The 9 Elements of Employee Experience Explained

Last verified Apr 13, 2023

It’s no secret that the employee experience matters. From better customer outcomes to lower attrition rates and improved overall performance, it’s clear that businesses can only benefit from creating positive employee experiences. 

So, how do you create a positive employee experience? 

What to get right about your employee experience

McKinsey did some fascinating research on what it takes to create the ideal employee experience, and they’ve identified nine things that matter the most. Creating the ideal employee experience for each individual can be difficult because…we’re all individuals. Your concept of an outstanding employee experience may ultimately differ from what your manager, manager’s manager, and colleagues envision.  

9 elements of employee experience

The key to creating an outstanding employee experience is to consider what people value. Personal circumstances, personality types, and plenty of other factors will make different elements more (or less) attractive to other people. When you get to the core of what people want, things get a bit easier. 

You may not be able to get into the minds of every employee and figure out exactly what they want from their jobs. But you can work towards creating a universally rewarding workplace by focusing on particular elements that can create a stellar experience. Let’s take some time to break down each of the nine elements of the employee experience and what people want to get out of each of them. 

The social experience 

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People and relationships 

Is there anything worse than feeling invisible at work? Your ideas go unheard, your work and contributions aren’t acknowledged, and you feel increasingly disconnected from your coworkers and manager. People want to be seen and treated as a significant contributors to their team and company. That’s why managers and team members need to stay connected to one another and appreciate what everyone brings to the table. 

A little acknowledgment from your peers can go a long way at work. Managers should recognize good work and effort so people feel like they’re being heard, whether they do it privately or publicly (we’re big fans of both). Encourage employees to give feedback to one another and find ways to praise a job well done. 


Autonomous and independent work is important, but nobody wants to be an army of one when they’re at work. Doing your job in a vacuum without input or insight from others can be frustrating and harmful to your bottom line. Keeping everyone aligned with company and team goals starts with making collaboration and information sharing easier. 

jimmy fallon saying we are best when we work together and step up
Agree 100%

If you want to make working together easier, start by looking at your tech stack. Messaging tools like Slack or Teams make it easier for people to communicate and work together. Establishing a single source of truth for company knowledge makes collaborative work much easier and more efficient.

Social climate

In the past, liking the same movies and hitting up the same happy hour locations was considered the “gold star” for employee belonging. Inclusivity and belonging matter at work. Having a good social climate is less about having everything in common with the people you work with and more about feeling comfortable and accepted by your coworkers. 

Give people plenty of opportunities to get to know their teammates and other employees at the company. Company-wide and team activities can help bring people together and make everyone feel closer. Some of your favorite work tools could also give you opportunities to get to know your coworkers better. We love that our latest HRIS integration and employee profiles feature makes learning about the people you work with easy. 

The work experience 

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Work organization

Can you confidently say that everyone on your team knows exactly what they need to be working on? On top of that, does everyone have what they need to do their best work? This goes beyond checking out your to-dos in Asana or Basecamp or making sure you have access to the correct files. Having clear responsibilities alongside helpful resources and tools is essential to the employee experience. 

This is another area where a little managerial attention can go a long way. Learn about what tools people use, their work timelines, and ultimate project outcomes to identify potential areas for improvement. 

Work control and flexibility 

Giving people space and autonomy can improve morale and engagement. That’s why we’re big fans of asynchronous work at Guru. It gives people the time to plan out their days and can give everyone back some much-needed flexibility. 

 Jack Black saying loosey goosey
We prefer "flexible" to "loosey goosey" but you do you

Of course, we can do this because we value having a knowledge-driven culture and an excellent tech stack. Building these things takes time, but one of the best places you can start is by building your own knowledge base.

Growth and rewards

What would it take for an employee to get a title change and pay raise during their next review cycle? Managers and department heads should clearly outline avenues for employee growth and advancement. Career growth and trajectory matter to everyone at a company. Ensure employees know what it takes to achieve their professional and financial goals.

Fair compensation is always important, but you should also consider other ways employees can be rewarded for work. Extra time off, more flexible schedules, and budgets for health and wellness-related activities are excellent ways to motivate and reward people. 

The organization experience 



Before you dive into this section, take a moment to revisit your company’s mission, vision, and values. Knowing that you agree with your company’s values and overall purpose is nice, but it goes deeper than that. Employees also want to feel like their work matters and that it helps positively affect the company’s bottom line. 

Your employees are eager to help the company, so you should let them! Give people avenues for providing feedback and helping refine processes. Let employees know how their work can showcase the company’s vision and values and how they’re working towards helping the company achieve its goals. 


It’s challenging to do your best work when your computer keeps crashing and you can’t use half of your programs. Investing in technology that can help employees work more efficiently can do wonders for creating positive employee experiences.

man throwing computer monitor
Tip: Check for software updates before rage throwing

We know that creating the ideal tech stack for your company and team takes time and research. Don’t worry; we have your back! Here are a few guides that can help:

Don't Fall Back on a Failing Tool Stack

How to Create a More Efficient Tech Stack 

Physical environment

People deserve to feel safe and comfortable at work, and that’s true whether you’re working from the office or your home. Companies can still have a lot of influence over physical work environments even if their employees never step foot in an office. 

Giving people a flexible schedule and a home office budget can do wonders for making people feel comfortable at work. Create guides and tips for setting up offices for people who need to create a workspace at home to ensure they’re comfortable working. 

Outstanding experiences for outstanding employees


It doesn’t matter what industry you're working in, your company's size, or the current economic climate. Every workplace should feel empowered to create the best experience possible. McKinsey did a phenomenal job identifying the nine elements of the employee experience that matter the most, but it’s up to you to make them work for your unique team.