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Where does the Employee Experience begin?


To many, the term “employee experience” means taking care of their team members to ensure they are having a good time at work. This often includes team lunches and Friday drinks in order to build a thriving ‘work culture’. Throw in a stylish and open workspace populated with bean bags and tabletennis tables. Yet a great employee experience starts long before the onboarding process, long before a letter-of-offer, and even before the interview process. The journey actually starts when a potential employee is thinking about applying for the role.


In the current economic environment, the prospect of job hunting can be a daunting one. Some have been out of jobs for months, and organisations have had to offload talent in the hope of staying afloat beyond the pandemic. Employees are anxious and organisations hesitant. It is more critical than ever for employers to take a proactive approach to deliver an amazing employee experience.

In a recent conversation, Reva, a close family member, told me about her recent job-hunting experience. Reva had recently lost her job due to COVID-19 and was on the hunt for a new role. Reva has a student loan, a young family, a mortgage to pay off and finding a source of income was becoming vital.

Reva applied for a role at a logistics company, one of the few organisations that have benefitted from the pandemic. Through her research, Reva discovered that the company had good customer experience reviews. Reva applied for the role on a Sunday evening hopeful and excited about the prospect of what may be the beginning of a new journey. Reva thought she would be perfect for the role, as she possessed all the qualifications and experience listed in the job profile. On the same evening around two hours later, a LinkedIn notification popped up on her phone screen. The head of department for the company she had applied for had viewed her profile. Reva’s anticipation and excitement inflated with the assumption that her CV had piqued the interest of the HOD.

Reva’s excitement was short-lived. Moments after the LinkedIn notification, she received an automated email from the company which read:

“Dear Applicant, thank you for your interest in the role at our organisation. We received quite a lot of interest for this role and, after careful consideration, we will not be proceeding your application. We appreciate the time you invested in applying for a role with us and we wish you all the very best in your job search”.


Shock, confusion, and disappointment prevailed as Reva’s hopes are now dashed. The cold impersonal email she received left her feeling vulnerable, incapable, and judged. Receiving the email on a Sunday evening made Reva feel like her application may not have been given due consideration. Reva is disappointed at being rejected for the role, but even more so for receiving a cold, automated message which did not even address her by name. Reva knew that she would not ever consider applying for any roles with this company in the future. Sadly, such a negative experience is not uncommon for job hunters.


This story is one of many examples becoming common in today’s world. Leaders need to embed empathy and a proactive mindset in the organisation’s employee experience framework. First impressions are the way we make sense of the world. Communication is a key driver in establishing a positive employee experience and a lasting connection.


In the shifting landscape of the pandemic and beyond, the need for empathy and a human-centred approach has become more crucial than ever. The most influential advocate for a great customer experience starts with an organisation’s employees. Organisations need to become more proactive and aware of the employee experience journey. Small changes to the employee experience such as increased transparency, better communication and genuine empathy can immediately lift spirits. Organisations have the power, so in times of instability it’s important to empathise and remember, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”


Here are five elements that, at The Strategy Group, we feel can deliver an amazing employee experience:

  1. Map out the employee experience journey. This first step is essential to understand the current journey, from when you advertise for an employee to when someone leaves? Do you understand your employee’s experience? We find that engaging someone like The Strategy Group to do this is of great value. We will map out the highs and the lows of the experience, from the employee’s perspective, which is the only perspective that counts. We will interview a cross-section of your team to gather first hand their experiences and document what we find.
  2. Facilitate a workshop with the leadership team to share the insights from employees experiences. This will explore “What is working and what is not” as well as reveal the highs and the lows across the journey. A fundamental initiative in moving forwards
  3. Ideate with the leadership to generate ideas on how the lows can be improved, and the highs elevated
  4. Explore ideas on what an ideal employee experience could look like – especially in a world of COVID-19. Re-image the employee experience, how will the team function in a hybrid fashion? What will keep the culture going? How will we onboard new starters online and still manage to embed the company culture?
  5. Design and apply the new experience – assisting and providing feedback on the change process all along the way

It’s a major focus at The Strategy Group, and a major focus of our clients. You can learn more about employee experience, and how to create an employee experience strategy, here.

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