A roadmap for unlocking employee experience

Learn how to design a scalable, adaptable EX strategy that endures for years.

REPORT | 6m read
February 17, 2021

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Employee experience

(n., \ ɪm-ˈplɔɪ-i \ ɪk-ˈspɪriəns \ | abbrev. ‘EX’): The sum of employees’ perceptions of their experiences working within an organization.

Few business leaders would dispute that employee experience, or EX, matters. Yet many struggle to express why it’s so critical for success, or define how to nurture it within their organizations.

Good EX can help reduce turnover, improve customer experiences, attract new talent, and increase people’s pride in the work they do. But without an articulated EX strategy, leaders may find its benefits fleeting at best.

To find out what defines high quality, durable EX, Citrix has conducted a global survey across an array of organizations and markets, and interviewed dozens of experts and practitioners. During the course of this research, it became clear that the most EX-advanced organizations start with a culture that puts people first.

Yet fostering a people-first culture is just the beginning of a sound EX strategy. It has taken the Covid-19 crisis to show how critical investments in culture, technology, and physical space are to creating sustainable, adaptable EX.


of executives anticipate significant ROI from an improved employee experience.

The need for great EX has never been greater. As businesses continue to navigate the disruption wrought by the pandemic, far-minded organizations will put EX in its rightful place: at the center of the enterprise.

Data from Citrix’s Work 2035: How people and technology will pioneer new ways of working suggests a sharp disconnect between how business leaders and employees view their roles in the future, and the safety of those roles as technology matures. This is a digital disconnect, and at the moment, it’s growing unchecked. Good EX presents an opportunity to proactively combat the disconnect. Good EX is not just a tool for the challenges of today, but an insurance policy against those of tomorrow.

What’s been missing is a roadmap—a set of operating principles that can be infused into an organization’s operating model, regardless of sector or industry. But where to begin? For us, it starts with the intelligence gathered in the report. We hope that as you read, you identify tactics that can inform your own EX strategies.

Our methodology

We surveyed 783 decision-makers in HR, IT, and Real Estate across five countries: the US, UK, Germany, Japan, and Singapore. Industries we covered included Financial Services, Manufacturing, and Healthcare. We supplemented this research with conversations across a diverse group of experts, including leaders and practitioners in IT and HR.

Personas and dimensions

Across a spectrum ranging from “Learner” to “Advanced,” respondents self-identified how mature they felt their EX practices were. Their strategies were measured against three universal dimensions that define EX: Culture (the day-to-day of what it’s like to work at a company); Digital Space (the technology that enables employees to work effectively at any time); and Physical Space (where employees work—from desks to remote spaces).

The three principles

Over the course of our research, three principles emerged—guiding behaviors that illuminate a clear path to EX maturity. These principles serve as a framework for businesses to unlock the potential of their greatest asset: their people.

Beneath each principle we offer a set of clear, tactical actions that organizations can take to operationalize EX.

Individual progress

Empower individuals to progress in their careers.

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Deepen empathy from human insights.

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Partner to foster linked and shared EX ownership.

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The path to EX transformation

There is no linear path to EX excellence. Companies we’ve interviewed excel in some areas, but are still developing in others. Despite this, every organization is united by an unprecedented challenge: How to evolve notions of “workspace” in the wake of the pandemic, and how to set their workforces up for success in a world where flexible work models become the norm.

In the next 15 years, 91 percent of professionals believe that their organization will spend more on technology than on human workers. Despite this, there is no time like the present to invest in your employees’ well-being.

The principles of Individual Progress, Empathy, and Partnership will align your business to a better way of working. They will prepare your teams for success no matter the circumstances.

By implementing the actions mapped to the three principles of employee experience, crafting durable, high quality EX within your organization will not feel like work. It will feel like your best work.

Related resources


Thrive with employee experience: Apply three principles to fuel EX that unlocks your organization’s potential


Work 2035: How people and technology will pioneer new ways of working


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