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Embarking on the Employee Experience Journey:Worth the Friction

Creating a rich employee experience is proven to attract and retain talent.
By: | May 1, 2018 • 4 min read

Employee Experience JourneyToday’s HR customers expect a consumer-like experience in the workplace similar to what they enjoy from their favorite vendor or app: smart, collaborative, personalized and always on. This experience combines the best aspects of human capital management and HR service delivery with the key components of customer experience – brand, personalization and engagement.

What is the role for HR?

Achieving an improved employee experience requires a paradigm shift in HR: moving to an outcome-based orientation by understanding what HR customers want and then empowering them with intuitive tools. Rather than using deliverables to drive the change, the focus needs to shift to desired outcomes.

For example, managers require tools and information to conduct business effectively, and they need to access them without a manual HR process. Managers also need to perform tasks such as detailed compensation analyses, employee retention risks and special skills evaluations. With the increased capabilities of data engines and self-service tools, managers should be able to quickly access the data to help inform better decisions, ultimately improving their ability to help their teams’ career path – from anywhere at any time.

Experience suggests that it’s not a natural progression for HR leaders to pivot from being a process-savvy black belt to becoming a change management leader. But this evolution is imperative to accelerate the business agenda. As HR leaders work through this effort, we encourage them to ask, “Is that the most effective way to create the greatest value for the business?”

Tapping intelligent automation to elevate the employee experience

Imagine this scenario: technology with the capabilities to analyze satisfaction, engagement and departure risk for all employees in real time. It reviews their performance, makes compensation recommendations, and tracks their internal and external social media interactions.

This “bot” also can craft a conversation with company executives that sounds something like this: “Here are your high performers based on business results. Here are your high-risk departures based on their social media posts. Here is a snapshot of their training and the market implications on their compensation. Here are the compensation guidelines, the benefits you should add, and an assessment and timing of their promotion readiness. Here are potential career paths appropriate for their developing skills.”

This technology is not five, 10 or 15 years away. It exists right now. That’s why the 21st-century enterprise needs human talent more than ever because of the unique qualities that make us human: the ability to create, innovate, strategize, improve and empathize. These are the same qualities required to reimagine employee experience. That’s why KPMG’s vision of the future of business is decidedly human.

Realizing a new goalOne of HR’s greatest contributions will be to ensure that IA is seen as a complement to the human workforce, not as a threat to it. HR needs to think about its role and responsibility to train the workforce. Even within its own function, HR should evaluate the skills gaps that exist to determine where it needs to accelerate digitization and IA capabilities beyond integration into process and interactions. Do you need to stand up a Digital Center of Excellence? Do you need to upskill or create new roles altogether with a focus on robotics capabilities that are directly connect to an employee experience architect?

Realizing a new goal

Employee experience is more than just a slick user interface. Like the consumer apps employees and their managers have come to rely on in their personal lives, employee experience relies on rich data and analytics. These insights should be used to improve key attributes across the employee life-cycle stages from the talent acquisition and onboarding process, to personalized career training and guidance, to near real-time performance feedback that helps the organization unlock smarter, more authentic and more accurate decisions.

For their part, employers need the brand promise and value proposition to be represented in every employee interaction, starting with identifying the gaps between the employer promise and employee expectation. In many cases this requires revisiting, refreshing or reframing the employee value proposition (EVP) to accurately reflect the value of working for the company as it evolves. Once the EVP and employee experience are in sync, the result is engaged employees who can yield a measurable impact on the business.

The net result of embarking on this mission? Creating an effective, cohesive and rich employee experience is proven to link to employee engagement, contribute to employer pride, and attract and retain talent. Little wonder, then, that improving the employee experience is the untapped last mile of value needed to fulfill the business vision.