Employee Experience at Startups is Broken – Here’s how to fix it

We are undergoing a fast-paced, exciting transformation of work culture. A few companies have already set a benchmark for the treatment of the employees. 

While this is heading in the right direction, it is natural for organizations to be confused. Let us help you understand employee experience from the very basics.

What is Employee Experience?

Employee experience is everything an employee encounters within their tenure in the organization. It starts when the employee notices your job requirement and ends with his exit from the organization. A company needs to invest in particular measures to make this experience ideal. 

Employee experience builds when the employee interacts with different elements (environment/culture) and people in the organization.

Why do organizations need to focus on employee experience?

Stages of Employee Experience


Here is where you have to showcase your company culture and establish a good relationship with a potential hire and the ideal way to find employees. A candidate experience is a significant part of the entire employee experience. They can be your company’s advocates, irrespective of whether they join or not. 

You can take feedback through simple survey forms.


This stage starts when the selected candidate accepts the job offer. A company’s first impression relies on the onboarding process. The training, the team/company introduction, etc., constitute the employee experience in this stage.


Ensuring constant growth and learning for employees within the organization is a must. Employees constantly seek growth opportunities. If they do not achieve it in their workplace, they will consider other organizations.


One of the most difficult tasks for companies is to retain their employees. The practices companies take for better retention makes employees feel valued and appreciated. Hence, creating an ideal environment that recognizes employees and cares about their well-being is necessary.


Yet another crucial task is the exit process. The employees must leave the company on the best note. Organizations need to be on good terms with former employees as well.

Areas to focus on to for an ideal EX:

Hiring Process:

It’s more about the personality:

Skills can be taught. But, personality is something that stays the same.

Kristian Kalle, CEO and Founder of VideoCV

Organizations need to stop screening candidates based on their CVs. A candidate has much more to showcase than just education degrees, work experience, and hard skills. Soft skills like leadership, management, communication, etc., matter too.

A personality assessment can help understand the candidate better and provide objective insights to make better hiring decisions.

Culture-add is more important than culture-fit:

It is necessary to own the change we wish to see in others. Gilles (Co-founder and CEO at Livestorm) says that culture fit is much about diversity and active participation in all the domains. People must bring diverse experiences to the table to solve a common problem.

Treat your candidates as customers:

To make the hiring process more efficient:

  1. Companies need to treat candidates like customers. 
  2. Recruiting should be aligned with the business views.

Segregated candidates having a good alignment with the company goals call for better chances of getting hired. 

Build a candidate journey map:

Senior Director of Marketing at HackerRank, Aadil Bandukwala, also explains what a user journey map is for a customer. Product managers build a user journey when they start. The map consists of the problems the customers might face with the products and their solutions. 

Similarly, recruiters should start creating a candidate journey map to understand the emotional journey of the candidates. They need to build an emotional connection with them and optimize the process at each stage.

Learning and Growth:

Learning and Development revolves around the overall professional development of an individual. An employee needs to be provided with a well-connected and a growth-focused environment to perform. 

An organization can offer it encouraging new ideas, taking up courses, taking up new tasks, and more.

Building an L & D-focused culture:

Learning and development programs can boost your retention rate. With no growth and advancement opportunities in their careers, employees might consider a job switch.

Whereas, with better opportunities comes the motivation to perform better. This, in turn, improves your engagement rate. More well-planned L&D programs might involve individual goals, visions, and requirements of each employee.

According to Nishchae Suri (President Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, EdCast), an organization can encourage peer-to-peer learning. Through this process, organizations can add onboarding to assist new hires. It also enhances their onboarding experience. Apart from this, a group mentorship program offers professional coaching from experienced professionals.

Employee Retention: 

Employee retention consists of strategies to prevent employees from leaving. It requires a proper framework with a strong focus on employee well-being and company culture. 

These strategies encompass the entire concept of employee experience. While with better experience comes better retention, when you have an effective employee retention strategy, you attempt to give them the best experience possible.

Creative reward strategies and better communication:

Additionally, the work culture should appeal to a vast cross-section of employees. 

More novel and creative reward strategies like profit share, retention bonuses, stock options are required to ensure better retention.

Building a flexible working environment:

Nishith (Founder and CEO of Interstellar Systems) says, “People should be encouraged to work from home for better output. Employees are tired of the strict 9-5 routine. They are looking for a flexible work-life balance with enough personal time. Managing resources used to be a challenge for their organization during the pandemic. However, after the initial hurdles, plenty of employees prefer working from home.”

Proper focus towards employee well-being:

Clint (Lead Learning and Talent at Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance) feels that taking care of employees’ mental health indicates that you care about them. You can offer a counseling helpline or tie-up with a mental wellness partner.

The managers should be compassionate towards them. Apart from that, yoga and meditation sessions or workout sessions indicate concern towards a focus on the physical fitness of the employees.

Clint’s company has tied up with an app RoundGlass to extend support to their employees. 

Employee engagement: 

Employers need to focus on the social aspect as well. Employees should be able to communicate with their coworkers and supervisors without any trouble. They need to be clearly communicated about their opportunities and journey within the company.

When employees feel engaged, they feel like a valuable part of the organization. And the overall experience becomes positive.

Have clear career communication:

Rujuta gives a unique perspective to this concept. 

“The biggest driver of engagement is not the connections, the money, or the boss. It’s the clear career path.”

She has interviewed thousands of people and most of them stated “lack of a clear career path” as a reason to leave jobs. Managers need to have clear career conversations with their teams to ensure everyone sees opportunities to grow, get feedback, and are optimistic. They should introduce tools for personality tests so that employees can understand each other better.

The key is to customize:

As explained by Sonam Lama (Associate Director- Middle East, CARS24), “The means to successful employee engagement is not one specific activity. Each employee will have different choices. What works as engagement for one may not for others. Customization is the key here. Keep looking for new ideas which will fit everyone in someplace or the other.”

An environment where people work willingly:

Employee engagement is the practice of attempting to keep people engaged and happy in the workplace. It eventually encourages better performance. According to Nimisha (HR Business Partner, Clean Harbors), strategies that create an organization where employees willingly show up, rather than forcefully, constitute an ideal employee experience. Engagement leads to happy employees who turn into ‘happy customers’ by promoting your company.

Employee Recognition:

Employee recognition is one of the most significant factors to ensure an ideal employee experience. Employees are more loyal to the firm when they are valued for their contributions. 

Appreciating them is essential, especially in a way that appeals to them. It can be monetary or even just a verbal “good job”. But, it matters! Organizations need to establish a robust and organized framework for employee recognition. 

Three steps to Employee Recognition:

Dr. Upendra Pieris (CEO of OREL IT) gives us two perspectives on employee recognition. While one is positive recognition, the other is constructive feedback. When an employee receives absolutely no feedback, they cannot figure out the efficiency of his performance. They need to be told about the problem and given a chance to improve. The appreciation for the improvement comes after these two steps.

Qualities of a Good Employee Experience:

Short hiring and onboarding process:

According to a CareerBuilder, 60% of job seekers quit in the middle of filling out job applications due to its lengthy processes/complexities.

Keep the application process simple and less time-consuming to get more applicants.

A framework for rewards and recognition:

Even your best performer will lack motivation if they are not recognized for their work. Make your employees feel valued for the contribution they are making to the company.

Treat your employees like customers:

A company often offers the best treatment to its customers. However, they do not implement the same for their employees. Remember that your customers communicate with your employees. It is necessary that they feel respected and valued.

Encourage team-building:

Employees should be encouraged to interact and cooperate with their teammates. With an efficient strategy, teamwork always makes tasks easy.

Focus on efficient work-life balance:

The trend of working 18 hours a day is not logical anymore. Employees want enough time apart from work to spend time with their families and friends, pursue their hobbies, and enjoy their personal time. A proper work-life balance reduces frustration and burnout.

Equal focus on the fitness and well-being of employees:

Companies need to tell the employees they care about them. Have proper health and fitness policies in place. You can tie up with mental wellness partners for counseling sessions. 

Factors to keep in mind

A few quick tips to keep in mind to maintain a healthy employee experience:

  1. A feedback process in place: Gather effective feedback from employees and candidates to know where your organization is going wrong or right.
  2. Create an employee journey map. What is that? An employee journey map is the visualization of all that the employees might experience in their tenure within the company. It consists of all the factors that can affect employee experience. 


Your employees are your organization’s biggest asset. Value them before they find better opportunities. And even if they do, an organization should not be forgetting the contributions they made towards it. Every task an employee does adds up to the growth of the organization. 

Moreover, better employee experience brings in good employer branding. Employees who feel welcomed and valuable appreciate it in front of others.

We have curated all of these insights from our interactions in The Shape of Work podcast. 

About The Shape of Work

The Shape of Work is a podcast series bringing insights into the future of work and how it is shaping our workplace. We conduct plenty of more discussions around recruiting, HR software solutions, employee well-being, etc. We have welcomed some extremely influential guests, having extensive backgrounds in the field of HR, Leadership and Development, Talent Management, and a lot more. With 200 episodes and 14,500+ downloads, it offers insights into making every organization a better place to work.

Dhristi Shah

I am an Associate Content Marketer at Springworks. I love writing new content that relates to and helps you all (aka my readers).

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