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Employee Experience VS Employee Engagement: what’s the difference?

Remember your first day at the office? It may have looked a little something like this…

You’re greeted with a smile by your peers, shown around the kitchen (the fancy coffee machine is quickly pointed out), and you get comfortable at your new desk.

The HR team has already created your development plan and allocated a professional learning budget to help you upskill and boss your new job.

This is how an amazing employee experience might begin…

The smiles turning into solid relationships. The investment in your career turning into a promotion a year later. The fancy coffee machine fuelling your client meetings and helping you make a great impression on other newbies.

Definition: Employee experience is how employees/teams/nine-to-fivers – whatever you call us worker bees – internalise and interpret the interactions they have with their organisation, as well as the context that underlies those interactions.

Employee engagement, on the other hand, is a little different…

Nowadays, most people understand why engaged employees are a good thing. But it’s the how that tends to leave many bewildered.

Ah, the age-old question: how on earth do you keep employees loyal, happy, and engaged – and importantly, without it costing a fortune?

Firstly, let’s decipher exactly what ‘employee engagement’ actually means.

Employee engagement simply refers to what organisations are doing to keep employees happy and on a mission, to instil a robust, productive company culture.

Employee engagement is:

  • The reason your employees continue to work for you
  • Receiving recognition and praise
  • Providing career ladders for your people
  • Making sure employees are part of the ‘bigger picture’
  • Encouraging everyone to prioritise their wellbeing

Employee engagement is not:

  • Two employees getting married (but if this is you, then congratulations!)
  • Throwing more money at people to make them stay longer
  • A one-size-fits-all concept for every team member
  • Interchangeable with “employee experience”

Ways you can improve employee engagement right now

Positive reinforcement

Everyone wants to be recognised for their hard work, whether they’re a newbie or a long-standing employee. Act fast and make sure to give positive feedback when you notice someone is doing a great job.


Employees want to be part of the bigger picture. Make sure you communicate the relevant information and don’t keep employees in the dark about situations. Teams want to feel a connection between the business and themselves. Everyone wants to know what they’re doing is meaningful, so be sure to communicate openly.

Prioritise wellbeing

Businesses can encourage employees to take care of their physical and mental wellbeing, but giving them a helping hand with improving their lifestyle is always the best approach. Ensure senior management champion wellbeing too – this will filter down through the business in no time!

If you want to go the extra mile, explore different perks such as free gym membership or health insurance that cover mental ill-health to support your people.

Focus on development

2 in 5 UK workers are planning to leave their current employer for one that invests in their career. So whether you supply employees with a catalogue of courses to upskill or their own allocated learning budget, employees want to professionally develop.

From webinars and podcasts to completely bespoke eLearning and off-the-shelf content, there’s a huge variety of ways to learn and keep employees engaged at the same time.

Why you should care about engaging your employees…

People matter. Every single one of us matter.

Whether we’re at work, binging Netflix, having a lousy day, or we’ve accidentally eaten our other half’s triple chocolate brownie slice they were saving for after work – we all matter, all the time.

Yes, we work 8 hours a day; some of us in an office, others in a warehouse, heck, most Kallidus employees work from home. But we are also humans with relationships and a myriad of hobbies who love an eccentric night out on a Saturday or a quiet weekend in the countryside.

So why wouldn’t you care about how your employees are feeling? We tend to care about how people feel and about their wellbeing, so why would this stop when they’re on your payroll?

Employee engagement improves morale, productivity, and creativity in the workplace. In fact, companies with highly engaged workforces are up to 21% more profitable.

Top tip: if you want to know how to keep your employees happy. Ask them. A simple survey will do wonders.

Even bigger tip: Action the survey results. Don’t let it be a box-ticking exercise.

The biggest tip of them all: … you’ll have to get our Employee Experience eBook for that ???????? Grab a free copy of this EX eBook

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Written by Mara Swann

Mara has a passion for promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion across global workplaces and hopes to inspire learners to focus on their own careers with self-directed learning content.


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