I recently attended the HRTech World conference in Amsterdam (which was renamed “Unleash” afterwards, what will be the topic of a future post). Logical consequence of the trends observed during the latest editions in Paris in October 2016 and London in march 2017, employee experience emerged as a major issue, hoping the idea will be less oversold than on the consumer side.
I’m writing a series of posts about my takes but, before all, I’d like to summarize the cases, the insights from analysts and what I learned from vendors roadmaps in order to frame what employee experience consists of. As a matter of fact if everyone agrees that employee experience matters, not everyone put the same things in the concept and we can find visions that range from well-being to more productivity-oriented approaches (the two not being incompatible).
So, before going further and elaborating more about each, we can say that employee experience is built on 4 cornerstones.
1st Employee Experience cornerstone : the journey
It may sound obvious but the employee journey is the they cornerstone of employee experience. How can one manage the many touchpoints between the employee and the enterprise if they are not listed and positioned along a journey ?
The very notion of journey reminds us that consistence and seamlessness are mandatory as employees are moving along the journey while they currently experience a series of jolts as they’re being moved from one box to another. It comes with a consequence : there are people and functions within the HR department and above all outside of HR that never used to talk together, that never shared information or data the one with the oter and that will have to learn to collaborate across silos.
2nd Employee Experience cornerstone : the business
Employee experience must serve the business, otherwise it’s useless. Of course, this can be achieved directly or indirectly by serving business function, HR and employees but that’s the ultimate purpose.
As osh Bersin reminded us, while the focus have been put on the transactional side for a long time, the newt step is to make work life more engaging (most businesses have already this in mind and are working on it) and productive (what was never done because each and every corporate initiative used to generate more complicatedness than they solved problems on the employee side).
What will ultimately result, still according to Bersin, by the emergence of a new kind of “People Management” applications that will be more focused on work and not only on talents and performance measurement as done today. We’re moving from people management to people enablement.
I’ll end with a very meaningful session I attended : its title did not mention chatbots but…Workbots. The purpose is not to converse with an app but to have an impact on operations.
3rd Employee Experience cornerstone : the interface
Employee experience is mostly delivered by people (don’t forget that the main touchpoint between an employee and the company is human : managers and people) but most of these interactions happen through interfaces. Regarding this point, were are clearly witnessing a revolution happening in the way employees interact with all the systems available to them. Just remind that (except when it related to management) these interactions were with an humain using a software, what makes very little sense in a world that will eventually become “self-service”.
Like on the consumer side, chatbots are a hot topic for HR but beyond that there’s a larger trend that is about “natural” interfaces. In other words we’ll interact less and less through screens, fields and buttons as we do today by through written or oral conversations.
No matter a person or a machine hides behind the system, the interaction will be naturel, conversational and humanized.
4th Employee Experience cornerstone : consumerization
I’ve been wirting about enterprise consumerization for more than one year and I’ve seen many speakers mentioning the concept on stage this year. Globally speaking, employees are consumers that will consumed services made available to them in the same way and with the same expectations that in their personal lives.
The most obvious example is learning, where findability, content consumption, personalization and individualization of journeys are essential. The times where employees had to find their way in a huge catalogue where they could not find what they needed but was technically perfect from an HR administration perspective are over.
We can also mention HR marketing and hiring processes that are getting every day closer to the good old sales funnel with concepts like experience and conversation. The truth is that if today’s e-commerce websites and journeys were designed like recruitment websites, most e-marchants would bankrupt. This situation can’t last since candidates now give their preference to enterprises offering them the best experience.
Forget data, chatbots etc…at least for the time being
You may have notices that if I mentioned a couple of technologies as examples, I did not elaborate that much on matters like robots and data that were in every conversation and presentation at the conference. Here’s why : there are means to an end, not an end by themselves.
Start your employee experience projet with a data or chatbot project and you can be sure you will be off topic. Use them to serve a vision (if they’re necessary) and then only you’ll bring value to employees, to the business and logically to the client.
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