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It’s never too soon to create a modern employee experience

It's never too soon to create a modern employee..

By Paul Wilson, KPMG China

Robert Bolton

Head of Global People & Change Center of Excellence, KPMG International; Partner

KPMG in the UK


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Employers everywhere are experiencing an unprecedented trend – and challenge – today as five generations of employees work side-by-side for the first time in history.

The good news in my view is that each generation can contribute its own unique perspectives and insights to the job – and to the organization. But I would also suggest that this new dynamic raises a significant question. How well-prepared are businesses and their HR teams to effectively identify and consistently respond to the expectations and needs of today’s remarkably diverse workforce?

I see many organizations and their HR teams struggling as never before to create workplace cultures and experiences that meet today’s remarkable array of employee expectations. And this demographics challenge coincides with the critical need to acquire new skills that will be indispensable to success – if not survival – as the digital economy speeds forward.

There’s little time to lose. HR leaders and senior management teams need to figure out quickly what their future looks like from a workforce-planning perspective that’s unlike anything they have faced. Today’s forward-looking organizations are already placing an intense and sustained new focus on people and the quality of their experience as employees.

The modern employee experience needs to provide smart and engaging onboarding, a clear understanding of what each employee expects and needs at work, digital tools to drive collaboration and information-sharing, and a culture whose leaders are listening closely and supporting each employee the right way, every day.

Consider onboarding, for example, and the positive impact it can have in launching the right employee experience. Many organizations, in my view, should be doing a much better job in this area alone as they transform EX for the future.

Think about it – companies still seem to spend more effort and energy today when somebody leaves the company than when they join it, between exit interviews and the typical farewell lunches and heartfelt thank-you-for-your-service speeches. I believe we need to be putting similar efforts and energy into onboarding people. First impressions count – today more than ever as companies compete for the talent and skills they need in the digital economy.

One organization I know of is certainly making a very smart first impression with new hires, sending each a virtual reality headset prior to their first day on the job. The new employee can download an app on their phone, put on the VR headset and enjoy an engaging virtual tour of their new employer’s offices and workplace. Brilliant! Before they’ve even reported to their new position, employees are engaged and feeling welcomed to the team.

The expectations and demands that I see being placed on HR are much higher now than they were even a few short years ago. My advice to today’s HR teams and their organizations? You have no time to lose in creating modern, people-centric workplaces and cultures as you compete to recruit and retain the best and brightest in the digital economy.

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