What is an employee experience platform?
An employee experience platform is software that supports people and teams by helping organizations improve connections, gain insights, find shared purpose, and encourage growth. Employee experience platforms are designed to improve employee wellbeing in many ways, such as encouraging professional development and learning, which in turn boosts productivity, heightens morale, and keeps people aligned on business goals.
Put another way, employee experience platforms are a tool for investing in your employees so they can be their best selves at work.
Why should businesses use an employee experience platform?
Businesses should use an employee experience platform to help keep employees engaged and satisfied, improve employee retention, and increase productivity and profitability.
If you’ve worked for more than one organization in your career, then you’re likely familiar with how different the employee experience can be from job to job—even if the positions you held were similar. This is because organizational culture plays a huge role in how people feel about their jobs, not just their everyday responsibilities.
For example, someone who’s held a position for long enough to feel confident in their job may eventually start to feel less challenged or, worse, bored. If someone in this situation worked at a job with an employee experience platform, they’d be supported throughout their time at the organization—from the onboarding experience through future seniority—to help prevent any stagnation or burnout periods.
The benefits of using an employee experience platform are impressive:
- A majority (94%) of employees would stay at their company longer if it invested in their learning and development.1
- Employees who report having clarity about their work priorities are more than four times as likely to say they’re happy at their current company.2
- Organizations with highly engaged employees have 23% greater profitability.3
How do employee experience platforms work?
Employee experience platforms vary from product to product, but usually include:
- A centralized app with a dashboard that gives a high-level overview of the different categories and options available.
- Connection to HR systems, such as a self-service payroll portal, benefits information, and company policies.
- Communication and collaboration tools, such as a chat for your direct team or different interest groups.
- Options for personalizing and customizing the layout of your dashboard and the content appears there.
- A place for employee goals, feedback, and surveys.
- A professional development category for taking and assigning courses.
- Analytics and insights that show a snapshot of your work trends.
By combining all these tools into one place, you simplify the employee experience and eliminate the need to toggle back and forth between many different apps.
What are the main features of an employee experience platform?
Here’s an example of how an employee experience platform might be structured.
- Allowing managers to give and ask employees for feedback about their performance and needs through research-backed survey questions.
- Providing sentiment analysis to determine employee engagement.
- Showing data on how much time employees spend in meetings versus the time available for focused work.
- Suggesting a one-on-one meeting between a supervisor and direct report if it’s been a long time since they checked in.
- Offering reports on after-hours work and quiet time to help managers understand how hybrid work affects flexible schedules and employees’ ability to unplug.
- Catching problematic work patterns that may eventually lead to stress and burnout.
- Having a centralized place for professional development courses where employees can learn at their own pace and ask questions.
- Enabling managers to share and build courses that are customized to individual employees.
- Connecting employees to answers by crowdsourcing knowledge from across an organization.
Community and connection
- Strengthening the digital employee experience—which is key in hybrid work environments—through personalized curation of news, tasks, and resources.
- Bringing people together through digital communities, virtual events, and conversation tools.
- Giving managers data about their own work habits to encourage modeling of healthy behavior for their teams.
Sense of purpose
- Using an objectives and key results (OKRs) framework to help managers define team goals.
- Being able to easily update goal progress, so employees can see how their results affect other efforts.
- Showing managers how much time they’ve spent with new hires to help ensure they’re properly supported.
What’s the difference between employee experience platforms and employee engagement platforms?
Employee experience platforms and employee engagement platforms are closely related but not the same. Typically, an employee engagement platform focuses on measuring how engaged employees are but doesn’t suggest actions to improve that engagement. With an employee experience platform, organizations have the added benefit of collecting engagement data and receiving recommendations for how to improve engagement, which makes the tool more thorough than employee engagement platforms.
How do I implement an employee experience platform?
To set up a new employee experience platform at your organization, consider taking the following steps:
- Meet with key stakeholders. Depending on how large your organization is and how it’s structured, you may want to form a committee responsible for choosing and adopting the employee experience platform. Make sure at least one representative from all relevant departments is included to get the most well-rounded set of perspectives. Human resources should play a major role in this effort.
- Establish your goals for the technology. Innovative technology is only as strong as the effort and intent put behind it. What do you hope to gain by implementing an employee experience platform? How will you measure if it’s successfully meeting those goals?
- Research employee experience platforms that can help meet your goals. For example, if you’d like to improve employee retention, do the platforms you’re considering have features that not only measure that metric but also make multiple suggestions for what to do if you’re struggling to meet your goal?
- Try before you buy. Sometimes what sounds great in theory isn’t as great in practice. Be sure to demo your top choices among committee members and discuss anything that felt confusing, wasn’t what you expected, or could be a potential hurdle for employee use.
- Roll it out slowly. Once you’ve selected an employee experience platform, it may be useful to first train a select group of employees on it before rolling it out organization-wide. This way, they can provide feedback about their experiences to help you better personalize the features for people’s needs and address any problems before everyone is using it.
- Provide training. Now that you’ve fixed any initial kinks and received feedback, you’re ready to provide training to all employees and roll the platform out fully.
- Regroup as needed. Meet with committee members when necessary to address any issues that arise and to help keep the employee experience with the platform as smooth as possible.
Resources for getting started with an employee experience platform
To learn more about employee experience, check out these related resources.
Hybrid work and employee experience
- Create a Holistic Employee Experience
- Hybrid Work Is Just Work: Are We Doing It Wrong?
- Microsoft Viva brochure
Technology in human resources
- Engage Your Employees to Achieve Powerful Business Outcomes
- HR Technology Trends for Improving the Employee Experience
- New Workforce, New EX Technology
Customer use cases and stories
- Drive faster growth with integrated employee experience tools
- Cricket Australia wins a test for its employees using Viva Insights to improve employee work-life balance
- What is an employee experience platform?
Or, if you’re ready to take the next step and start researching employee experience platforms, explore how Microsoft Viva helps create an engaged, productive work environment with next-generation AI and insights.
Frequently asked questions
Employee experience software, also known as employee experience platforms and employee experience managers, supports people and teams by helping organizations deliver more connection, insight, purpose, and growth.
Employee experience refers to someone’s perceptions, relationships, and work-life quality at their job—from their onboarding experience onward.
Benefits of employee experience platforms include increased job satisfaction, professional development opportunities, productivity, organizational profits, and employee retention.
Some examples of a positive employee experience include:
- Taking a company-sponsored professional development course or training on a topic that you’re interested in.
- Connecting with coworkers on a company group chat or forum to get answers to questions you’re looking for.
- Collaborating with coworkers who you don’t normally interact with on a project that puts newly developed skills in action.
Improving employee experience is best done with an employee experience platform. When you use an employee experience platform, the technology draws on a multitude of data and factors to make recommendations at each phase of someone’s employment for how to keep them engaged, satisfied, and productive.
-  LinkedIn 2019 Workplace Learning Report. Artem Chelovechkov, Benjamin Spar, Rachel Lefkowitz. Amanda Van Nuys. 2019.
-  Hybrid Work Is Just Work. Are We Doing It Wrong? Microsoft. 2022.
-  The Powerful Relationship Between Employee Engagement and Team Performance. James K. Harter, Frank L. Schmidt, Sangeeta Agrawal, Anthony Blue, Stephanie K. Plowman, Patrick Josh, Jim Asplund. Gallup. 2020.