enables them a course to grow within your company in the long term. 
  • Personal Development Plans: These plans outline an employee's career goals and the steps needed to achieve them. They provide a roadmap for advancement and show the company's commitment to the employee's growth.


The benefits of a positive employee experience range from increased employee retention and creativity to improved customer service and productivity. A great company culture doesn’t just enable you to keep employees without paying them more. It makes your employees more productive and your company more successful.