Attract and Retain Rock-Star Employees

Author: Christopher Durso       

Employee engagement and employee experience tend to be used interchangeably in the workplace, according to Jacob Morgan, but they’re two different things. Positive experience leads to better engagement — and with employee-engagement levels stagnating or even falling across industries, employers need to think about the experiences they’re creating.

“For me, employee experience is simple. It’s a combination of three environments: culture, technology, and physical space,” says Morgan, an expert on the future of work, whose latest book is The Employee Experience Advantage: How to Win the War for Talent by Giving Employees the Workspaces They Want, the Tools They Need, and a Culture They Can Celebrate, speaking in the latest video for The Intersection, produced by PCMA and PSAV.

How do you design those three environments so people want to be there? “It’s matching the employee wants and needs and expectations with what the organization can actually deliver,” Morgan says. “It’s not just flexible work, it’s not just free food on Wednesdays. It’s having managers that act as coaches and mentors. It’s giving employees tools to make them effective. It’s giving them multiple work spaces in which they can choose how they want to work.”

For Michael Barratt, CMP, employee experience has two levels. The first is organizational. “That’s kind of what makes an employee accept the job,” said Barratt, senior vice president of meetings and events for the Auto Care Association. “You think, Oh, this organization seems great.”

The second level is deeper: departmental. It’s the experience created by individual managers and supervisors. “Over the years I’ve managed a bunch of people, from Baby Boomers down to Millennials, and there’s really no universal approach to employee engagement and satisfaction,” Barratt said. “It comes down to respect, and feeling that individual and understanding what their goals are both professionally and personally.”

Indeed, Barratt thinks nothing is more important than showing your employees respect. “It’s remarkable what we as working professionals are asked to perform — our tasks and our duties and our jobs,” he said. “My team, we travel a lot, we’re out of town a lot. It’s really important for me to acknowledge that they have a life outside of the office, and realizing that their day doesn’t necessarily stop at the end of the workday, because we are on the road or there’s lots going on. You have to realize that sometimes a simple thank-you makes a big difference to people…. It’s respect. I don’t think that there’s enough of that out there.”


1. Employee engagement vs. organizational design: Match your employees’ wants and needs with what your organization can actually deliver.

2. Open spaces, closed spaces, cubicles! All can work, but offer multiple environments in which people can get their work done.

3. How to get true ROI in this investment in your employees? The three components are culture, technology, and physical space. All three need to be addressed.

Watch the latest video from The Intersection.

Become a Member

Get premium access to provocative executive-level education, face-to-face networking and business intelligence.