New technology and digital transformation have changed the typical workday. Employees are overwhelmed.
Twenty-seven percent of workers spend a fifth of their time on irrelevant communications. Most work over 50 hours a week, and it isn't getting better. As skill needs change, people need to learn, but they don't have time to get away from work long enough to do it.
Meanwhile, the number of systems is growing. HR organizations now average eleven separate systems, and their companies average seven just for messaging.
It's Time to Surrender
For the 23 years I have been in the business, HR has been on a quest for a unified HCM platform that houses all their people's data. They wanted their people to log into one system for all their needs. Experience has taught us that Don Quixote got better results, and the forces against single platforms have multiplied. Today, you can buy the most unified system in the world, but by the time you finish the deployment, some new startup or a skunk works hidden in an organizational cave will come up with a new must-have application.
It's Not All About Software
Only within the last few years have most business leaders come to realize that the employee experience has a significant impact on the business. It has become the number one "buzz" in HR circles. They are feeling pressure to win the competition for talent.
However, the software is only one factor. As ServiceNow said in a recent report, employee experience is the sum of all the pieces of work.
What Employees Want
In 2015, a Walker study predicted that the customer experience would "overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator." Marketers invested in customer experience and found that it can double revenues.
Employees want the same experience at work that they get as consumers, which means they expect employers to
- stand behind their principles,
- contribute to their communities,
- listen and respond to employees' concerns,
- understand employees needs and goals,
- remove barriers to learning, and
- eliminate frustrations with the tools they use.
Just as the customer experience drives revenues for those who do it well, we believe the employee experience has the potential to boost productivity, lower employee churn, and make your organization more profitable and sustainable.
Experience Platforms Are the Technology Backbone of Employee Experience
In a February 2019 white paper, Josh Bersin declared, "The Employee Experience Platform Market Has Arrived." Since then, they have enjoyed rapid growth. ServiceNow has moved into experience platforms, as well as Deloitte, Mercer, SAP, SuccessFactors, and IBM.
The employee experience platform sits on top of your HR systems. It provides the user with a single place to go for all their needs, keeping the processes hidden behind a user-friendly interface. We believe it will grow to include almost everything an employee does. Still, the emphasis right now is on HR service delivery.
How to Leverage an Experience Platform for HR Service Delivery
Recent ServiceNow research shows what three things matter most to employees. If you have heard this tune before, sing along with us:
Getting the information they need
Nearly half of employees have a hard time getting the information they need and answers to basic questions about HR policies and benefits.
Not only do these issues interfere with work: they also create frustration and anxiety that makes it difficult to concentrate.
An employee experience platform won't provide the answers if you don't have processes in place to generate them, but it will make them for your people to find.
Handling crucial moments in the employee life cycle
Those moments were a problem when I started my HR career in 1997. The issue then wasn't that the HRIS couldn't perform the processes. It was that the data entry was so clunky that people would find any excuse not to use it.
Employees surveyed in ServiceNow's report wanted to see improvements in handling payroll issues, relocation, promotions, and leave.
Software usability is much better than in the 90s, but we question what tools frontline HR people must use to resolve issues.
- Are they fragmented?
- Are they hard to use?
- Do they have the information they need at their fingertips?
- Are they using an issue management system?
- Are the people who resolve the issues experts in the policies and structures of the processes in which they work? If not, how good is their support system?
Experience platforms grew out of technical issue management platforms, so we will watch to see how useful those tools are.
Employees feeling heard
The report said employees have many ideas on how to improve their experience, but they aren't sure that their employers are listening. Less than half said their opinions matter to their employer. Even fewer believe their employers act on their feedback.
Listening to an employee's concerns gives you useful information, but it won't improve the relationships until they feel heard, and that takes careful communication. Employees won't feel listened to unless they get a sincere response.
Reassessing Your Mindset
An employee experience platform designed for HR service delivery won't provide the right mindset and guiding principles you need to deliver excellent service. However, it will make good service easier if you have your feet on solid ground. Here's our take on what you need to develop an HR service mindset. Here are three ways you can begin.
Whether it's a payroll issue, or a denied promotion, openness will build the trust you need to create a valuable employee experience. Your people want to know they why behind decisions and policies and need to voice their concerns if things don't make sense to them. That may be a challenge for some organizations.
People like good on-demand self-service, but for more complex needs, or if they just want to be heard, they need a live person. If they are dealing with a severe or complicated case, they need to be informed every step of the way.
Your people want a personal touch, even from a machine. When my Pandora account offers a new experience for me, it always has a connection or similarity to the music I like. If I don't like it, I never hear it again.
Your automated response system must know enough about each of your people that they feel someone is thinking about their interests, but take care in what you communicate. If you have too much information, it can feel a little creepy.
When they need a live person, they shouldn't have to wait days for a response.
A lot of employees don't sit at a workstation or a workshop all day. Your response system must meet them wherever they are, and it goes beyond mobile apps. Long haul trucking companies have employee representatives who always know precisely where the driver is and can start a live conversation anytime, anywhere.
A Powerful Tool for Employee Engagement
An employee experience platform won't make your HR services delivery worthy of your employees' praise, but it will make it possible for you to earn it.
Pixentia is a full-service technology company dedicated to helping clients solve business problems, improve the capability of their people, and achieve better results.