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Employee Engagement Vs. Employee Experience: Know The Difference

5 min read   |  
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Have you stumbled upon the term Employee Experience? What is it? Is it a Human Resource word? How is it different from Employee Engagement? What is the best way to create a positive Employee Experience?

Vantage Circle, experiences and breathes employee experience every single day. And also delivers the same to its clients. We lend a helping hand to organizations worldwide to measure and improve their employee experience strategies because it is crucially beneficial for both the company and employees.

Even though familiar with the terminologies, most people don’t know the clear differentiation between employee engagement and employee experience. We must not forget, both are integral parts of a company’s growth and success. But they both are not the same. There are notable differences between the two, and we are addressing this distinction today.

Employee Engagement Vs. Employee Experience, What’s The Difference?

What is the actual difference between employee engagement and employee experience? It is simple- EX is the input, whereas employee engagement is the output your company is aiming towards.

When you improve an employee’s experience in your organization, you are ultimately achieving highly engaged employees. Higher employee engagement level is the end goal, while EX is the way towards achieving the end goal.

Employee engagement is generally a top-down philosophy. It is essentially about making your people feel valued, engaged and find purpose at the same time. EX is the bottom-up concept where the work environment and procedures are specially designed around employees’ needs and requirements.

Another survey suggests that employee engagement usually focuses on the workplace and productivity, but employee experience encompasses the worker as a human being. As a whole, All sources agree that EX is a broader and richer concept compared to employee engagement. Even the definitions suggest employee experience is more about employees and not employers.

Employee Engagement Definition

Employee engagement is a trending buzzword that has changed the basic functioning of HR and management. In the current scenario, we get to see varying opinions about what employee engagement is. According to us, Engage for Success manages to sum it up very accurately. It states:

Employee engagement is a workplace approach resulting in the right conditions for all members of an organization to give of their best each day, committed to their organization’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organizational success, with an enhanced sense of their own well-being.

There are long-established benefits of employee engagement, be it long-term or short-term. But it mostly tends to look at a particular moment in time, for example- annually, monthly, or quarterly.

Know More: What is Employee Engagement? Levels, Benefits, Drivers

Employee Experience Definition

Now let’s see, what is employee experience?

The term “employee experience” garnered popularity in the year 2017. In comparison to employee engagement, employee experience (EX) is a comprehensive approach to ensure engagement throughout the employee life cycle from an employee’s perspective. It embodies the physical, technological, and cultural environment of a business.

Josh Bersin says,

Starting as potential hires and recruits, employees look at everything that happens at work as an integrated experience that impacts daily life in and outside the workplace, including overall physical, emotional, professional, and financial well-being. Candidates assess future employers from the very start of the talent acquisition experience and make quick judgments about what life will be like for them in the organization, based on how they interact with the enterprise during the recruiting cycle.

In simple words, EX is an employee-oriented way of thinking about the company. When business leaders, along with HR executives, make decisions with the employee experience in mind, they ask, “How will our people perceive this?” or “What impression are we delivering to our employees if we do this?”

Ultimately, it influences how your workforce feels about the company. These aspects include everything- right from the recruitment process, until their last day at the company.

Some of the key elements to a fantastic employee experience include:

A company must adopt a culture where leaders consider the employees’ needs to achieve the best employee experience. As Olivier Dubuisson says:

Employee Experience is the sum of the various perceptions employees have about their interactions with each domain of the organization in which they work.

Employee Experience Journey

To truly understand the difference between employee engagement and employee experience, we must look at the employee experience journey.

EX embodies an employee’s journey in an organization from hiring to the last day of employment. EX journey aims to ensure employee engagement from candidacy through onboarding, performance, growth, and exit. Disengagement of employees at any given point worsens the employee experience.

There are many employee-centric questions you can ask at each stage of the EX journey.

For instance, during candidacy, you can consider:

  • Does the candidate get fair and equal treatment?
  • Have their contacts from the organization “lived” the values?
  • Did they have a positive experience with regards to meetings, technology, and tools used during the process?

During onboarding, you can ask:

  • Can the employee use the technology and tools your company uses?
  • Is the team welcoming and treating the new employee with respect?
  • Does your worker know whom to approach for support and resources when in need?
  • Does your employee know what you expect of them?

In the performance stage, you can ask:

  • Is your employee getting enough feedback and constructive criticism?
  • How often is your employee meeting their line managers for one-to-one sessions?
  • Are they getting enough support and encouragement from their team members?
  • Do they feel they are a part of a well-functioning team?

In the growth process, you can think about the same aspects of EX differently:

  • Does the employee feel they have equal access to developmental opportunities?
  • Do employees get mental and physical support during the learning and development process?
  • Are they getting all the necessary tools and software required to complete the job?

In the final “exit” stage, you can ask:

  • Was the employee valued for the work they had done for your business?
  • Did the employee have a good experience in your organization?
  • Was their equal treatment throughout their employee journey and what was their overall employee experience?

Key Takeaways

After learning the difference between employee engagement and experience, we have concluded. Let’s see what the key takeaways are:

  1. Employee experience ensures that employee engagement is continuous throughout the employee life cycle.

  2. EX is an employee-centric approach where decisions are made twhile considering the employees’ perspective, thus enhancing employee engagement.

  3. Employee engagement is an end goal, whereas employee experience is the path towards that goal.

  4. It requires good leadership, equal performance reviews, and feedback to achieve a great employee experience and employee engagement.


Now you know the difference between employee experience and employee engagement and how they are crucial for your company’s development. If you are willing to create a company culture and give your employees the best employee experience, you can contact us.

Vantage Circle is known for offering the best Rewards and Recognition programs for many clients, along with Employee Pulse Surveys. Get in touch with us if you would like to implement a great employee experience for your workers to enhance the customer experience. Schedule a Free Demo today.

This article is written by Gautam Gayan. He works as a Content Marketer at Vantage Circle. Apart from being a passionate content creator for HR services and employee engagement, Gautam is a theatre enthusiast, an avid reader and an aspiring poet. For any related queries, contact