We often read about changing consumer expectations and the challenges they pose to today’s businesses, but one related and often overlooked phenomenon is how employee expectations are changing.
Your employees, after all, are themselves consumers — so how can forward-thinking companies address this shift within their own four walls?
Employee experience can be characterized in many ways. Essentially, however, it comes down to three core or enabling elements:
A set of employee perceptions, emotionsand interactionsacross different touchpoints
A set of environmental factors — namely cultural, physical and technological building blocks
A broadening of traditional HR functions to correlate employee engagement with apositive customer or public experience
Based on internal studies, published research and feedback from clients, Atos has identified several key factors that pose a challenge to today’s companies regarding their employee experience. Below, we will examine these factors and discuss some important transformation enablers that can help organizations overcome these challenges.
Employee experience challenges
Let’s begin with the environmental factors, which are related to howa company provides direction and guides their employees when external forces are working to undermine the company’s strategy.
The global pandemic has undoubtedly changed the work environment for employees, contributing to personal pressure at home and an element of disconnect from colleagues in the workplace. Before the pandemic, only 2% of workers were remote full-time, compared to roughly 45% working remotely now.
The second challenge is adapting to change. As companies review their strategic goals, operating models are beginning to shift. Depending on the sector, there may be restructuring or even pressure to accommodate increased workloads. This results in employees taking on more responsibility and looking to reskill or upskill as quickly as possible. To support employees in adapting to change, we must increase their resilience and flexibility. We can shape how employees experience change by enabling them with quick access to knowledge, the ability to collaborate with peers, or personalized training to support their career progression.
Cultural shifts can also be a challenge for the employee experience. This is an interesting factor, because changing behavioral norms can be one of the most challenging aspects of the employee experience to influence. Culture is shaped by the profile of the workforce, demographics, embedded habits as well as personal experiences. One of the few benefits of the COVID-19 pandemic is that personal priorities are changing and interactions at work are different. This has created a natural disruption of the behavioral norms for many companies – forcing them to consider whether they will maintain their culture or embrace the change. At Atos, we believe that forward-thinking companies should capitalize on this opportunity to positively influence their workplace culture.
The last — but by no means least important — challenge is evolving expectations. For many companies, especially those in the public sector, supporting employee expectations of what is classified as a good user experience can be challenging when we consider the diversity of the workforce and generational differences. However, the heart of this issue is quite simple. Employees have high expectations of their employers. They want a work experience that lives up to the experience they have as a consumer — meaning it should be easy, personalized and empowering. This isn’t a nice-to-have, but is pivotal to employee experience – ensuring that we bring the consumer experience into the workplace.
Building an employee-centric workplace is about outcomes
There are traditional KPIs (such as productivity, employee retention, talent attraction, absenteeism and employee satisfaction) which have been used to measure a successful employee experience. However, these metrics alone are not enough to influence business outcomes.
When we look at those challenges and the outcomes we want to achieve, we must bear in mind that not only are we addressing the employee experience, but also the business impact. A positive employee experience leads to stronger employee engagement — which in turns impacts on the organization’s success.
From a business outcome perspective, companies whose employees are largely satisfied with their experience are 48% more likely to meet their customer satisfaction goals, 89% more likely to meet innovation goals and 56% more likely to meet the organization’s reputation goals.
Critical transformation enablers
XLAs (experience level agreements)
Before setting out to change processes or technology, a framework is required to establish and define what a positive employee experience looks like. For example, an XLA could capture user care satisfaction, automation effectiveness, employee wellbeing, or pro-activity rate.
It’s important to bring employees into the design phase of an Enterprise Employee Engagement framework, supported by a change program to continuously push out communications and receive feedback. These steps ensure a constant pulse check on how employees are responding to the transformation program.
When embarking on an examination of employee experience, take the opportunity to review processes across your functions in order to drive end-to-end efficiencies. For instance, employee onboarding shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of the HR department. A positive onboarding experience relies on a combination of workflows across HR, Finance, IT and Facilities.
In any employee experience initiative, one must always take into account both the physical work environment (including smart offices) and the remote working.
The digital landscape
This area gets quite a lot of emphasis in any discussion of employee experience, and research indicates that 30% of the employee experience is IT. The platform with which an employee engages daily should be connected, easy to use and personalized based on the role that individual is performing.
At Atos, we look at technology as the core of the employee experience, because it provides the layer upon which employees will consume information, interact with colleagues and complete their daily tasks. However, the technology element must be looked at through the HR lens, to ensure that it is designed to support the employee experience.
Many organizations have made plenty of progress digitizing key processes and workﬂows, but most of these improvements are delivered through speciﬁc systems that cater to individual functions like HR, IT, legal, security, ﬁnance, procurement or security. This siloed approach lacks a seamless entry point and context for interactions, requiring employees to navigate multiple systems.
To succeed, organizations must empower employees to personalize their day-to-day experience by sharing information and helping them use that information to evaluate and improve their day-to-day experience. When you focus on giving your employees a consumer-like experience, you allow them the space to feel comfortable and cared for, enabling them to perform at their personal best.
Ultimately this means we must focus upon making systems that people actually want to use, to ensure the world of work gets easier, better, and certainly more enjoyable for our employees.
That’s an experience worth investing in.
Claire is our Atos HXM SAP Solution Lead for Northern Europe and works with a range of clients to deliver HR transformation through the implementation of SAP HCM and SAP SuccessFactors solutions. This involves working with clients HR functions to solve their most pressing issues through the use of technology and includes implementation planning, fit analysis, configuration, testing, rollout and post-implementation support. Her role also involves working collaboratively with the wider Atos practices from ServiceNow through to UX/Qualtrics to deliver holistic solutions for our customers. Prior to working in SAP, Claire’s background involved working for the Atos internal HR function in various centres of excellence and therefore she brings both technical knowledge and HR process expertise.
Paul leads the team responsible for the design, build and running of Atos ServiceNow Practice portfolio. Currently, he is executing our strategy to apply specific workflow solutions to support our Manufacturing and HLS vertical markets, as well as our DWP and SAP Practices.
Paul has over 30 years of experience solving strategic business challenges across all sectors, through the use of technology and transformation.