Building an employee driven HR strategy

5 practical tips to start focusing on the employee experience

For many organizations it is quite a challenge to integrate employee experience within their HR strategy. By making the employee experience an HR priority, gaining insight in your employees and giving them a seat at the table you can strengthen your HR strategy.

In today’s digital world many companies try to create the right business value and make impact on their clients by getting to know what their customers expect, what they value, how they behave and what interests them most. Also for internal customers, employees, it has been proven that focusing on their interest is crucial in attracting, retaining and motivating skilled employees. Moreover, exceptional employee experience is even associated with a better experience for external customers (Human Capital Trends Report, Deloitte, 2017). However, when it comes to internal customers many organizations settle for barely functional, dated, and time consuming HR processes and systems. Incorporating the employee experience really in decision making is for many organizations still a big step to take. Deloitte’s 2017 Human Capital Trend Report indicates that 95% of organizations surveyed aren’t yet ready to address employee experience challenges.

5 practical tips to get you started

In this blog, we will describe 5 simple, though highly recommended tips that help you to start focusing on the employee experience and really putting the employee first. 

1. Make the customer experience a priority, just like your colleagues do!

Focusing on customer experience may already be a large part of day-to-day work in other departments at your organization such as marketing or sales. Start by using their experience and tools, instead of trying to re-create the wheel. These departments know how to translate customer needs into compelling propositions, and may have accelerators that are applicable to HR. For example, the marketing department uses data to get fact based insights on what their customers really value, this could also be a huge win for HR. Using data will ensure that decisions made on improving the employee experience are based on facts and not only on assumptions. 

2. Offer the customer a permanent seat at the table

As member of the HR department you could think about what internal customers really want or need. Trying to put on your ‘employee’ or ‘manager’ hat is however not sufficient. It is highly recommended to involve the employee themselves. Employees will provide you with a clearer and sometimes unexpected opinion on their expectations, needs and current pain points. Actively involving your employees can for example easily be done by organizing review boards or hackathons. 

3. Use design thinking to walk in the shoes of your customer’s

Design thinking is a solid method to ensure you create the right solutions for your customer. It provides a means to focus on the customer’s personal experience and to create human centered, simple and enjoyable solutions by taking a ‘walk in their shoes’. Design thinking starts with a deep understanding of your customers by using customer ‘personas’. These ‘personas’ form a customer profile wherein groups of similar customers are clustered. Defining the moments that matter for those personas on the employee life cycle, will allow you to get a good understanding of where HR can differentiate the employee experience either positively or negatively. 

4. Present yourself as being one HR department.

Employees don’t experience learning, performance management, rewards and HR operations as unconnected, discordant processes. Therefore as HR function it is important to present yourself as being one. Even though this could be a challenge for the by nature segmented HR department, it is worthwhile for HR to work in a more integrated way and herewith ensure the whole department is fulfilling employees’ needs together. Don’t overwhelm the employee with 6 different HR apps, present them just one, this will lead into higher employee satisfaction, productivity and happiness (Deloitte’s Human Capital Trend Report). If you want your HR employee experience strategy to be driven around the employees, then do forget the boundaries of the different HR departments.

5. Stay up to date with your employee experience

Deloitte’s Human Capital Trend Report found that 79% of the organizations survey employees only annually, if not less often. This may lead to knowledge gaps about your workforce. To be able to get (data driven) insights on what your employees really value, it is important to have continuously dialogues with your HR customers and off course act on the input they provide. Therefore ensure you give your customers a permanent seat at the table and continue to solicit their opinion to enhance their experience – it may even lead to higher adoption of new systems and processes.

Even though the Deloitte trend report has shown that most organizations are not ready to face employee experience challenges yet; there are multiple possibilities to take an easy start to address these challenges. Talk with your colleagues and employees and integrate employee experience in your daily work. Step by step the employee experience can become an integrated part of your HR strategy.

Please note that embedding the employee experience into everything that HR does requires drastic changes. One of the developments we see in the market is the evolution of HR Shared Services to offer increasingly employee centric services. If you want to read more about building an adaptable, innovative and high performing HR function; as we like to call it: High impact HR organization you can read the following blog 'Moving to a High Impact HR Operating Model'.

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