Eko How-to

Which is which: employee engagement vs. employee experience

While often interchanged, employee engagement and employee experience are different concepts but similarly crucial to your employees. We give you the difference between the two and show you how they can help you impact your organization.

April 10, 2020
Angelique Parungao

As employees find more meaning in their work, companies realized that to ensure loyalty and retention, they should provide a more enriching work experience for their workforce. Employers learned that employees are no longer just reward-driven; they also want to be empowered and valued to perform their best. Thus, the shift to employee engagement in the workplace.

With workplaces continually evolving, so do the ways organizations try to keep their best talents. More than ever, they are now providing a more personalized and authentic experience at work. Hence, the rise of the employee experience era. 

But aren’t employee engagement and employee experience the same concept? Well, not at all. While often interchanged, employee engagement and employee experience are distinct in the terminologies; they are also different in how they affect the workplace. 

So what’s the difference between these two?

According to Gallup, employee engagement is an ongoing part of the employee journey, while employee experience is the journey an employee takes with the company. Human Resources publication All Things Talent further distinguishes the two, saying that “Employee engagement is related to how the organization travels the extra mile to create a positive attitude and behavior among its employees.” In contrast, employee experience is the “total sum of the employee’s perceptions about their interaction with the organization on a day-to-day basis.” 

Do they complement each other?

Yes, they do. Both employee engagement and employee experience can make a significant impact on your relationship with your employees. Simply put, if you have a good employee engagement, it will yield a positive experience for your employees. Encompassing the entire employee lifecycle looks into how an organization can provide a better journey for its employees. 

Remember, though, that the employee lifecycle does not only start when they join your company. It begins as soon as you touch base with them during recruitment. Employee experience champion Josh Bersin shares, “Candidates assess future employers from the very start of the talent acquisition experience and make quick judgments about what life will be like for them in the organization, based on how they interact with the enterprise during the recruiting cycle.” And the more time they spend as your employee, the more they will want to have a fulfilling employee experience that gives them purpose, meaning, and be the best at work. 

Bersin says that to deliver the best employee experience, organizations should utilize an employee experience platform (EXP). Providing a holistic solution, an EXP can address pain points at any stage of your employee’s life cycle and eventually create a more engaged workforce invested not just in their work but also in the relationships they cultivated in the company. 

Ultimately, employee engagement happens organically when employers provide a good environment, the right tools, and opportunities to grow — all of which a good employee experience can provide. 

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