Making the Leap from Employee Experience to “Human Experience”

By Natanya Rutstein

The 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends Report shed light on the rise of the social enterprise and the trends shaping the accrual of social capital. A social enterprise is an organization whose mission combines revenue growth and profit-making with the need to respect and support its environment and stakeholder network. The 2019 Deloitte Global Human Capital Report  advances on this approach and considers how organisations can move beyond corporate social responsibility, mission statements and philanthropy to master the art of actually leading the social enterprise. Much of the report’s focus is on advancing the human aspect of the social enterprise.

The report identifies improving the employee experience as one of the greatest challenges facing organisations in 2019 with eighty-four percent of survey respondents rating this issue as important, and 28 percent rating it as urgent. According to the authors, “We see an opportunity for employers to refresh and expand the concept of “employee experience” to address the “human experience” at work—building on an understanding of worker aspirations to connect work back to the impact it has on not only the organization, but society as a whole”.

The report examines the current deficiencies in the implementation of employee experience and in particular its lack of focus on the meaningfulness of work to employees. Organisations are more focussed on enhancing the employee experience through work-life/balance initiatives, rewards and perks and in doing so they are neglecting the essential elements of job fit, job design and making work meaningful for employees.

Employees are engaged when they feel there is purpose in their work and that what they are doing actually makes a difference. The report also proposes that the onus of creating this “human experience” cannot fall solely on HR but needs to be a collaborative effort across the business so as to extend further than accepted HR processes such as hiring, onboarding and development etc. As an example of the integration of employee experience across the business they cite the example of an organisation which has integrated workspaces, people technology, shared services, mobility and travel under one function in order to embed employee experience and nurture a consistent and meaningful experience for all employees.

Research conducted by the IBM Workforce Institute shows that more positive employee experiences are linked to better performance, extra effort at work, and lower turnover intentions. It would seem therefore that enhancing employee experience in 2019 is something that organisations cannot afford to ignore. The challenge to HR professionals is not only to facilitate the organisations understanding of what constitutes meaningful work to their employees but also to partner and collaborate with the business units in order to embed this sense of purpose into the actual work itself.

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