13 Steps for Designing Your Employee Experience

13 Steps for Designing Your Employee Experience

The employee experience (EX) is often overlooked. Companies try to build a positive company culture and offer a variety of benefits, but employee experience is more than happy hours and paid time off. 

Employee experience design (EXD) can help you design a digital workplace environment that improves employee engagement, satisfaction, and productivity. 

Here’s everything you need to know about what employee experience design is and how to create an EXD strategy.

What Is Employee Experience Design?

Employee experience design is the process of creating a positive work environment for your workforce. It uses the same principles as customer experience design to ensure employee needs are met throughout the employee lifecycle, starting with recruitment and onboarding and ending with offboarding. 

A well-designed employee experience can improve employee engagement and satisfaction. Key elements of employee experience include: 

  • Learning and development: Providing the right resources, training, and skill development to ensure employees are challenged and engaged. 
  • Tools and technologies: Equipping employees with the software and technology they need to do their job effectively.
  • Performance support: Enabling employees to accomplish their goals and daily tasks through contextual performance support, guided experiences, and process documentation.
  • Culture and values: Creating a holistic company culture that matches employees’ personal values and expectations. 
  • Wellness and well-being: Enabling employees to take control of their physical and mental health.
  • Feedback and recognition: Supporting employee growth and recognizing and rewarding positive employee contributions.

13 Steps to Create an Effective Employee Experience Design Strategy

Here’s how you can get started building an employee experience design strategy.

1. Define clear objectives and goals

The first step of any successful strategy is to define your goals and objectives. What do you hope to achieve by implementing an employee experience strategy? Some examples include: 

  • Improved employee engagement
  • Keeping employees aware of company-wide changes
  • Better work-life balance
  • Boosting employee performance
  • Boosting talent acquisition and retention
  • More diversity and inclusion

When choosing your goals, talk to your teams to better understand what gaps they’re experiencing in the existing employee experience. Working with employees to set your objectives ensures you’re working towards a common goal and helps get them more invested in your future success.

2. Gather employee feedback

When your goals are set, collect feedback and insights from your team. Ask them to share the areas they feel need to be improved and where they feel you’re already doing a good job. 

It’s best to collect this kind of feedback anonymously. Employees may be hesitant to share their true feelings if they’re worried it could reflect poorly on them in the future. Give your team an opportunity to share their unfiltered opinions without fearing negative consequences or retaliation. 

If possible, collect feedback or insights from past employees as well. Larger companies can use job review boards and social media to see what previous employees liked and didn’t like about working at the company.

3. Segment your employees into cohorts

Your employees will likely have different experiences depending on their positions, responsibilities, and locations. Trying to appeal to all employees the same way will lead to compromises that won’t make anyone happy. 

Instead, separate employees into cohorts or segments based on key characteristics and demographics. Identify common factors that would group your employees based on their experience with the company. 

For example, employees who work in the office will have a different experience than fully remote teams. Entry-level employees will have a different experience than senior management.

4. Map the employee journey

Consider the journey your employees take throughout their lifecycle with the organization, including how they find and interview for open positions, how they move within the company, and what happens when they leave. 

The employee journey will look different for various employee cohorts, so it is important to look at each journey separately.

5. Identify critical touchpoints

When your journey maps are complete, take a look at the critical moments throughout the employee lifecycle. These touchpoints might include an interview, the onboarding process, annual reviews, and offboarding

At each of these points in the journey, the company has an opportunity to make a lasting impact on the employee — making them the perfect points to ensure a positive employee experience.

6. Develop employee personas

Like customer personas, employee personas help you better understand your employees’ needs, motivations, and goals. Knowing what types of experiences your employees are looking for makes it easier to provide that to them. 

In your employee personas, you’ll want to include details such as:

  • Career goals, both at the company and beyond
  • Personal motivations and objectives
  • Employer expectations
  • Work-life balance goals

In addition to outlining who your employee is on the job, consider what their life looks like outside of work. A positive employee experience should support your employees’ growth inside and outside of the office.

7. Craft a compelling employee value proposition

An employee value proposition communicates expectations between a company and its employees. It outlines what an employee can expect to receive when working with an organization. Employee value propositions are supposed to attract and retain high-quality talent. 

Here’s an example:

We’re committed to helping our employees succeed. With cutting-edge technologies and a culture of innovation, our employees are encouraged to think outside the box and dream big. We believe in a flexible work environment, competitive compensation, and comprehensive benefits that support our employees both inside and outside the workplace. We are future-focused and provide ongoing learning and development opportunities for all employees. When our team members are able to reach their full potential, we all succeed.

8. Design customized experiences for different types of employees

Unique employee experiences will make a stronger impact on your team. Design custom experiences based on the cohorts and pain points you’ve already identified. 

Those custom experiences include:

  • Customized employee onboarding tailored to each segment’s requirements and contextual training needs 
  • Contextual, role-based performance support to help employees navigate their tasks and achieve their goals
  • Flexible work arrangements that align with employees’ personal schedules 
  • Well-being programs to support employees at all stages of life 
  • Personalized recognition and rewards that align with individual goals and values
  • Professional employee development plans set for specific role competencies and skill requirements

9. Provide in-app guidance and self-help performance support

Providing personalized support right within your apps is an easy yet impactful way to create better employee experiences. Using a digital adoption platform (DAP) can provide customized instructions, guidance, support, and communication to employees based on their cohort or persona, allows you to deliver personalized experiences at scale. 

In-app guidance and self-help performance support also give employees the freedom and flexibility to advance their skills on their own timelines. Giving your employees an opportunity to take control of their development can create a positive work environment. 

With a DAP like Whatfix, organizations can enable their employees with use cases such as:

  • Task lists to onboard new hires and familiarize them with your software tools, digital processes, and overall workplace guidelines.
  • Flows to guide employees step-by-step through complex tasks.
  • Self help that provides real-time, moment-of-need support to employees that aggregates all your documentation in one searchable place.
  • Pop-ups on your email, CRM, or any software tool to communicate with your employees.
  • Smart tips and beacons to highlight or alert employees to contextual information.
  • Field validation to ensure the data being entered into your software applications – from an HCM, CRM, ERP – is correctly formatted.
  • Surveys to gather employee feedback and sentiment with eNPS surveys, training feedback surveys, quizzes, and more.

Above: In-app employee guidance created with the Whatfix Digital Adoption Platform

Whatfix’s DAP empowers organizations with a no-code editor to create in-app guided flows, onboarding tasklists, pop-ups, tooltips, alerts, reminders, self-help wikis, and more to enable employees to use software better. Enable your employees to become proficient in new applications faster, create interactive process documentation, guide users through process changes, assist employees through infrequent tasks, and provide self-help performance support on your CRM, ERP, HCM, or any desktop, web, or mobile application.

Create personalized learning & training flows for your enterprise apps with Whatfix

10. Implement continuous feedback loops

Continuous feedback loops give employees an opportunity to find where they can grow and develop, as well as share their insights and perspectives on company performance and alignment. You can identify and solve problems faster, enabling employees to be more agile and engaged. 

Consider having a tiered approach to employee feedback. More intensive conversations can be had annually or bi-annually, while regular weekly check-ins can ensure everyone is on the same page and moving on the right track.

11. Communicate and train employees

Communication and effective employee training is key to developing your employee experience. As you develop your employee experience design, make sure to clearly communicate the goals, intentions, and expectations. 

Provide ample opportunities for upskill training and development to all your team members, including giving them a say in what and when they learn. While there will be company-wide or role-specific training requirements, giving your employees an opportunity to speak up and take control of their career development can improve employee happiness and satisfaction.

12. Empower leadership and managers

A great employee experience needs to start from the top. Just making changes to your company culture isn’t enough to improve employee experience — you need to make sure everyone is on board with living your company values. 

This means leadership and managers need to be empowered to make the right decisions for their teams. This includes allowing leadership and managers to:


  • Dictate the work environments and schedules that work best for their teams 

  • Provide feedback, rewards, and benefits according to team-specific goals and objectives 

  • Have a say in the training and development opportunities provided to their teams 

  • Oversee the feedback loops to provide direct advice and insights to the individuals they work closest with

13. Iterate and improve

As with any strategy, there is always going to be room for improvement. As you start to design your employee experience, keep an eye out for opportunities to make changes to deliver an exceptional experience. 

Look back at the goals you established at the beginning of the process. Measure if you’ve been successful in achieving those goals and what changes you still need to make. If those goals are no longer relevant, consider setting new ones. 

Employee experience improvement should be an ongoing process.

Analyze and create in-app guided employee experiences and provide self-help performance support with Whatfix

A better employee experience starts with providing better resources, training, and support to your team. Deliver personalized employee experiences right within your platforms and apps with Whatfix

By providing a comprehensive solution that allows for the analysis of user behavior and the creation of context-sensitive guidance within applications, Whatfix empowers businesses to maximize the efficiency of their workforce. Through personalized on-screen walkthroughs, tooltips, and pop-ups, employees can navigate complex software effortlessly, reducing the learning curve and boosting productivity. In an increasingly digital workplace, platforms like Whatfix are invaluable in ensuring that employees can fully harness the potential of the tools at their disposal, ultimately driving organizational success through improved user adoption and proficiency.

What Is Whatfix?
Whatfix is a digital adoption platform that provides organizations with a no-code editor to create in-app guidance on any application that looks 100% native. With Whatfix, create interactive walkthroughs, product tours, task lists, smart tips, field validation, self-help wikis, hotspots, and more. Understand how users are engaging with your applications with advanced product analytics.
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Whatfix's digital adoption platform empowers your employees, customers, and end-users with in-app guidance, reinforcement learning, and contextual self-help support to find maximum value from software.

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