The employer experience index

How do you measure the motivation and experiences of employees in our cognitive era? Machines are quickly taking over human tasks or even making people redundant. We see this in our factories and on the streets, where more and more small tasks are being taken over by machines. For example, Amazon is using drones to deliver packages in the United States, and in the Netherlands, Stichting Samen Veilig Oud Worden (‘Foundation for growing old together safely’, SVOW) has launched a pilot to see if robots can deliver pizzas.

Motivation model

With these relatively simple tasks being taken over by machines, an employee’s knowledge is becoming more important than their ability to carry out a task. In this information age, employees are given the freedom and time to further develop themselves and the company. They are also ascribing more meaning and value to work in this age. The shift from task-based to knowledge-based work also necessitates a change in management style. Leadership is still seen as a rational process in which people can be motivated with a financial reward. However, research has shown that money only serves as a source of motivation for simple tasks. Once cognition or creativity is involved, the method of motivation has to change. People are emotional by nature, and their feelings have to be addressed in order to spark their motivation. Whereas motivation used to be linked to remuneration, the new motivation model looks more like this:

Motivation = remuneration + meaning + challenge + ownership + recognition + involvement

Companies are becoming increasingly aware that involvement and productivity go hand in hand with how employees perceive their work. Winning over your employees is a daily ‘struggle’. Making employees feel like they work they do is of value, that they are an integral part of the company, and that they share the company’s values is becoming increasingly important.


Onboarding plays an important role in this. It makes employees feel more connected to the organization, more productive, and less likely to leave. Creating an efficient onboarding process can save the organization costs and have a positive effect on the employee experience.

Appical is the biggest player in the field of onboarding and has developed an innovative application to explain to new employees the written and unwritten rules of the organization before their first day of work. However, they were met with a challenge: how to quantify the employee experience. If you could somehow measure this, you could express the effectiveness of the onboarding process in numbers and make changes where necessary.

Employee Experience Index

Developing and validating a measurement tool is the job of a statistician, which is why I was asked to help. The first step was to carry out a literature review with Roy Terenstra and the Customer Success Management (CSM) team at Appical. We quickly came across the Employee Experience Index (EEI) by IBM Analytics. IBM conducted a survey among 23,000 employees in 45 countries with the aim of developing a questionnaire and identifying the underlying constructs of workplace satisfaction.

They defined the employee experience as follows: A set of perceptions that employees have about their experiences at work in response to their interactions with the organization. In short, this was about how employees experience their work. The Employee Experience Index has five underlying constructs:

  1. Belonging: feeling part of a team, group, or organization
  2. Purpose: understanding why one’s work matters
  3. Achievement: a sense of accomplishment in the work that is done
  4. Happiness: the pleasant feeling arising in and around work
  5. Vigour: the presence of energy, enthusiasm, and excitement at work

Knowing how employees score in these five areas can help you determine how they experience their work and whether an improvement can be made. For example, if employee scores poorly on ‘Purpose’, the employer can develop an extra module in the Appical app to better highlight the purpose of the work, with the ultimate goal of enhancing their sense of purpose and involvement.

To reflect the need for continuous measurement, a study was carried out in which the EEI score was analysed in relation to turnover intention. According to the results, 21% of the group with the highest EEI score intended to leave their employer. In the bottom 25% with the lowest EEI scores, 44% had the intention to leave their employer.

Now that we know what to measure and the importance of these measurements, how do we create our measurement tool? With the EEI in mind, we can create a similar scale and validate it using a standard procedure. Generally speaking, there are three steps to creating a measurement tool:

  1. Determine the questions
  2. Have a large group of people take the survey
  3. Validate the results using statistical models

This measurability helps employers improve their employee experience and thereby boost corporate productivity. Positive, happy people are 31% more productive and perform better at work, stay with their employers for longer, and are less likely to experience a burnout. This is reason enough to monitor employee satisfaction! If you have any tips or suggestions or if you’d like to share your own experiences, please let us know.