The Employee Experience

This is a relatively new term - Definition: Employee experience encapsulates what people encounter, observe or feel over the course of their employee journey at an organization.

We seem to spend tons of time engineering the processes in organizations (lean, six-sigma, TQM, re-engineering, etc.), yet we seem to ignore the core value creation system...people. I am as guilty as the next person of ignoring the "human system", so I thought I'd create a draft for you to consider:

So, this is the "Employee Experience" system. This is the most important system in any organization, and it does not "have an app"... no hardware, no software; just wet-ware (our hands and minds).

This is a relatively new term - Definition: Employee experience encapsulates what people encounter, observe or feel over the course of their employee journey at an organization.

There are three key elements (in no particular order) - The technology used by the employees, the level of employee engagement, and the quality of the facilities in which we work.

A more detailed (30,000') view would look like this:

The obvious question is "Why care?"

I see this enabling us to do a bunch of important things:

  1. Understand how to measure the human system.
  2. Understand how to manage the human system.
  3. As a diagnostic - understand which node is weak in your organization, in order to fix it - Or better yet, understand which of the up-stream ('inputs') is causing the downstream node to be failing.
  4. Understand where point-solutions (like OKRs ) fit in and what parts they miss.
  5. Identify what best-practices your organization should consider.

We will look into these in subsequent postings.

How to read this

Here's how I read this... the stuff on the far left (Mission, Vision Values) are the origins of the organization... the foundation that everything is built on. The stuff to the right explains the cause-and-effect relationships between these elements.

A huge number of books have been written on each of these elements - within the "Employee Experience" we are more concerned about the overall system.

Mission, Vision, Values

We have drawn mission, vision, and values as the core inputs on the left of the diagrams. For the purposes of this article, I don't care where they came from... there are other articles and books you can read on how these are developed.

The stuff to the right of these three elements shows how these are used to enable the employee experience.

Organizations often 'go through the routine' of setting Mission, Vision and Values without thinking through how it impacts the organization… or figuring out how weak Mission, Vision and Values impacts our employees. Why? Because the relationship of Mission,Vision and Values to the employee experience seems too nebulous.

This diagram tries to show the major components.


A strategy is developed directly from the foundation of the organization’s Mission and Vision… combined with a bunch of other things that are well beyond the scope of this simple model. (I only included them here to explain where they fit into this model)


Culture is no surprise - or black box - culture is the orchestrated result of formed (and practiced) values, and the influence of your own people as well as the interaction with customers and suppliers. It is completely measurable and manageable.

Processes and Projects

The activities that people do (the processes and projects within our organizations) are crafted from the strategy and what is received from your suppliers (and sub-contractors) and provided to your customers. They are enacted through software systems, policies and procedures.

The Employee Experience - 20,000'

Finally, we get to the issue... what drives the work we do. The inputs are clear: The processes and projects we work in & on, the competencies we have, our level of engagement and how we are rewarded.

Now what?

This posting is a fishing exercise... I am fishing for feedback. You are looking at the second iteration. You can reach us through our social networks (found down below) and provide your insights! Later on, we will explore each of the above "Why care?" questions.

Brett Knowles

Brett Knowles is a thought leader in the Strategy Execution space for high-tech organizations. His client work has been published in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Fortune, and many other business publications.

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