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Difference between employee engagement and employee experience

Employee engagement is one area of employee experience. Employee experience concerns an employee’s entire journey, start-to-finish at a company.

Krishan Patel image

Written by Krishan Patel

1 Mar, 2023  –  5 mins read

To create a workplace environment where employees truly thrive, investing in employee engagement and crafting a positive employee experience is vital. But wait, aren’t they both the same thing? Many people use employee experience and engagement interchangeably, but while the two are linked, they have important differences.

Curious to find out more? Let’s take a closer look at the difference between employee experience and engagement and how the two work together to make for a happier and more productive workforce.

What is employee experience?

Employee experience, also known as EX, involves every interaction a worker has with your organisation throughout their entire workplace journey.

It begins the moment an employee is onboarded through to post-exit interviews and comprises all aspects of their day-to-day working life. This includes the people they work with, their relationship with their manager, the processes and technology they use, and their culture and environment.

In an increasingly remote working environment, employees have more options available to them. A decent salary is generally looked on favourably, but on its own is simply not enough to retain the best employees, and current staff and job seekers now expect a lot more from their employers. Employee experience has become an integral component in attracting and retaining talent, so much so in fact that 77% of job seekers now consider it to be the deciding factor.

What are the elements of employee experience?

Creating a positive employee experience involves several key elements throughout the employee lifecycle, including the following

Onboarding and training

First impressions count, so even before their first day, your employer brand, technology, and communications all make an impact. Once they do start, particularly if in a remote environment, having the right training and support and managers knowing how to engage with remote employees enhances the employee experience.


A positive workplace culture can have a huge impact on employee experience. Having shared values, giving recognition and praise, and creating a sense of togetherness all have a positive effect.

Technology and processes

Making sure the right technology, resources, and processes are in place can make your teams’ work easier, provide flexibility and improve communications that all enhance employee experience.

Growth and personal development

Most of us want to be challenged, learn new skills, and continue to grow in our roles. Upskilling your staff, providing diverse learning opportunities, and setting out clear career paths all contribute to a great employee experience.

Communication and engagement

Effective communication and employee engagement throughout the employee journey are critical to an employee experience that will attract and keep the best talent.

What is employee engagement?

Employee experience is about what you as an employer provide, or in other words, the input. Employee engagement is about how your employees feel, or in other words, the output. Employee engagement is really all about how much your staff enjoy their work. It’s a measure of how positive, energised and productive they are, and how closely aligned and loyal to your company they feel.

Engaged employees typically have strong relationships with teammates and colleagues, are motivated to do a good job, feel connected to the company mission and are intrinsically driven to learn and grow within the organisation.

Keen to delve deeper into modern-day employee engagement and why it’s more important than ever? Take a peek at our 2023 report on the state of employee engagement.

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What are elements of employee engagement?

An effective employee engagement strategy should thread various engagement activities throughout all areas of the employee lifecycle. Some common areas of focus for employee engagement include the following.

Social connection

People who have a best friend at work are much more likely to feel engaged and happy in the workplace. Encouraging team members to get to know each other with fun and diverse social activities helps people connect on a more personal level. Don’t forget your remote employees and make sure you’re including and communicating with “deskless” employees too.

Trust in senior leadership

Effective employee engagement starts at the top. Be a present, visible, open, and transparent leader, and show your workforce how it’s done.

Strong manager relationships

Managers have the biggest impact on how engaged employees feel. Managers who set clear goals, support their staff and genuinely care about their team foster positive engagement. Managers who are engaged also spread that positivity throughout the workforce. Putting effort into professionally training your management team and providing them with the necessary tools and resources is definitely an investment worth making.

Meaningful work

When employees feel they are contributing meaningfully to company goals they are far more likely to stay engaged. Giving your team the right tools, granting autonomy, and empowering them to take ownership and responsibility for their work areas helps staff find purpose and meaning in their work.

Comfortable work environment

A safe, comfortable, and welcoming environment adds to how engaged employees feel. This could look like good lighting, artwork, or greenery in their physical environment, or the right equipment and open channels of communication in a remote one.

Aligning employee engagement with employee experience

When thinking about employee experience vs employee engagement it’s important to acknowledge that both are different but interlinked.

Employee experience encompasses the external factors and actions controlled by you as the employer, factors like the technology used, the learning and development opportunities provided, and the team culture created. Employee experience essentially sets the conditions required for producing employee engagement, or in other words, how happy and valued your workforce feels. 

For example, suppose your employees are unhappy with the technology, management, and office facilities. In that case, they’re less likely to be engaged and motivated to work hard for your company. But, if you as an employer focus on employee experience, provide high-quality technology, first-rate facilities, and have a supportive, effective management team, your employees are much more likely to be engaged, productive and ultimately achieve better results for your business.

When designing your employee experience strategy, your ultimate goal should be to foster positive employee engagement, creating the conditions required to help engagement thrive. You’ll likely find that your goals and areas of improvement often overlap with your employee engagement strategy so it’s vital to make sure that you treat employee experience and employee engagement holistically rather than in isolation.

Align your employee experience initiatives with your employee engagement goals. For example, if you know an area of weakness in your engagement is the onboarding process, then targeting employee experience actions in this area. You could fully digitalise processes or improve induction training, heightening your employee experience and enhancing overall employee engagement.

Improve employee experience and engagement with Seenit User-Generated Videos

When thinking about improvements to employee experience and engagement, it’s essential to consider how best to implement and communicate those improvements too.

Consider using different channels that can help broaden your reach and more effectively engage your workforce. Video is one of the most effective methods for engaging your staff, as 66% of people prefer short video on social media. Viewers also retain 95% of the content or message when watching a video compared to 10% retention when reading text. Harness the power of Seenit’s User-Generated video solution to help you better achieve your employee experience and engagement goals.

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