Hybrid Future | Why HR must always champion the employee experience

Why HR must always champion the employee experience

By Sally Sourbron, VP Global Talent EMEA

It was great to get back to the office last month. And even better to host a virtual roundtable for HR peers from my very real, rectangular (and much missed) desk.

The theme was employee experience, and I was joined by Victoria Sverdlov, Group Head of HR Services Delivery at the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG). She shared LSEG’s digital transformation journey and its impact on their employee experience.

We’re all still operating in unchartered territory right now, and I find that it really helps to listen and learn from peers. If you do too, you can watch the event recording here. However, if you’ve only got a couple of minutes, here are my key takeaways.

Adapting to a hybrid future

People want a flexible approach to where they work. ServiceNow research found that more than 60% of enterprise employees across UK, France and Germany wanted some element of remote working. The HR Director at Page Group said that 75% of their UK employees want hybrid working. Meanwhile, according to the Global Head of HR at Standard Chartered Bank, 88% of personnel in their top nine markets have signed up to go hybrid.

What does this mean for corporate culture? How should we take employee experience off the page and bring it to life in a hybrid world? What can we do to ensure that the hybrid environment is a happy and healthy one for both individuals and the organisation? These are questions that HR professionals are working through. One thing we’re clear on is that digital solutions will play an increasingly important role in the way we shape employee experience.

Making work life integration easier for everyone

Working 9 to 5 isn’t everyone’s way to make a living. We used to talk about work-life balance. But, as boundaries blur, I think the debate should now be around how we integrate life and work.

HR should facilitate an environment that puts employees in the driving seat of their own experiences. It’s what most want and it’s good for business. Engaged employees lead to flatter structures, greater innovation and enhanced customer experience.

Employee experience starts before day one

Long before the pandemic, onboarding employees quickly and at scale was a key challenge for fast-growing organisations. But, as the Programme Director at the Department for Work and Pensions reminded us, “necessity drives innovation”. The COVID-19 crisis has been a trial by fire for digital onboarding tools, and they delivered.

Over the last year, our cloud platform has enabled us to virtually onboard approximately 800 new ServiceNow colleagues across EMEA, making it easy for them to complete the necessary forms and meet their teams before joining. Employee experience goes through the roof and productivity soars when people hit the ground running on day one.

But LSEG has had to take onboarding to another level. Their acquisition of Refinitiv in February 2021 saw them grow from 5k to 25k employees overnight and they’ve kickstarted a virtual integration project across 73 countries. In Victoria’s words, “We need to connect colleagues to our culture quickly.”

Employees are happy when they’re doing their best work

During the pandemic, people embraced technology to help them get more done, faster. “It was a challenging time for the average employee,” said Victoria. “Using ServiceNow has really helped those individuals to work in a virtual world.”

Productivity will continue to be a priority in a hybrid world. Digital tools help free people up from time-consuming admin, so they have more time for the stuff that matters. Victoria shared an example of how ServiceNow HR Service Delivery (HRSD) has automated transactional admin work so their HR talent can focus on adding real value.

Self-service digital tools improve employee experience

“Self-service has increased by 45% and it’s growing,” said Victoria. “The reception has been amazing. Employee Satisfaction scores have gone from about 70% to 95% being happy with HR since we went live with ServiceNow HRSD.”

LSEG used the Now Platform to support wellbeing during lockdown. It’s currently facilitating their regional return-to-work plan. Employees use it to book dates and desks, and access knowledge articles tailored by region and role. ServiceNow’s integration with LSEG’s Workday deployment means data can easily be shared to ensure a smoother experience.

Leaders must engage with hybrid working

As a recent McKinsey report on HR stated, “A management system based on the old rules…will no longer be effective”. The leadership experience is changing, and HR can work as strategic partners helping C-suite to think differently, build better and support hybrid working with deeds, not just words.

LSEG used ServiceNow’s rich analytics to report on employee-researched knowledge articles to take the temperature on how staff were feeling during the pandemic. The data gave leaders the insight they need to make informed decisions and improve employee engagement.

Experience is everything

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a clear correlation between positive employee experience and business performance. Now, in our forever-changed and still-shifting way of work, it’s more important than ever. Getting experience right is a huge challenge and opportunity, but I doubt there’s ever been a more exciting time to work in HR.

Improve my employee experience

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