4 ways to create a compelling employee experience

If you are a human resource (HR) professional, you are also a designer by default.

Much like user experience designers, HR is the design lead of employee experience (EX). Over the years, EX has become a giant vortex in HR. Though it seems simple to understand, it can be tough for organisations to execute what employees deem to be ‘great’ EX.

Studies have shown that poor EX leads to disengaged employees, costing organisations $450 to $550 billion in lost productivity annually. Gallup’s research showed that 85% of employees are disengaged at work, with 81% of employees choosing to leave their jobs at any time.

With startling statistics like these, there is an impetus for organisations to focus on EX from hiring to exit point.

Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

Improve hiring and onboarding experience

Besides the paycheck, there are easier ways to make your organisation more attractive to talents: the hiring process. For instance, how HR communicates and the first thing potential hires see when they enter the office.

The key lies in the employees’ emotions. Do your potential hires feel neglected or privileged? Whatever the experience is, you would have your name spread by word-of-mouth, even if the candidate is not hired.

Next, would be onboarding. This is where a manager can forge connections with a new hire. Rather than leaving employees to their own devices to figure things out on their own, a good leader should have:

  • A structured, assimilation program to show the ropes and to introduce the people

  • Casual sessions to understand employees on a deeper level, rather than leave the bonding to take its own course

  • The new hires sit in on meetings and contribute their views

  • The new hire involved in projects, no matter how small

What do you want new employees to learn and contribute? Making them feel useful and integrated into the new environment is crucial to their performance during the probation period.

Making team culture work

The meteoric rise of tech start-ups has allowed the world a glimpse into a new idea of company culture. Employees have beer on tap and nerf guns in their drawers, while teams look more like a band of friends. Companies are increasingly turning towards such unorthodox ideas to create company culture. Glassdoor found that employees actually value company culture more than a higher salary.

Culture is more than a foosball table. It is about the leaders’ actions, decisions and philosophies.

The organisational culture must be clearly defined, then fostered and led by example proactively. In rowing, it is important that everyone rows evenly at the right rhythm and in the same direction, rather than having a few rowers row exceptionally hard. Likewise, ensure that everyone understands and exemplifies the right culture.

Create inclusive and good workplace design

The usual design approach is to meet functional needs, like the number of desks and rooms. Fortunately, many employers are realising the benefits of good workplace design. It has now become a “must-have” to enhance EX and make employees happier, more productive and even healthier!

Let us step back and review Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for the workplace.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs re-adapted for employee experience at the workplace. Image credits:

Basic safety and physiological needs which include remuneration, job security, working hours, conditions and other necessary resources should be met. Beyond that, there is no fixed way to design the best EX. Nonetheless, these critical factors serve as a good start for consideration:

  • Corporate culture

  • Company’s policies

  • Workforce demographic

  • Working style

You can celebrate the company’s history, express the company’s unique culture or share the corporate vision through design. This can be done in the form of a corporate signage wall, mural design on a cabinet or even wayfinding!

Image credits: 3M Australia Headquarters graphic portraits pay homage to key inventors who contributed to 3M's past successes

Having an open cafe where people can gather over food and drinks is a good way to encourage social connection. Design shared spaces to host activities like design sprint, product showcase, health and wellness day, or mentoring and reverse mentoring programmes that bridge the cross-generational gap within a multigenerational workforce.

Gather opinions on settings where employees prefer to do their best work in. Avoid creating an environment that makes anyone feel negatively stereotyped or alienated.

For staff who have to look at a big spreadsheet or use many applications, you could easily boost their productivity by 20-50% by providing larger screens that would reduce toggling back and forth between tabs. Do consider ergonomic chairs and sit-stand tables to avoid fatigue from prolonged sitting. A healthy refreshment bar to rejuvenate employees would also be welcomed.

The main purpose is to make diverse groups of employees feel valued and respected. After all, their well-being affects their performance and consequently, their contribution to your organisation.


When an employee leaves, there is an opportunity for the company to learn more. Conduct a cordial exit interview to learn:

  • Positive and negative aspects of employment with your organisation

  • Potential areas to improve

  • What triggered the employee to look for a new job

Exits should always be done with a smile. A truly great employee experience means appreciating their past contributions even if the employee chooses to leave.

Eunice Ooi | Co-founder |

Passionate about helping companies achieve their ideal workplace, Eunice co-founded, a new online office listing portal, with a marketplace of trusted designers and vendors. Eunice envisions for businesses, regardless of size, to have a peace of mind when setting up the workplace to do their best work.

Andy Chan | Founder | Human + Business

A former startup co-founder, Andy is a marketer specialising in content marketing and writing. His work has appeared across multiple publications. He is also the founder of Human+Business, a publication focusing on management and leadership.