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How to align employee experience to support desired culture and brand

Employees are the people most familiar with your brand because they interact with it constantly. More importantly, they’re your most essential group of brand believers, as they’re responsible for embodying your brand strategy and conveying it to the rest of the world.

Every employee interaction directly affects or influences consumers’ understanding of your brand’s meaning, the relationship they form with it and their belief in your brand.

But does your employee experience (Ex) align with how you present your brand to the rest of the world? One of the most important qualities of successful brands is providing a unified experience regardless of the target audience—and employees are no exception.

The importance of Ex alignment

Employee experience refers to the holistic employee journey—involving the strategies organizations implement to cultivate employee belief in their purpose and support employees’ best work from the day they submit a job application until their farewell party. It’s critical to building a successful brand and attracting, retaining and making the most of your workforce’s talent.

But if your employee experience doesn’t align with your brand, your employees will recognize it, and quickly. When you present your brand a certain way to everyone else but your employees’ experience doesn’t match up with that, they’ll start to question the company, become dissatisfied and lose the belief that first inspired them to apply. And as a result, employees will struggle to embody your brand strategy in their work or effectively use the branding elements you’ve developed for customer communication.

Research reaffirms the common-sense importance of employee experience alignment. Our analysis of self-reported surveys from 156 companies across metrics including growth, profit, brand equity and employee empowerment demonstrates that 27% of the variance between strong and weak performances is linked to aligning employee, customer and brand experience. Furthermore, according to research conducted by Glassdoor, every 1-point increase in a Glassdoor company rating (one metric to measure employee experience for a brand) correlates to a 1.3-point increase in client satisfaction.

Brand strategy platforms—the recipe for all experiences

Every brand relies on these three primary experiences to cultivate belief and achieve success: overall brand experience (Bx), customer experience (Cx) and employee experience (Ex). 

However, these different experiences aren’t distinct; instead, they’re more akin to different “flavors” of a brand, specifically designed to maximize their resonance with each intended audience. This is because there are so many channels and engagements involved with how people interact with a brand that no company can completely control all of them if a cohesive strategy isn’t guiding decisions from the outset.

Regardless of which experience a person encounters, they should be able to immediately recognize your brand through cohesive experiences. So, every brand needs a brand strategy platform that compiles and synthesizes the myriad elements that define it to ensure cohesion. This includes your:

  • Brand aspiration—what drives the brand today and into the future
  • Brand position—what you want the brand to stand for in the mind of the customer (or employee)
  • Brand promise—the benefit that the brand delivers to the customer (or employee)

Crafting or auditing your employee experience to ensure brand alignment

Again, cohesion across all experiences is your top priority as you craft or overhaul your employee experience efforts. To that end, every brand can craft their employee experience or start an internal audit with the following steps.

#1 Consult with staff

If your employee experience isn’t aligned with your brand’s meaning and organizational values, no one will be quicker to notice than your employees.

They do their jobs with a constant eye on your values, and they’re the subjects of any documented approaches to employee experience. And employees are the ones who must embody brand strategy regularly, no matter what their role is. Marketers, customer service representatives and R&D staff alike should all operate with it in mind. Asking them will help you quickly determine how cohesive your brand’s experiences are.

#3 Revisit your cultural tenants and values

If your employee, brand or customer experience policies might need a review, you can prioritize alignment by revisiting your core aspiration and values that define your brand. If your employee experience doesn’t reflect them, it’s time to consider changes.

For example, consider Netflix’s company culture:

  • Their culture’s tagline is “Seeking Excellence.”
  • Their core, uniting philosophy is “people over process.”
  • They aim to bring people together to form a “dream team.”

Their consumer-facing literature outlines these values in more detail, but at face value, these are strong, simple philosophies that resonate with employees. And these appear to shine through from an employee experience standpoint—their Glassdoor ratings skew high across all job descriptions.

That’s alignment in action. 

#4 Consider overhauling systems and structures

Depending on what you uncover in your investigations, you may have to consider significant changes. For example, Microsoft underwent an enormous employee experience overhaul nearly a decade ago.

The tech giant did away with its “stack ranking” employee performance review system because company leaders discovered it:

  • Forced managers to rate some employees as underperformers (even if no one on their team was actually underperforming)
  • Emphasized internal competition rather than external competition, pitting employees against each other instead of encouraging them to compete with other brands
  • Hampered collaboration and, in turn, innovation—critical benchmarks for any tech company

Over time, working at Microsoft lost its luster, and employee performance suffered. Recruitment was also affected, as few candidates want to work in such a high-stress environment when they learn what awaits them.

Major changes like these may be necessary to align your employee experience—especially regarding prospective applicants’ perceptions.

#5 Determine what your brand really stands for—and share that knowledge

One of the biggest challenges for businesses takes hold when leaders don’t have an intimate knowledge of what their brand stands for. This has a cascading effect:

  • When company leaders don’t understand a brand’s overall goals, they can’t communicate them clearly to managers (and, in turn, employees).
  • Staff members with unclear information or insufficient knowledge of their employer’s values can’t embody them—or communicate them to consumers. 
  • Without a clear guidepost, brands end up with staff members who each have a unique (and, to a degree, inaccurate) take on the brand’s vision and values.

All of the steps above are moot if brand leadership doesn’t fundamentally understand or accurately convey brand strategy. In that case, you’ll need to revisit your brand strategy platform because the experiences are ill-informed and too misaligned.

Employee experience alignment: the cornerstone of successful brands

Brands simply can’t achieve positive, productive and impactful employee, brand or customer experiences without aligning their approaches to each. Successful tactics are rooted in clear, simple and powerful brand values—the foundation of any prosperous brand. 

If you’re ready to overhaul your employee experience approaches or create an employee satisfaction framework for the first time, alignment with your brand’s strategy and guiding principles should be front of mind.


Qualtrics. What Is EX? Your Ultimate Guide to Employee Experience.

Glassdoor. The Link Between Glassdoor Reviews and Customer Satisfaction.

Netflix. Netflix Culture – Seeking Excellence.

Glassdoor. Netflix.

CNN Business. Microsoft Kills Employee-Ranking System.

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