Home News What is an Experience Level Agreement or “XLA”?

What is an Experience Level Agreement or “XLA”?

What is an Experience Level Agreement or “XLA”? October 6, 2021
Experience and XLA

And why does it matter?

One of OwlPoint’s Practice areas is Experience Management. Experience Management is an emerging focus in IT, but a lot of people still have questions about XLA, what it means, and how it functions.

To help people gain a clearer understanding, here are some FAQs about XLA and how it impacts every organization, including yours.

Q: What is an XLA?

A: The traditional model of Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) has evolved. Successful organizations are building on prior engagements and focusing on Experience Level Agreements or XLA’s to improve outcomes. Experience Level Agreements (XLAs) are the foundation of a fresh and new approach to managing the business of technology within an organization.

Q: Who exactly is the end-user of the “X” in XLA?

A: A company’s employees are the user that is being focused on in an XLA.

Q: How is XLA different from an employee engagement survey?

A: Employee Engagement is typically measured by doing a survey. XLA is more than just a survey.

To accurately measure an XLA you must establish the essential Experience Indicators (XIs) and identify XLA data sources and align all technical supporting data to the XIs. After that, you align the subjective and objective measures to determine the authentic experience delivered and simplify your technical KPIs and make them more human-centric.

As a concept, XLA measures Employee Engagement along with numerous other factors.

Q: What is the framework to build an XLA?

A: There are four phases of the framework:

  1. Envision experience by seeing the patterns, possibilities, and pathways forward to experience
  2. Enable experience through deep business intelligence to measure and interpret experience, ambitions, and gaps
  3. Execute experience to deliver, improve, and innovate the experience ambition and reduce gaps
  4. Embrace experience to deliver, ensure, and improve the experience for stakeholders and influencers

Q: How is an XLA different from an SLA?

A: XLAs do not replace SLAs; instead, they form a complete picture. We need both.

An SLA is a documented agreement between a service provider and a customer. It outlines the services required and the expected level of service. Very rarely do SLAs talk about business outcomes. An XLA is a commitment, rather than a contract, to creating a defined experience, using experience indicators. Why a commitment and not a contract? Because experiences are more dynamic than services.

The XLA enables organizations to deliver an experience that changes and evolves over time. XLAs are dynamic. Unlike SLAs experience level agreements, XLAs use XI’s (Experience Indicators) to measure reactions to outcomes rather than steps in a process. By doing so, businesses can understand which experiences matter and make significant improvements to their process.

Q; What does a good XLA look like?

A: A meaningful experience is not a transaction, but a cumulative dynamic sentiment established over time. The traditional practice of building standard capabilities to manage a service give way to an experience architecture catering to people as they adopt different personas and perform different roles. Experience isn’t about the psychology of the individual, but how you make people feel in a way that matters to your business.


Happy employees lead to happy customers.

Q: Why should a company care about the employee experience or XLA?

A: There are many reasons why a company should care about employee experience.

There will continue to be intense competition for talent in the future, and a negative reputation in the marketplace can prevent good people from applying.

In addition, unhappy employees lead to unhappy customers. You cannot have employees who are having a bad digital and technical experience and have it translate to high customer satisfaction. XLA flows right into other indicators including UX, NPS, and ongoing customer satisfaction.

Interested in finding out more about XLA? Visit OwlPoint Experience Management.

Looking to improve the employee experience at your organization? Contact us.