Employee Experience

How to Align Employee Experience With Business Goals

March 18, 2024
March 18, 2024
Valentina Gissin
Lattice Team


Employee engagement, to me, is the ideal output of a positive, holistic employee experience. And there is no more important output in determining a company’s ultimate success in today’s world of work. 

As people leaders, we should be designing a set of employee experiences grounded in employee value propositions (EVPs) that tie back to what really matters to the employees at our organizations. Do this right, and you’ll see real results with higher employee engagement – the level of discretionary effort that employees will be gladly willing to give to your company. 

We’re well within our power to provide this kind of clarity and support...it’s critical to the success of our businesses.

Unfortunately, we’re not seeing a high level of engagement at most companies. Every year, we have more tools at our disposal to make people love their jobs and build more meaningful careers, and yet 2022 was the worst year in a decade for employee engagement in the US. 2023 was not much better. Some of this can be attributed to macroeconomic conditions, but not all of it. 

There are a number of ways people leaders and teams can do better when it comes to driving and measuring employee engagement. It starts by reminding ourselves how much employee engagement matters – in good times and tougher ones.

Don’t get caught up in power dynamics. 

There’s no denying there have been some pretty significant dynamic shifts in the workforce in the last few years. 2019 and 2020 kicked off an unprecedented competition for talent and the Great Resignation; then the power balance shifted back toward management and away from employees with the rocky economic environment of 2022 and 2023. 

We saw a number of things happen as a result:

  • Many companies started to scale back on a lot of the perks and initiatives they’d rolled out during the pandemic – initiatives that made their employees feel heard and cared for. 
  • Businesses became a little less thoughtful in ensuring people had the clearly defined roles, autonomy, and flexibility they needed to succeed. 
  • People functions were frequently defunded, which means that in a time of economic hardship and general stress around the world, many leaders took their eyes off of the employee experience.

In a world where companies are restructuring and tightening budgets, it can be all too common for employees to find they have less clarity around responsibilities and expectations as they take on new or additional work.

But the reality is that we’re well within our power to provide this kind of clarity and support, and in fact, it’s critical to the success of our businesses. For companies that have downsized, they need to maximize the talent they have left. What better time to put your energy, mindshare, and resources into crafting a new EVP and thinking through how to deliver it so employees give us the discretionary effort we need to win?

Model your employee experience on your customer experience. 

Employee experience has been marginalized in many companies as a once-a-year employee survey and a few “rah-rah” company events. Employee experience cannot be an afterthought, just as an EVP cannot be designed as a one-size-fits-all solution.

Employee experience was initially modeled on the customer experience as a central, internal-facing process to drive engagement. We’re missing an opportunity not to consider the two in parallel, and use many of the same tools and frameworks that make for a successful customer experience to design our employee experience. 

What does this look like?

  • Diversifying the talent on your people team – look for individuals with product, CV, and maybe even marketing experience alongside HR capabilities.
  • Breaking down your internal employees as you would customers, making sure your team has a clear picture of every segment of your population and what their needs and wants are. 
  • Digging into how you can address these needs, and use those insights to inform EVPs that meet each segment where they are. 

Tie everything back to business needs.

Early in my career, I had the opportunity to build a people program from scratch – soup to nuts. But I didn’t report into HR; I reported into business leaders. As a result, I had to be incredibly responsive to business needs by default. The feedback loop was immediate, and what that ultimately taught me is that a talent leader is a business leader. We just don’t always know that. 

Instead, many people leaders and teams find themselves positioned as reactors or responders – not strategic leaders – within their organizations. We need to embrace our role as business leaders, not just service providers. And the best way to develop and execute within that mindset is to start and end with the goals of your business.

From that first experience to now, my approach as a people leader has always been to ask:

  • What are the business problems we’re solving?
  • What can we take from the outside world to avoid rookie mistakes?
  • What do we need to invent for this specific company and this specific set of issues? 

Deprioritizing employee experience is actually incredibly short-sighted. There may be instability in the economic landscape right now, but there are still plenty of good jobs out there. Your top performers — the people who are really going to make a difference — have options. And if you don’t think about them and their experience, you’ll be putting your whole business at risk. 

Learn more about building an employee experience for high performance with Lattice’s free ebook, Performance and Engagement: Better Together.

Lattice’s 2024 State of People Strategy Report found that performance management had jumped 40% in priority among HR teams and leaders — but is also tied for first with employee engagement.

So how should leaders balance the two? Valentina Gissin, Chief People Officer of Garner Health Technology, and member of Lattice’s CPO Council, shares why employee engagement is more important than ever in difficult times.