Best practice | 3 HR leaders on how to design a positive employee experience

3 HR leaders on how to design a positive employee experience

From the hiring and onboarding process right through to the day that an employee leaves the business, it is crucial that employers, with HR, carve out a positive and memorable employee experience in order to deliver against business objectives. The stats show how true this is.

 2017 research published in The Future Workplace and’s The Active Jobseeker Dilemma study revealed that 83% of HR leaders cited ‘employee experience’ as either ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to their firm’s success. 

Elsewhere, IBM’s The Financial Impact of a Positive Employee Experience research found that firm’s that scored in the top 25% on employee experience reported double the return on sales than organisations in the bottom quartile. 

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So, what is HR doing about employee experience to deliver for the business? Future Workplace’s The 2020 HR Sentiment Survey, polling HR and business leaders on where they’ll put efforts in the future, found that employee experience ranked first, with 50% stating that this was their top priority for the year, which is a good thing for starters. However, to find out a little bit more about what will make up their efforts, or what will guide their thinking, HR Grapevine spoke to the experts.

Striking a balance 

According to Naleena Gururani, Chief People Officer at Hyperoptic, if employees understand and enjoy the journey that they are on in an organisation, then they are bought into the company vision and are better able to help achieve company goals. This will likely have follow-on benefits in terms of commercial success too. She explained: “It is important to build a work environment that balances efficiency and performance whilst answering the ‘what’s in it for me’ question and creating moments that matter for us all. I feel the key in 2021 will be to have strong communication between managers and employees – and HR can really help facilitate this.”  

Experience is a collective goal 

Tammy Taylor-Stowe, Chief Human Resources Officer at TransUnion UK, told HR Grapevine that to create a work environment where “positive experiences flourish”, HR teams must work collaboratively and listen to staff members. “Designing best practice and setting up the right processes is essential but alongside that, the HR team needs to guide and consult, in order to get all managers and colleagues involved,” she explained.

While the HR function is responsible for an organisation’s people, TransUnion’s CHRO said that delivering a positive employee experience should be a collective goal across different departments and seniority levels in the business. “COVID-19 has reshaped the way we work and that will continue through 2021, so must be taken into account. At TransUnion we want to nurture a diverse and inclusive work environment that encourages all our colleagues to bring their authentic self to work each and every day,” Taylor-Stowe added. 

‘Conscious and careful decisions’ 

Rebekah Wallis, Director of People and Corporate Responsibility at Ricoh UK, told HR Grapevine that conscious curation of work experiences should be top of the HR agenda when thinking about how to design work. She explained: “Through conscious and careful decisions, a reduction in motivation and an increase in stress can be prevented.” Referring to the results of The Conscious Workplace report that the firm published at the end of the first lockdown, 39% of managers at home and 45% of managers in the office felt unhappy and unproductive, largely because of technology issues.

"From a business perspective, not only can tech issues cause employee frustration and halt a day in its tracks, but employees are much more digitally savvy than they ever have been. This can result in employees finding workarounds which can put businesses' cybersecurity at risk. Being careful and considerate regarding all employee affecting decisions, from technology to process, is the only way to support and nurture your employees fully.” 

Is employee experience more important than ever in light of the pandemic?

Carving out a positive and memorable employee experience has always been a top priority for employers and HR departments. Not only is this experience crucial to keeping employees engaged, data has shown that it can also have follow-on financial benefits for employers. But, has this become even more important in light of the coronavirus crisis? Jake Outram, XM Scientist at Qualtrics, told HR Grapevine, that with staff sentiment fluctuating as the pandemic response progresses, employers should be checking in on employee wellbeing and considering how to support them in their roles at work.

“The importance of people managers in navigating uncertainty is increasingly apparent, but at a cost to managers’ own wellbeing."

"As a result, organisations must continue to focus on enabling people managers to maintain engaged and resilient teams,” Outram explained. Yet, giving line managers the tools to keep teams engaged is just one part of creating a good experience for employees.

“Different challenges will emerge with expectations for future ways of working, all while organisations try to address inclusion and moments-that-matter. More than ever, employee feedback is used to design and improve the employee experience to help organisations survive and thrive,” Outram concluded.

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