What is the difference between an Employee Experience strategy and an HR policy?

I often hear people say “you don’t need employee experience anyway, that’s the job of HR, you don’t need to create something specific”. It’s a very audible remark and I largely understand that employee experience is integrated in HR. Now to believe that it is the same thing and that the HR mission naturally includes employee experience is a mistake and from experience it doesn’t work.

Employee experience and HR: an obvious overlap

There is a clear overlap between employee experience and HR. I am thinking in particular of the “People” dimension. In fact, it is conceivable that a large part of the HR function falls within the employee experience, apart from the legal and administrative aspects. You will tell me that this is a lot but these are not the most critical areas. Yes talent management is critical but in terms of consequences the only place where there is no right to make mistakes is the legal side. In terms of HR, you can do what you want as long as the administrative and legal part does not suffer from any weakness, especially in France where the legislator seems to be in a race with the white pages and the Encyclopædia Universalis to find out who will have the most pages (knowing that for the last two we have fortunately moved to the all-digital world where a wheelbarrow will soon be needed to carry the labor code).

So yes, this administrative and legal function may be 20% of the scope of HR, but it is 80% of the problems at the very least and we understand that we devote proportionally more time and resources to it than to the rest, even if we would like to do otherwise.

For the rest, for what is finally only the path of the employee and the services provided to him or her, we return to the field of employee experience.

Employee experience beyond HR

But if we only keep this “People” part, there is still something missing. HR is all about talent, about people. If you think that employee experience is what talent experiences at work then…the work dimension is missing. How it is organized, what is its content, how the organization itself works, how information flows, how decisions are made etc.

Many of these topics are addressed by the “Operations” function (or whatever you decide to call it ) to whom we owe part of the internal complication of the organization and many sticking points. And that makes sense.

Its role is to deal with methods and processes and the measurement of their execution. Not the people who execute them. Not the reason why people are reluctant to follow them. Not about the adequacy between the way we work and the people who work in terms of talent, drudgery, etc.

The difference between at work and on the job

HR deals with the employees at work and the operations of how we work, but the intersection, i.e. not the people at work (HR topic) but the people on the job is in a kind of grey area that nobody cares about. Yet it is central in the case of a bad employee experience and helps to explain, at the organizational level, many of the individual and collective underperformance factors.

Make no mistake: the “People” part plays a big part in the employee experience. But in the end, these are things that are often invisible to the employee, who finally only sees what doesn’t work, with very punctual interactions between the function and the employee. The same goes for the administrative and legal part: we only talk about it when there is a problem without noting that 99% of the time everything is fine. But the Operation part takes up more space and is more visible because it represents 90% of the employee’s day, which is what he is paid for, what he is evaluated on.

Ask anyone about what goes or doesn’t go in their work experience, almost no one will mention HR and this is quite normal given their relatively low importance in terms of time and interactions. Everyone will talk about the rest, not about what goes on not “at work” but “while we work” and that makes sense. However, this may also reflect a lack of communication, of valorization, of “letting people know” about HR around their work, but that’s another subject.

Il n’est pas étonnant qu’après des fonctions expérience employé on voit arriver des fonctions “People and Operations” qui font justement le lien entre les deux sujets et vont donc bien au delà du strict périmètre des RH.

It is not surprising that after the employee experience functions, we see the arrival of the “People and Operations” functions which make the link between the two subjects and therefore go well beyond the strict perimeter of HR.

Photo : Human resources from Rawpixel.com via Shutterstock

Bertrand DUPERRINhttps://www.duperrin.com/english
Head of Employee and Client Experience @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
Head of Employee and Client Experience @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
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