Measuring Employee Experience

Creating a strong employee experience is a top priority for HR leaders in 2021. Per Gartner, 28% of HR leaders, 31% of CHROs, and 46% of Diversity & Inclusion leaders believe that the employee experience is crucial to get right. While there are myriad recommendations on how to build an ideal employee experience, many companies consult with Reflektive on how to measure sentiment. What metrics are most important to track? How can HR teams view their progress? Check out our recommendations below on making the employee experience quantifiable. But first…

What is the Employee Experience?

Per Gallup, the employee experience is “the journey an employee takes with your organization. It includes every interaction that happens along the employee life cycle, plus the experiences that involve an employee’s role, workspace, manager and wellbeing.” 

The breadth of the employee experience means that it can’t easily be captured in one metric. HR teams should look to domain-specific data to better understand their current strengths and areas for improvement. The components of employee experience are:

  • Recruiting
  • Onboarding
  • Performance Management
  • Manager Relationship 
  • Talent Development
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Well-Being
  • Workspace

How should HR teams evaluate the Employee Experience?

For quantitative insights on the employee experience, we recommend that HR teams evaluate four data types: employee survey responses, leading indicators, lagging indicators, and business KPIs. Together, these metrics create a holistic picture of the employee experience, and help you better identify areas for improvement. A refresher on the differences between leading indicators, lagging indicators, and business KPIs, is below:

  • Leading indicators are used to predict other outcomes and metrics
    • Example: the number of RSVPs you receive before a marketing event indicate your overall attendance rate
  • Lagging indicators reveal past performance of your program
    • Example: the overall attendance rate of past marketing events
  • Business KPIs indicate overall organizational performance
    • Example: the number of new deals sourced by the marketing team

To measure the employee experience, employee survey responses as well as some leading and lagging indicators can be sourced from engagement surveys. Other indicators and business KPIs are available from your finance team, people analytics solution, and software tools used by your business.

HR teams can also conduct employee interviews for qualitative insights. This article will focus on quantitative data that can easily be gathered by companies of all sizes.

Recruiting Data

To ensure that your recruiting process is equitable and inclusive, ask candidates questions around respect and professionalism of the team. You can further slice survey data by candidate demographic (such as age, ethnicity, gender identification) to see if there are any biases in your recruiting program.

Recommended metrics include conversion and retention, which indicate fairness, transparency, and efficacy of your recruiting program.

Survey Questions“The recruiting team kept me informed at all stages of the process.”
“The people I interviewed with treated me respectfully.”
“I received helpful answers to my questions during the interview process.”
“Overall, I had a positive experience interviewing with this company.”
“I would refer a friend to a role at this company.”
Leading IndicatorsAverage number of candidates
Career site traffic
Lagging IndicatorsAverage cost of hiring
Average time to hire
Recruiting conversion rate
Business KPIsFirst year retention rate

Onboarding Data

After the recruitment experience, the next major influencer of employee sentiment is onboarding. Not only does a structured onboarding process increase new hire productivity by 50%, but it’s also associated with a 58% higher three-year retention rate.

To assess the onboarding experience, ask new hires questions on the helpfulness of onboarding content, and their understanding of their new role. Helpful indicators include employee productivity and engagement.

Survey Questions“The job description accurately depicted the role I’m in today.”
“I received helpful company information during onboarding.”
“I understand my company’s goals.”
“I understand how my work will be evaluated.”
“I have a clear understanding of my responsibilities and what I am expected to accomplish.”
“I feel welcome and part of the team.”
Leading IndicatorsOnboarding completion rate
Lagging IndicatorsTime to productivity
Overall engagement score among new hires
Business KPIsFirst year retention rate

Performance Management Data

Similarly, performance programs have a meaningful impact on the employee experience — and countless other business metrics. Some insights include:

  • Employees who receive helpful feedback are over 3X more likely to recommend their company as a great place to work
  • People who receive meaningful recognition when they perform well are almost 2X more likely to work at their company two years from now
  • Those who like their company’s processes for reviews, feedback, and goal-setting are almost 3X more likely to work harder than they have at past companies

To assess employee sentiment on performance management, include questions about their role, and how their work is evaluated and compensated. Since performance is integral to organizational success, we recommend assessing metrics such as profit margin and market share as key outcomes.

Survey Questions“I like our processes for reviews, feedback, and goal-setting.”
“I know how to do well in my job.”
“I am paid fairly for my job.”
“I understand how my work is evaluated.”
Leading IndicatorsGoal completion rate
Review completion rate
Percentage of employees that request feedback
Percentage of employees that have given or received recognition
Lagging IndicatorsEngagement score
Operational performance (e.g., cost per click for Marketing team, conversion rate for Sales team)
Innovation (e.g., gaining third party validation or launching a new solution)
Business KPIsProfit margin
Market share
Retention rate

Manager Relationship Data

Another key driver of employee happiness is the individual’s relationship with their manager. Per Gallup, managers account for up to 70% of variance in employee engagement. 

HR teams can assess manager impact – good or bad – by asking survey questions on manager support and leadership. Helpful indicators include engagement and promotion data for each manager.

Survey Questions“My manager helps me solve problems.”
“I have the right level of autonomy to do my job well.”
“My manager cares about me as a person.”
“My manager helps me to develop key skills.”
“My manager sets a high standard of excellence for the team.”
“My team and I feel inspired by our manager.”
Leading IndicatorsGoal completion rate by manager
1:1s scheduled by manager
Lagging IndicatorsEngagement score by manager
Number of promotions by manager
Business KPIsRetention rate by manager

Talent Development Data

While managers play a role in employee growth & development, company-wide processes also affect advancement. Are there distinct career paths for employees? How can workers pursue learning opportunities? 

To assess the experience around talent development, ask survey questions on employee enablement and current role satisfaction. For other helpful data points, look to internal mobility and performance ratings.

Survey Questions“I have the option to move to other roles within my company.”
“I understand how to grow my career at my company.”
“I use my best strengths in my job every day.”
“You’ll probably see me working at my company two years from now.”
Leading IndicatorsPercentage of employees with weekly manager 1:1s
Percentage of employees that had career conversations
Lagging IndicatorsPercentage of new roles that are filled by current employees
Percentage of employees that “meet expectation” and “exceed expectation” in performance appraisals
Business KPIsRetention rate among top performers

Communication & Collaboration Data

The ability to partner well with peers also makes a difference in employee experience. While it’s difficult for companies to make an instant impact on teamwork, they can encourage collaboration and build a culture of trust and transparency. 

HR teams can ask employees questions on peer interactions, and the input they receive from colleagues. Data points around innovation and operational performance help HR professionals assess collaboration.

Survey Questions“Other teams partner well with my team to get work done.”
“I get meaningful recognition when I perform well.”
“The feedback I receive helps me improve.”
“My voice is valued.”
Leading IndicatorsPercentage of employees with weekly peer 1:1 meetings
Percentage of employees that request feedback from peers
Lagging IndicatorsInnovation (e.g., gaining third party validation or launching a new solution)
Operational performance (e.g., cost per click for Marketing team, conversion rate for Sales team)
Business KPIsCompany-wide goal completion rates
Profit margin
Market share

Well-Being Data

Peer relationships and interactions also shape employee well-being, a topic that has become even more important to HR teams. As employee stress has increased this past year, companies are responding by offering more mindfulness programs (11% increase) and on-site stress management programs (13% increase). 

Additionally, well-being includes feelings of belonging and inclusion at work. Per Reflektive’s HR Trends Report, companies are responding to this employee need and over 90% of organizations are now making DEI a priority.

In your survey to employees, include questions about work-life balance and an appreciation of differing viewpoints. Common HR metrics – including engagement and retention – also indicate whether employees feel happy and healthy at work.

Survey Questions“I’m able to have work-life balance.”
“I have healthy, positive relationships with coworkers.”
“I feel a sense of belonging at work.”
“I can balance my needs with the needs of others.”
“Perspectives like mine are included in decision-making.” 
“My manager encourages people with different ideas and opinions to speak up.”
Leading IndicatorsNumber of company-wide programs to foster employee well-being
Participation rate in well-being programs
Participation rate in DEI programs and activities
Lagging IndicatorseNPS
Engagement score
Business KPIsRetention rate

Workspace Data

Another element of employee experience that has been recently brought into the spotlight is workspace setup. Based on Reflektive’s Employee Sentiment Report, one of the most prevalent comments from employees is that their home office setup isn’t sufficient. With millions of employees now working from home, this challenge can meaningfully impact overall productivity and happiness at work.

We recommended including workspace questions in company-wide engagement surveys. Sentiment around productivity in the home office can shed a light on the employee experience. Data on IT and equipment requests reveal trends in employee workspace needs.

Survey Questions“My work environment enables me to be productive.”
“I have all the tools and resources I need to perform my job effectively.”
“I’m able to disconnect from work when the workday is over.”
Leading IndicatorsTrends in IT requests
Trends in equipment requests
Lagging IndicatorsOperational performance (e.g., cost per click for Marketing team, conversion rate for Sales team)
Business KPIsCompany-wide goal completion rates
Profit margin
Market share

There are many facets of the employee experience that are important to track and measure. We recommend assessing these domains in your engagement survey, or following up on specific topics in pulse surveys. Additionally, having a comprehensive HR dashboard will allow you to view employee experience data in real-time.

Looking for more ways to improve the employee experience? Schedule a quick consult with an expert.