The Employee Experience Starts and Ends with the Manager

The Employee Experience Starts and Ends with the Manager

The employee experience is everything these days. As unemployment rates continue to drop and the competition for talent grows tighter than ever, every experience your employees have impacts your ability to retain them long-term. Deloitte even argues that the employee experience is moving to the human experience in their 2019 Global Human Capital Trends Report. “While the employee experience journey may start with a focus on the workplace, perks, and rewards, in time it must focus on the more human elements of the work itself to truly create meaning,” Deloitte states. This transition to a more human focus on work is important for managers to embrace as the managerial function continues to evolve.

At, we view the employee experience as the sum of the various perceptions employees have about their interactions with a company as well as the perceived and interpreted intentions of the organization. The employee experience begins from the very first interaction with the organization and extends all the way through the employee lifecycle. While this first interaction, and many along the journey, may not incorporate the employee’s direct manager, that individual is in a position to make the greatest impact on the employee journey. So how do you ensure the employee experience is meaningful, human-focused, and will ultimately mean success for you and your team?

  • Communicate honestly and transparently. We believe transparency drives trust and there’s nothing more human than honest communication with your employees. We’ve seen it time and again, being open with your people helps put them at ease and removes reservations, hesitations, and fear.
  • Build trusted relationships with your employees. We believe trust drives loyalty. When you devote the time and energy to getting to know your people on a human level – their purpose, what drives them, the success they want to create for themselves – you’re building loyalty in a way that extends beyond tenure.
  • Have your employee’s backs. Being an advocate for your people builds trust in its own way. Whether it’s a promotion or raise they’re seeking or just needing a champion for a new idea, balancing people advocacy with the needs of the business helps ensure your people continue being your champion.
  • Grow your employee’s skills and capabilities. There’s always more to learn and fostering an environment in which your employees can stretch and grow meets a human need. When it comes to innovation, carve out time for your employees to improve processes, build new skills through stretch projects, and gain additional capabilities by nudging them outside of their comfort zone.
  • Give and receive positive and constructive feedback. We discuss the importance of managerial coaching and feedback in an earlier post but want to reemphasize its importance here. Equally as important is being open to receiving feedback from your people. One of the most valuable questions you can ask an employee is “What can I work on,” and then listen receptively. Putting that feedback into action also builds trust with your employees and grows your managerial skills. Remember, you’re human too.

These seem so simple in theory, but we acknowledge they’re quite difficult in practice. With the multiple demands on manager’s time, being a people manager who focuses on their employees as humans first can be challenging. It takes effort to integrate a human-centered approach to management, but the managerial muscle is beginning to take a whole new shape. Carve out time to flex in new and different ways and the result will be a stronger, more productive, and loyal team.


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