By Lara Albert, Vice President of Solution Marketing, SAP SuccessFactors
Today, the experience companies create for their employees is more important than ever. People crave connections, transparency, and a sense of community – especially as we sort through new ways of working.
While creating an environment where people feel safe, engaged, and productive requires an intentional focus on fostering a positive employee experience, we know that Human Capital Management (HCM) technology falls short of what businesses need to compete today. That’s why Human Resources (HR) is evolving to human experience management, or HXM. As the focus of HR shifts from simply supporting HR-driven processes to delivering experiences around what employees need to do and be their best, HXM provides the mindset and the tools needed to deliver the results businesses need to survive and thrive.
Here are the five reasons why HCM is no longer sufficient to improve life at work, and why HXM is on the rise.
Employees increasingly expect more
Gone are the days where an employee’s experience is influenced by singular factors such as pay or a direct manager. Today their experience is impacted by much more than that, from the technology they use, to their physical workspace, to their development and growth opportunities.
Employees want a workplace experience that matches what they’ve come to expect as consumers, and just as consumers can be swayed by their experience with a company, so can employees. They expect experiences to be designed around how they behave, how they work, and what they need to feel connected and be productive. When it comes to the digital tools they use in their day-to-day jobs, they expect apps to be as easy to use, convenient, and intuitive as those they use in their personal life.
Millennials in particular expect a fun and engaging work experience. It may be the flexibility to work from home, a strong company mission and purpose, permission to “unplug” from the job, the latest tech, even real-time recognition and praise. Today’s employees expect that companies will invest in things that make them want to work for them. They expect to have their say and they expect their employers to take action on the feedback they deliver.
That’s how HXM rises to the occasion. Not only does it provide technology that is more intuitive and connected throughout the workplace, it enables employers to manage the employee experience with timely feedback and actions that drive ongoing improvements to their everyday experience. Continuous listening for feedback allows employees to be heard and gives HR teams the data they need to change how services are offered and implement the best strategies, technology, and practices to keep employees happy.
Increased stress requires empathy and action
Today’s workforce is made up of six generations – and all of them are grappling with inevitable changes to their day-to-day work and lives. We’ve all experienced unexpected challenges the past several months – new ways of working, collaborating, and juggling everything when boundaries of work and life have almost entirely disappeared. These are just the latest changes after several years of continued disruption with technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning becoming more integrated into the workplace.
Elevated stress is a new reality impacting everything from employee health and well-being to productivity to connection, collaboration, culture, and retention. In light of this, companies have to show empathy. By embracing the uniqueness of employee needs, differences, strengths, weaknesses, and perspectives, they can build better teams, better leaders, and better companies.
HXM enables a practical yet meaningful way for companies to display empathy. HXM is about seeing the world from the perspective of others and valuing every candidate, employee, new hire, or manager by honoring their individual needs. It’s about proactively listening to employees to understand how they feel or think about their career progression, compensation, team, manager, or company culture, and then taking the right action.
With HXM, experience data drives everything, allowing companies to improve the experience for each individual. Going the extra mile offers great benefits to employers as well, since 93% of employees say they are more likely to stay on staff with an empathetic employer. While leading with empathy is simply the right thing to do, the added bonus of increased retention and engagement make it a business imperative.
Competition for in-demand skills continues
While the talent marketplace continues to expand and change, the shelf-life for skills is rapidly getting shorter as technology evolves. Many roles are changing considerably making new skills and training a requirement. A recent study found that in two years, over 54 percent of all employees will require significant reskilling and upskilling. Increasingly, companies are going to face challenges when it comes to solving shortages that result from fast changing skill demands.
The ability for companies to find talent with the right skills and create a culture of continuous learning and upskilling is crucial to maintain not only productivity and efficiency but also future growth. For candidates and employees with skills that are in high demand, companies have no other choice but to up the ante to attract and retain them.
HXM is a necessary response to the increasingly critical role that employee experience plays in helping companies grow their talent pipeline and retain their best talent. It enables them to deliver experiences centered around the individual end-user – experiences that make work more efficient, are specific to what matters to them and their career plans, and far more intuitive when it comes to unlocking employee growth and impact towards the broader organization.
Agility has never been more critical
We have seen how quickly the world can change, and how quickly business is impacted. We have seen companies re-evaluate and redefine everything from where and when people work to who gets paid and how. One thing is clear: every business needs a versatile workforce that’s ready to respond to change. In fact, how employers deploy their talent to address their highest priority needs can be the single most important factor to ensure business resilience and reliability in the face of unforeseen demands and change.
To be impactful against dynamic business forces, HR and business leaders must adopt a much more agile mindset and deliver employee-focused programs in a more iterative manner.
That’s why HXM is so critical to the future of the HR. With HXM, organizations can adapt how they deliver HR in order to be smarter and more responsive. For example, HR leaders need tools that help them realign resources to quickly staff up, staff down, or redeploy talent to fit rapidly changing needs. They also need tools to reinforce business continuity by adapting policies and programs – for example, making payroll more versatile or new development opportunities more accessible. Finally, they need tools that help them accelerate the upskilling and cross-skilling of employees, so they can tackle the needs of today while preparing for the realities and opportunities of what comes next.
With HXM, employers have technology with the agility and adaptability required to equip workforces with what they need to be engaged so businesses can deliver their best in the face of new demands.
Company culture doesn’t just happen
A strong company culture helps companies attract talent and, more importantly, retain that talent. But maintaining an optimal work culture takes conscious effort and time. Let’s face it: healthy work cultures are products of design, not default, They don’t develop overnight. It’s something that requires constant work, every day, with every employee, with every interaction, with every decision – which is why employee experience is so critical. Patterns of how employees behave, feel, think, and believe are what determine “how we do things around here.”
HXM plays a key role in helping organizations design employee experiences in a way that positively shapes culture. By focusing on individual’s needs, HXM helps organizations create an environment in which employees want to work and succeed. Employees get the feedback and guidance they need when and how they need it. Reimagined learning and development offers direction on how to discover new opportunities for growth. And by applying feedback loops on everything from company vision to leadership behavior to a sense of purpose, companies can ensure that employees are heard, and action is taken.
HXM helps give employees a greater voice in the creation of company culture. And in today’s competitive environment, creating a culture of happiness, inclusion, and innovation may be what matters most.
The time is now
Understanding and improving the employee experience is critical for companies operating in a highly competitive, and sometimes unpredictable, global economy. Companies that focus on employee experience succeed in attracting the best talent, have lower staff turnover rates, and realize higher productivity. To be clear, the goal of providing a strong employee experience isn’t only to make your people feel better. It’s to enable them to do their best work — to make them want to come to work. And because the employee experience has become so important, including to prospective candidates, organizations can’t afford to ignore it.
Learn more about the SAP SuccessFactors Human Experience Management (HXM) Suite.