Podcast | 5 Steps To Great Employee Experiences

Gary Stringer
April 3, 2024
April 3, 2024

“Research tells us that extremely low numbers of employees are truly happy with their experience at work – Gartner suggests it may even be as low as 13%. 

“Unengaged employees are not productive employees, and they are unlikely to stay in your organisation for long.”

Those are the words of the LACE Partners team, who recently launched The employee experience revolution - a campaign and guide that provides five steps to successful EX.

Kat Bernardes and Cathy Acratopulo joined Gary to talk through delivering a meaningful employee experience. 

From clarity of what that is to auditing your current experiences, building an EVP, and loads more.

Listen to the episode

You can also listen on Apple Podcasts or by searching for L&D Disrupt wherever you get your podcasts.


0:00 Intro
1:36 Why EX is so important
6:36 Creating a robust EVP
11:32 Targeting different audiences 
16:02 Auditing your current EX
21:56 Quick wins for EX
25:49 Driving business value and commercial impact
30:00 Communicating value and co-owning the strategy
37:03 Shouting about your wins
40:07 Being the catalyst for EX change

6 lessons on building a great employee experience

1. Building the EX is an ongoing process, and it’s not always tangible

“It shouldn't be a one and done exercise. It should be a continual way of reevaluating what you offer and whether what you offer aligns to what employees value. 

“Do the experiences that you provide as an organisation, when an employee has joined you and is with you, match up to what you promised?” - Cathy Acratopulo.

And you have to think more holistically about how you measure success…

“The things that are important to people now are quite intangible. Talking with organisations and helping them through this, we regularly see that purpose, mission, and values are now more important to employees than some of those more tangible benefits like pay.

“And therefore, it's quite hard for organisations to really think about how we bring that to life in the way that we deliver the experience day to day.” - Kat Bernardes 

2. Your employee value proposition (EVP) is about promises you make and whether you deliver on them

“What is it that your EVP promises? Essentially the things that you are going to give in return for people coming and working really hard for you as an organisation?” - Kat Bernardes.

Cathy built on Kat’s thoughts, sharing the simple EVP equation they use at LACE:

“If your employee experience matches or exceeds the value proposition, which is the promise… 

“Then that will drive increased business performance through increased productivity, increased engagement - all the things that we know will make somebody more willing and happier at work to do a great job.” - Cathy Acratopulo

It’s about managing expectations, and our EVP is the way in which we manage expectations.

  • Recruiters can use it to send the right messages about what it’s like working somewhere.
  • Internally, we can use it to give clarity about what people should expect from the employer.

“What we're trying to avoid is that disappointment or feeling that what you've been promised actually isn't what's being delivered.” - Cathy Acratopulo.

3. “A lot of organisations get EVP and employer branding confused…”

“They think because we've created a lovely shiny brand around what it means to work for us, that therefore people understand what the employee value proposition is. 

“And often that's just the marketing angle of it, right? And the really tangible things that underpin your EVP are missing a lot of the time.” - Kat Bernardes.

We HAVE to make sure there’s substance to what we offer by building a robust EVP first, getting clarity on those promises, and then shaping our employer brand to communicate that.

4. Segment your audience - where it makes sense and adds value

What we want is a consistent and clear proposition that we can flex to fit differences across our audience - which could be based on demographic, cultural or behavioural differences around what people value.

“Our recommendation is always to try and segment the workforce in some way…  but to do it on the basis of where it makes sense to differentiate rather than doing it for the sake of differentiation. 

“Where is there actually value to the individual and to the business to maybe have a nuanced value proposition?

“Our view is to try and have some consistency, a single proposition, and maybe have elements that you dial up or dial down depending on the part of the business or the type of person that you're actually trying to engage with.” - Cathy Acratopulo.

Kat’s advice is to try and make the examples of those benefits tangible to individual workforce segments. 

“We don't need to create loads and loads of different offerings, but just explain what it means for me, versus a colleague who might be in a very different part of the business.”

5. Target quick wins and include people in the process

It’s important that people feel heard and included as we build out our EVP and employee experience.

And if the goal is to flex the EX for different groups and segments, we should include those people in the conversations about the actions we take - it shouldn’t just sit with HR.

“If you can engage and involve representatives of those groups, [in] a series of sessions that are about idea creation and asking the open question, coming up with ideas together, it can be a really powerful way of embedding the experience.

“And from that, you can evaluate all these ideas… which ones are likely to have the maximum impact, which ones are likely to be most expensive to do versus maybe some quick wins that you can really make a difference on very quickly.” - Cathy Acratopulo.

We want to achieve three key things, as Kat explains below:

  • Including people to drive engagement in the employee experience.
  • Focus on quick wins that show people value sooner.
  • Communicate clearly and honestly about the things that’ll take longer.

“I think it's about picking some things that demonstrate to your employees you've listened and you are taking actions that you can do quickly.

“And then with other things that are going to take more time, just being very open and honest about the plan to do those things. 

“A lot of it's about communication, to be honest. I think sometimes HR are their own worst enemies at not communicating their plans in an effective way.” - Kat Bernardes

6. Aligning EX to commercial goals and metrics can drive buy-in

“When you understand where the challenges are, it's then about saying what difference would it make if we invested time, effort, money in addressing them? 

“So when you have your baseline metrics, it's about trying to pull together the ones that you can then interpret that will deliver commercial value to the business.” - Cathy Acratopulo.

Kat shared some great insights on how this might look in practice:

“We've built a number of experience-driven value cases, and the typical kind of financial benefits that we model around are things like cost to hire sickness and absence days, attrition - all of those things you can tie back to overall experiences that people have.

“And the likelihood of them leaving, for example, because they've got better career opportunities elsewhere, et cetera. 

“By improving those things and demonstrating through active measurement over time, that you've reduced attrition, as an example, because you've created better career opportunities for people, it enables you to put a hard financial number against it. 

“And that's what stands out when you have these conversations at the board level. PX is no longer a fluffy thing. It's got hard commercial value behind it and it's linked back to business objectives.” - Kat Bernardes.