How technology can play a ‘critical’ role in building EX

Maximizing the employee experience is no easy feat these days.

- Advertisement -

While the overall economy remains relatively strong, recent notable layoffs in the tech sector and the threat of a recession hovering over the U.S. continue to have employers dialing back on spending—and deficits could ultimately impact EX. Coupled with rising employee expectations and ongoing high turnover, HR leaders are challenged like never before by both leaders and employees to deliver on EX.

HRE discussed these challenges with Paul Davies, senior vice president, business partners, at ServiceNow, the cloud-based platform company that helps digitize and unify organizations. Davies outlined ServiceNow’s approach to EX and how it reflects wider industry trends in today’s uber-competitive talent market.

HRE: How is ServiceNow using technology to build and strengthen the employee experience?

Davies: Our people strategy is our business strategy. We know we need great people—and we need to empower them with the right resources and technology so we can deliver what our customers need. That’s a proven formula for business growth.

We start with employee feedback to inform where we invest. Then, we design our technology experiences to support employees in the ways they want, at every stage of their journey. The unlock is that our technology approach applies to the entire, end-to-end employee experience. We’re focused on connected, simple experiences.

- Advertisement -

Too often, I see HR leaders investing in “point solutions,” or individual systems that manage different parts of the employee journey. Employees have to navigate these siloed systems on a daily basis. It’s confusing.

Most of our HR business workflows and processes run on our own Now Platform, which gives employees a single place to access the tools and apps they need to be productive and successful. It’s also cost-effective and allows us to be agile. For example, we automated our onboarding process on ServiceNow to streamline the experience for new hires. Today, 99% of our onboarding tasks are done before day one, and employees report 95% satisfaction scores with our onboarding experience.

Companies looking to grow and scale need to automate processes, connect the enterprise and listen to employees.

HRE: What does the need for that approach say about wider trends in the HR industry?

Paul Davies, ServiceNow
Paul Davies, ServiceNow

Davies: In the past, the employee experience centered on physical perks. Today, the employee experience is intrinsically linked to purpose-driven, meaningful work and simple, seamless technology.

HR leaders know they need purpose-built solutions that give their employees more answers than questions, so their people can focus on high-value work. Peers in finance or other organizations want to understand the value that will come from the spend. The challenge many HR leaders face is making a case for technology investments as they navigate an unpredictable economy and restrictive budgets. While it’s a balancing act, there’s a way to satisfy both sides.

HR leaders need to ensure they’re delivering a great employee experience—from “hire me” to “wish me well” and everything in between. That creates a talent advantage. It’s not just about measuring talent attraction, internal growth and development, engagement and retention. It’s about ensuring insights are actionable to unlock the full potential of individuals, teams and the entire organization.

HR leaders need to translate these outcomes so that other leaders understand the value—the CIO and the CFO included. The questions that HR leaders need to answer: How does tech enable our people, and how does this enablement drive business value?

HRE: What are the most critical challenges employers face in trying to improve the employee experience as 2023 unfolds?

Davies: The No. 1 challenge that many businesses are facing right now is that they’re trying to cut costs without sacrificing the employee experience. Over the past few years, employees have re-evaluated what they want and expect from work. Leaders have to deliver on these new expectations if they want to attract and retain talent while responding to macroeconomic challenges.

The second challenge is centered on skills. According to Korn Ferry, “By 2030, more than 85 million jobs could go unfilled because there aren’t enough skilled people to take them.” In 2023, organizations will need to find new ways to realize the full potential of their existing workforce to maximize engagement and performance.

These challenges present a once-in-a-generation opportunity for employers to rethink the employee experience with a focus on growth, agility and productivity. Technology is a critical enabler.

As HR leaders, we need to continue meeting employees where they are. This comes down to constantly listening to our people, understanding their needs and instilling a culture of continuous learning and growth.

Avatar photo
Tom Starner
Tom Starner is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia who has been covering the human resource space and all of its component processes for over two decades. He can be reached at [email protected]