The Role of HR in Employee Experience: 9 Ways To Boost Employee Retention Rates

Skilled HR professionals know that creating a positive employee experience is more than just offering an average paycheck

Recruiting, hiring, and training the best employees take significant time and money investments. Without offering these workers a good employee experience, companies risk losing their investments when these employees forsake them for greener pastures. 

If workers stay in a poor work environment, their deflated attitudes often negatively impact other business areas such as production, company culture, and customer service.

Progressive companies empower managers and HR professionals to improve the employee experience. This keeps their businesses thriving in competitive markets. Here are some ways that top HR departments create positive employee experiences.

1️⃣ Hire the Right People

Have you ever talked to a person who just retired from a company that they absolutely loved? While things may not have been perfect during their 30-year tenure at the company, they only seem to remember their positive overall experience. Are they an overly optimistic person? It may not just be their personality that caused them to utter such glowing reviews of their former employer.

When HR professionals set out to create a rich experience for every employee, they generate a comprehensive employee experience strategy. It’s a strategy that begins when a prospect fills out an application and ends after the employee leaves the company. Hiring passionate people who fit the company’s culture is key to creating a positive employee experience.

One way to find and hire the right workers for your firm is to publish your company’s backstory and mission statement. Everyone loves a good story, and prospective employees look for corporations that share their values.

Another way to recruit employees who’ll be a good fit for your company is to show up at events that reflect your company’s mission. 

If your business focuses on wellness, sponsor some employees to represent the company at a local marathon that benefits Alzheimer’s disease research, for example. As a result, you could snag a high-achieving marathon runner whose enthusiasm spreads throughout their department.

2️⃣ Get to Know the Employees

Sometimes an HR professional inherits a workforce that he or she didn’t pick. When creating a positive employee experience for an existing workforce, HR professionals must dive deep to get to know employees on a personal level. 

When they understand what motivates those employees, they can generate effective employee engagement and benefits programs that boost morale and productivity. Here are some things that you can do to get to know your employees better.

— Have a Quarterly Employee Appreciation Party

In addition to loving a good story, people enjoy socializing. Smart HR professionals use relaxed party settings to find out more about employees on a personal level. Sponsor a quarterly employee appreciation party that focuses on praising team accomplishments. 

Encourage employees to bring their spouses or partners to the evening event. During the event, you may discover that an employee is introverted but thoughtful when it comes to his spouse. 

You might be surprised that another employee and their special guest have plans to start a community garden in an underprivileged neighborhood. When it’s time to craft a positive employee experience, you’ll remember what motivates these types of employees.

— Conduct Fun Off-Site Team Building Activities

Often, a great employee experience is only achieved when workers trust their colleagues. This trust can be cultivated to a certain extent by bringing coworkers together for team-building exercises

Maze Rooms and interactive problem-solving games are perfect for corporate bonding. A team of employees arrives at a Maze Rooms facility and is given a set of instructions about the fictional problem that it must solve to win the game. 

The door to the Maze Rooms facility only unlocks when the team solves the complex problem together or if they run out of time before solving the riddle. These sessions uncover strengths and weaknesses among team members, and they show how everyone can work together to overcome weaknesses and win as a team.

— Sponsor Periodic Employee Feedback Sessions

Many employees are straight shooters who don’t need subtle prompts or games to communicate their need for positive employee experience. These employees simply need an appropriate platform to give constructive feedback about current corporate activities and how they can be made better. You can give them a voice by facilitating periodic employee feedback sessions in a non-retaliatory environment.

3️⃣ Create Engagement Strategies

Employee engagement happens when an employee is such a fan of their work that they go above and beyond management’s expectations to further the company’s mission. This positive attitude often ripples through the organization and leads to a rise in productivity, increased camaraderie among coworkers, and more innovation. 

In short, HR professionals create a winning team, and everyone wants to contribute to a winning team. Here are some ways to create effective engagement strategies in your organization.

— Take a More Personal Approach to Employee Engagement

When it comes to employee engagement, throw cookie-cutter strategies away. Today’s employees represent a variety of cultures, ethnicities, and generations, and they are engaged in different ways. You can use digital-based surveys and analytical tools to match them with company projects that best showcase their strengths.

— Give Employees Frequent Feedback

Most employees need to know that they are doing a good job. They also want to know if there’s an area of their performance that needs improvement. 

This information is even more helpful when you offer workers the tools that can help them to correct sub-par work. Giving feedback to employees on a frequent, regular basis prompts higher levels of productivity and makes workers feel more secure in their positions. 

According to statistics that CakeHR compiled, offering regular employee feedback also improves retention rates. Companies that gave regular employee feedback experienced 14.9 percent lower turnover rates than those that didn’t give frequent employee feedback.

After implementing employee engagement strategies, you’ll want to monitor the impact of those initiatives on your organization. This gives you an opportunity to do some course corrections or confidently launch the initiatives in other departments. 

The secret of strengths and engagement is that there is no secret at all

According to employee engagement statistics published by Rise, 78 percent of companies introduce employment engagement initiatives into their organizations. However, only half of them monitor the success rates of those activities.

4️⃣ Encourage Collaboration

Workforce collaboration encourages better performance and innovation through idea-sharing. If these were the only benefits of employee collaboration, they would be enough to motivate managers to break down siloed work. 

However, these aren’t the only advantages of workforce collaboration. Collaboration offers a social aspect to labor that employees need when they work 40-plus hours per week for an organization.

According to behavioral experts, workplace loneliness and isolation are problems for employers. In some cases, these issues lead to depression and lowered immunity. 

Companies and their HR departments can help to combat this problem by continuing to hire employees who represent different ethnic and generational segments of the population. This helps to ensure that lonely workers have at least one other person in their office who shares their story.

5️⃣ Improve Compensation Management

There are many reasons why employees choose to work in various jobs. Some want to gain a particular skill, and others aim to broaden their network of professionals. However, compensation remains a key driver for talent acquisition, job performance, and employee retention. 

Companies that don’t offer attractive compensation packages risk losing market share to competitor firms that incentivize their workforce with adequate pay, perks, and benefits.

Successful HR managers create compensation strategies that motivate employees to support the corporate mission. These strategies include compensation packages that offer more than just a salary, a pension plan, and health insurance. 

Most firms offer paid time off that includes vacation time, sick days, and bereavement leave. Some companies give employees tuition reimbursement, paid volunteer time, and gym memberships that encourage real wellness.

6️⃣ Seek Employee Feedback

Everyone wants to believe that they have something valuable to contribute to the organization for which they work. Employees who give feedback and see their suggestions implemented feel valued. 

When you solicit feedback from your employees, your organization also benefits from early insight into potential problems.

7️⃣ Study Analytics

Today’s businesses benefit from technology in numerous ways. Computers make back-office functions faster, and analytical tools give executives critical insight into market trends and pitfalls. 

HR leaders also use data analytics tools to shed light on employee engagement, which is a key indicator of the overall employee experience at a company. The process of detecting patterns and trends to improve workplace wellbeing is often called people analytics.

Many people analytics programs use artificial intelligence (AI) technology to monitor email responsiveness, the amount of after-hours work that employees perform, and groups that work extraordinarily well together. 

These AI-based programs quickly give HR professionals data-driven insight into the inner workings of their organizations at a fraction of the cost that they would incur if they performed the tasks manually.

Effective employee experience strategies consider the entire life-cycle of an employee’s contact with a firm. This means asking for feedback from exiting employees. 

Smart HR professionals know that exiting employees often provide helpful insight and constructive feedback whether they are retiring after 30 years of service or are moving on after a much shorter stint at the firm. People analytics platforms offer HR professionals a way to generate digital exit interview surveys, which can be collected and analyzed to help improve the workplace.

8️⃣ Focus on Culture

In a Forbes article, hundreds of executives and employees gave feedback about their number one concern at the companies for which they work. If you guessed that their main priority was compensation or implementing digital transformations, you’d be wrong. 

Their main concerns were consistently centered around company culture. Company culture is a mix of attitudes, values, and behaviors that create the distinctive atmosphere of a firm. While each company’s culture differs, they should all aim to create a positive employee experience.

Source: Forbes
Source: Forbes

Modern companies face the challenge of meeting corporate goals while supporting initiatives that contribute to the employee experience. This balancing act gets even more complex as business leaders realize that happy employees produce happy customers.

Many companies want to foster a sense of family as a foundation of company culture. A 2018 Forbes article highlighted a company that got it right. Fast-casual diner Sweetgreen implemented a family fund for its employees. 

Corporate employees make voluntary deductions from their paychecks to seed the fund that’s used to cover employees’ emergency expenses. The fund was tapped to pay for temporary housing when a team member lost his home during a fire and to pay for expenses when another team member traveled to care for a sick relative.

Sometimes boosting the employee experience doesn’t cost a lot of money. Creating a recognition and rewards program is a cost-effective way to strengthen a company culture of excellence, service, and performance. Learn this employee experience lesson from Google. 

During his days at Google, Laszlo Bock posted gThanks notes his team received on a “Wall of Happy.” | Source: Bucketlist Rewards
During his days at Google, Laszlo Bock posted gThanks notes his team received on a “Wall of Happy.” | Source: Bucketlist Rewards

The internet giant found that non-monetary rewards such as paid dinners at a local restaurant, theater tickets, and vacations to Hawaii were more effective in boosting the employee experience than giving significant cash awards.

9️⃣ Create a Culture of Communication

A key way to keep employees engaged is to keep them informed. Many companies choose old-school communication methods such as daily huddles where managers give employees news about the company and the playbook of moves for the upcoming week. 

Effective communication is a two-way street, and most daily huddles give employees the chance to ask questions and give feedback about business operations.

Some modern companies create technology-based communication channels that feed employees customized content about the company and offer workers social media-style chat functions.


Skilled HR professionals know that creating a positive employee experience is more than just offering an average paycheck. Everyone wants to feel they have a purpose, and most employees have ambition and a desire to improve and develop. 

For HR, this is a process that involves learning about the values of your employees, engaging them to help meet corporate goals, and rewarding them for great work that supports the company’s mission. The results are positive customer experience, strong employee retention rates, and improved workforce performance.

Josh is the co-founder and CEO of Squibler. He’s written five books and thousands of blog posts. Forbes noted him as one of “12 Innovative Founders To Watch And Learn From.  

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