HR Careers

Careers Spotlight: What Is a Director of Employee Experience?

March 1, 2022
November 7, 2023
Lyssa Test
Lattice Team

Employee experience spans from a new hire’s first day at your company to their last, but this journey is often fragmented and inconsistent. Unfortunately, many companies have a number of different teams that own specific touchpoints of the employee lifecycle, and fail to collaborate effectively or think of the employee experience holistically. For example, a Human Resources team owns new hire onboarding, a talent management team oversees employee training, and a performance management team administers annual reviews. Yet, no one person has the full, uninterrupted view of the workplace experience and can make strategic and proactive decisions that make your business a great place to work — that is, until your company hires a Director of Employee Experience.

A Director of Employee Experience is solely responsible for using employee feedback to create a work environment that engages and inspires workers to deliver their best performance. And it’s a role that is growing in importance amid the Great Resignation, as businesses fight to attract high-caliber talent and improve employee retention.

In this installment of our Careers Spotlight series, we’ll take a closer look at what the role is, its day-to-day responsibilities, and how to become a qualified applicant.

What Is a Director of Employee Experience?

Much like how a Customer Experience Officer (CXO) oversees every stage of the customer lifecycle to ensure customers have a positive experience with a business, a Director of Employee Experience does the same — but for employees. Their job is to ensure that every employee has an exceptional experience working for your company, regardless of whether they’re brand new to the team, a long-tenured veteran, or on their way to another opportunity. The Director of Employee Experience, or Chief Workplace Experience Officer as you might hear it called, is in charge of setting the overall employee engagement strategy and creating a workplace in which every employee feels valued, connected, and inspired.

Because of the nature of this role, the Director of Employee Experience often collaborates closely with almost every department on the Human Resources team, like benefits, People operations, learning and development, employee communications, and more. At larger organizations, the Director of Employee Experience might even oversee a team made up of employee experience managers or employee experience specialists to help manage and execute more and larger-scale projects. By partnering with their team members and HR colleagues, an individual in this role can help build a workplace experience that motivates employees to do their best work.

What a Director of Employee Experience Does

Because there are so many factors that influence the employee experience, the Director of Employee Experience has a wide range of responsibilities. From administering engagement surveys, to analyzing employee feedback, creating action plans, and often assisting with workplace communications, this role is a busy and important one. Here’s how a Director of Employee Experience might spend their day.

1. They design, administer, and analyze employee surveys.

Employee surveys, which contain a wealth of information and actionable feedback about an organization’s employee experience, are invaluable to a Director of Employee Experience. This role is typically charged with overseeing a company’s entire survey program, including onboarding and engagement surveys, and stay and exit interviews. The Director of Employee Experience usually supervises employee surveys end-to-end, from determining the questions on each survey, to analyzing results and feedback. The person in this role can then use that direct, honest employee feedback to inform and create the company’s overall engagement strategy

2. They manage and measure impactful engagement initiatives.

Armed with employee survey results and insights, the Director of Employee Experience must then propose a plan of action to improve the workplace experience at their company. These impactful engagement programs take many different forms and need to appeal to individuals at every stage of the employee lifecycle. They can include things like inclusive policy updates, as well as talent recognition, wellness, career advancement, and leadership development programs.

This role’s job is to both react to whatever areas of opportunity come to light in these surveys, as well as proactively anticipate areas the business could improve. For instance, if survey results reveal that new parents are unhappy with the duration of a company’s secondary caregiver leave, the Director of Employee Experience could work closely with the benefits team to grant primary and secondary caregivers the same amount of leave time.

The Employee Experience Director should also stay informed about any policies and perks other companies are adopting. For example, in today’s climate, having a remote-first workplace is a big driver for attracting and retaining top talent. The Director of Employee Experience could petition their company to consider embracing a more remote-friendly work environment to help attract potential employees and keep their current ones happy.

3. They communicate policies and programs to employees.

Having a slew of incredible perks and programs won’t do your business any good if your employees don’t know they exist. In addition to introducing and managing these projects and programs, the Director of Employee Experience is also in charge of communicating the existence and purpose of these programs to their workforce. Planning internal events, sending emails and newsletters, presenting during all-hands meetings, and working closely with managers and senior leaders are all ways the person in this role can improve awareness of new policies, programs, and technologies and encourage employee adoption. 

How to Become a Director of Employee Experience

There is no standard trajectory to become a Director of Employee Experience and businesses are usually open to hiring individuals of varying professional backgrounds. Like most director-level positions, this role typically requires a candidate to possess seven or more years of experience in a related field, such as People operations, employee relations, learning and development, or Human Resources. That said, having job experience in other business areas like data and analytics, customer relations, career coaching, or internal communications could also make you a competitive candidate. A bachelor’s degree in Human Resources, organizational psychology, or business administration, or even a master’s degree in these disciplines, might also help prepare an individual for this role.

At the skill level, a Director of Employee Experience needs expertise in a variety of interpersonal and project management skills. Because this role sets and implements the company-wide engagement strategy, a successful job candidate would need to feel at home and be able to stay organized in a face-paced, dynamic work environment, while being comfortable regularly using their decision-making, problem-solving, and analytical skills.

Lastly, because this role works so closely with many stakeholders, including various HR departments, the executive board, and employees, an ideal candidate would have exceptional interpersonal communication skills. Listening is also paramount in this position. A Director of Employee Experience must be able to empathetically listen and understand employee concerns before quickly addressing employee feedback and taking action to improve culture issues or other areas of opportunity. A truly effective Director of Employee Experience won’t shy away from constructive feedback, but rather see it as a valuable opportunity to make improvements and drive meaningful change that benefits not only employees, but the entire organization.

Employee experience is an expansive and elusive topic. If you’re looking to learn more about how to build a better workplace and deliver engagement initiatives that appeal to individuals in every stage of the employee lifecycle, check out Lattice’s on-demand employee experience webinars. Discover industry insights and learn best practices from employee experience experts, so you can build a business that supports individuals at every step of the employee journey at your company.