Investing in Employee Experience for Competitive Advantage

For years, enterprises have been focusing on improving the customer experience – and they’ve moved the needle in significant ways. Investments in personalisation and even hyper-personalisation, new technologies that simplify engagement and enable self-service, and use of advanced and real-time analytics that generate deeper customer insights have helped companies grow their business and retain customers.  

But the fact is, most customers still value having a positive and even emotional connection with the people acting as “face” of the organisation they are doing business with – in other words, your employees. And as a rule, happier, engaged employees make for happier customers.  Read the new paper: “Why Employee Experience Matters.” 

So, what’s the business impact if just a fraction of the budget spent on optimising the customer experience is spent on improving the employee experience in ways that boost employee engagement and happiness? More than you may think. 

According to Forrester, companies with the most engaged employees enjoy 81% higher customer satisfaction, experience half the employee turnover of their peers, and have a decisive competitive advantage.1 Similarly, a 2017 Gallup study validates this assumption – and identified the vast ways happier, more engaged employees impact the bottom line. According to the study, employers who focus on employee engagement realise:2 

  • 17% higher productivity 

  • 20% higher sales 

  • 21% higher profitability 

  • 4.3x increase in earnings per share 

Enterprises are taking notice of the impact employee experience has on their bottom line, with 68% of firms saying that the employee experience is an important factor impacting their ability to deliver on business objectives.3 These firms also understand the role technology plays in employee experience, with 48% of firms tracking KPIs for employee satisfaction with technologyand 64% of firms considering the impact on employee experience when making technology purchasing decisions.5 

So where should companies focus their investments to improve employee experience? 

Determining where to focus investments for the biggest impact is always a challenge. As a guide, remember that all employees want to feel like their contribution to the company, no matter how small, is essential. To hire and retain employees, enterprises must look beyond salaries and job titles to focus on improving the entire employee experience so employees can focus on doing meaningful work, not busy work. 

This means that everyday processes have an outsised impact on the employee experience – especially processes that the majority of employees participate in on a regular basis. For example, how people have to book travel, create monthly expense reports, and manage payments for reimbursements might feel like small things - but manual, paper-based finance processes in these areas can easily get in the way of employee happiness and engagement. More important and engaging work may get sidetracked by mundane tasks that could be automated or simplified, causing employees to become bored and frustrated and over time build up until they start looking another job.  

Delaying Investments in Employee Experience Can Be Costly  

Failure to make investments in employee experience can have big consequences. According to Forrester, employers report that the biggest impacts of a poor employee experience are:  

  • 38% lower productivity 

  • 36% higher employee turnover 

  • 35% Increased costs 

  • 31% Inability to keep up with competitors 

  • 27% Decreased revenue 

  • 26% Poor customer experiences 

Success Requires Collaboration 

In light of the findings summarised, any inefficient or frustrating business process that touches employees needs to be reexamined and potentially reinvented. This means everyone is ultimately responsible for looking within their department for opportunities to improve the experience. But finance and HR certainly have the lowest-hanging fruit, as they both engage with every employee on a regular basis. By working together, finance, HR, and IT can implement the technologies needed to improve the employee experience to reduce turnover; encourage better cost tracking; improve visibility with accurate, timely data; and make a positive impact on the bottom line.  

Want to learn more?  

  • Watch the video, which illustrates why employee experience is so important. 

  • Read the new paper from SAP Concur solutions: “Why Employee Experience Matters.” You’ll gain even more insights to help you start planning and investing in a better employee experience. 


1 Forrester and SAP Concur, Improve Travel, Expense, and Invoice Management to Drive Better EX, December 2019.

2 State of the Global Workplace, Gallup, 2017.

3 Forrester and SAP Concur, Improve Travel, Expense, and Invoice Management to Drive Better EX, December 2019

4 Forrester and SAP Concur, Improve Travel, Expense, and Invoice Management to Drive Better EX, December 2019

5 Forrester and SAP Concur, Improve Travel, Expense, and Invoice Management to Drive Better EX, December 2019