By Natanya Rutstein
With the growing focus on employee experience, HR is having to reinvent itself (again). HR not only has to design compelling employee experiences considering the physical environment, the tools and smart technologies that enable employee productivity and learning, but also has to create experiences that connect employees emotionally to the workplace.
The most progressive HR functions are leading this effort by partnering with IT, Marketing and Internal Communications to break down internal silos and maximise the value of their combined skills. Some have even gone so far as to replace HR with new “People” and “Employee Experience” teams. HR is having to rethink the roles, structure, tools, and strategy that they are using to design and deliver an integrated employee experience that meets employees’ expectations. Read how Airbnb CHRO Mark Levy changed his job title to Chief Employee Experience Officer, announcing the focus on and the importance of employee experience to Airbnb employees.
Employee Experience professionals should understand the business and its objectives, combined with the ability to creatively design and implement multiple solutions to deliver targeted employee experiences. They need advanced skills in ensuring employee participation and the ability to foster trust. It stands to reason that they should also have great consulting- and change management skills.
Some of the most important areas where enhanced skills and new roles are required are:
People Analytics – strong analytical abilities are essential to accurately assess employees’ needs, evaluate feedback, and translate the feedback into actionable recommendations and strategies for improvement. Data collection is meaningless without the analytical skills to make sense of it.
Technology – A comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the latest technologies and digital tools is crucial in the re-design of work processes to make work simpler and easier to achieve business objectives. Organisations need to start building HR teams that partner with IT to provide information on latest AI products and services, digital design and mobile application design.
Design Thinking – HR professionals must become design thinking experts to create employee experiences that move away from process design to human-centred design. The aim is to, from an employee’s perspective, identify creative ways to simplify work to increase productivity, performance, and boost employee satisfaction and engagement.
Measurement – Knowledge of the latest measurement tools to provide real-time feedback on the employee experience is essential.
Marketing – HR professionals should work closely with marketing to align the brand message and organisational values. From this perspective, HR should also think of the employee as a consumer and build effective consumer-like experiences. Julia Smith gives a good description of what this should look like in her blog “Delivering a consumer-like experience for your internal enterprise employees” at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/delivering-consumer-like-experience-your-internal-enterprise-smith
The reinvention of HR has been a hot topic for many years now, and the fast and ever-changing workplace makes it a perennial discussion item. The emphasis on the employee experience has however created a new focus on HR’s reinvention, prompting us to include these aspects in our development plans as HR Professionals.