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Employee experience in the future of HR Employee experience in the future of HR

HR’s inevitable need to deliver critical new skills and redefine workforces should be obvious by now. Yet, while nearly three quarters of HR leaders recognize the need for workforce transformation, barely over a third feel “very confident” about HR’s actual ability to transform and move them forward via key capabilities like analytics and AI.

HR leaders also tell us that creating a new employee experience (EX) — or defining the right employee value propositions (EVP) to match the needs of five generations in the workforce — still seem to be undervalued by senior management.

While 50 percent of HR leaders strongly believe EX is valuable to the organization at large, only 25 percent rank EX as a top initiative for the next year or two. And this is likely because only 16 percent of their senior management have communicated that EX should be a top focus area for HR.

Creating modern employee value propositions (EVP) fared not much better, with only 23 percent of HR executives calling it “very valued” by their enterprise. Indeed EVP is not deemed a top initiative by eight of 10 organizations. However many HR leaders themselves do see it as a critical area for the future, with 37 percent selecting it as among HR’s top three required capabilities.

The prevailing lack of focus on EVP may be explained by the simple fact that EVP remains misunderstood by the broader organization. According to KPMG’s 2018 CEO Outlook study, for example, almost half of the CEOs surveyed still struggle with understanding how millennials differ from other generations.

Further, 45 percent of CEOs said appointing senior leaders who can better relate to millennials is one of their biggest challenges. Perhaps EX and EVP have simply not received enough attention in the C-suite?

Encouragingly, interest appears to be growing — at least among some CEOs, with 38 percent acknowledging the need to reposition their business to better meet the needs of millennials. Forward-looking organizations are already sharply focused on the employee experience and managing multiple generations of diverse workers. And ideally, the trend towards an increased C-suite focus on the people agenda will continue.
Schneider Electric, with more than 144,000 employees working in more than 100 countries, is one trail-blazing organization “working toward a 21stcentury employee experience, something it considers critical for its journey of digital transformation,” says Rachna Mukherjee, CHRO of India Zone for Schneider Electric.

The global company’s forward-looking program is comprehensive, incorporating not only modern employee-development programs but close attention to employee well-being, ongoing communication and an ongoing desire to give more responsibility and accountability to younger employees using a modern, “bottom-up” approach and “reverse mentoring.”

These efforts are ongoing because the company realizes that today’s forces of change are continually expanding in scope and velocity.

“Catering to the changing expectations and demands of today’s and tomorrow’s skilled employees is not dramatically different from what organizations everywhere are already doing today to meet the expectations and demands of their customers”, says Sylvie Brisson, Chief Human Resources Officer with global hospitality giant Club Med. “There’s a clear symmetry that exists between what we want for the customer and what we want for our team members: a seamless and unique experience, notably thanks to digital tools, mobile capabilities and rapid, convenient access to information 24/7”, she adds.

With the stakes for attracting and developing millennial talent at Club Med particularly high, Brisson notes, Club Med is firmly focused on being a leader in delivering an employee experience that truly differentiates it as an employer.

Club Med has been tackling the challenge with the involvement of its C-suite from the outset. And a cross-functional team is in place to ensure “everyone is speaking the same language from the very beginning” as dramatic changes unfold. “We have a short window after hiring to demonstrate that we are agile, collaborative and able to earn their commitment.”

“In this digital age, with the emerging and increasingly fierce war for talent and skills, creating an employee experience that differentiates employers and actually retains talent will be critical”, cautions Claudia Saran, Leader, People & Change Practice, KPMG in the US. “Many HR leaders told us their traditional, task-focused workplace cultures are a significant barrier to true digital transformation. Addressing and quickly closing the employee experience gap needs to be a business priority for HR leaders today.”

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