Why employee
experience should
be a core focus for HR


In this myGrapevine magazine interview, Phil Chambers, General Manager at Workday explains why employee experience should be a top priority for the people function and the areas that leaders should focus on…

The employee experience can be influenced by many aspects of a person’s journey at work. From the moment that employees are onboarded into the organisation, to the employee-employer relationship, and the way that performance is managed, there are many things that can impact their tenure. With the employee experience involving many aspects of working life, its unsurprising that employers are actively trying to get better in this area. In fact, research from Willis Towers Watson found that nine in ten UK employers said that strengthening the employee experience would be a top priority in their business over the next three years.

But, where should people leaders focus their attention? Well, according to Phil Chambers, General Manager at Workday, a big contributing factor to a great employee experience is the relationship that staff have with their line managers. He went on to explain that traits of a good boss go beyond just delegating work, and that shifting workforce expectations mean that staff are looking for leaders that can help them grow and get better. This is something that performance management – which can help to improve employee performance – could help with.

To find out more about why employee experience should be a core focus for HR, the core areas of employee experience that leaders should focus on and how hybrid working could impact this, myGrapevine magazine caught up with Workday’s Chambers below.

Why should employee experience be a core focus for HR?


“The central premise that companies are going to offer more compelling jobs if their HR efforts function similarly to their customer experience efforts isn’t a new one. If we try to design experiences based on the important interactions people have with a company – in a joined-up way across a lifecycle, rather than just working functionally – then people are going to build stronger bonds with the company. To be able to do that – just as with customer experience – you need to have data that enables you to empathise with, and understand, employees en masse. Right now, with the tight, post-pandemic job market, it’s more important than ever. Companies that are slow to react to changes in the expectations of employees are going to lose out.”


About Phil Chambers and Workday Peakon Employee Voice

  • Phil Chambers is General Manager at Workday.

  • Before Workday, Phil was Head of Technology at some of Europe’s most successful start-up businesses, including Gumtree, Qype and Podio. After joining Citrix through the acquisition of Podio in 2012, Phil went on to lead the company’s GoToMeeting product line.

  • Workday Peakon Employee Voice provides organisations with more of the real-time visibility they need to support their employees and build better businesses.

  • Workday is helping organisations elevate the employee voice and take action to tackle the most pressing people challenges for the changing world of work, such as employee experience management, development and reskilling, and belonging and diversity.


How will hybrid work impact the employee experience? And what is best practice around navigating this?


“It’s clear people want greater flexibility in where they work. A lot of people simply won’t accept going back to the office five days a week – and a lot of businesses refuse to believe this new reality will lose out too. The big thing will be ensuring equity in the experience and opportunities people have while providing this flexibility. If people showing up to the office is what’s going to get people on the best projects or make them more likely to be promoted, that’s very quickly going to cause problems and will seriously impact organisational performance. Again, data is going to be key here. For example, tracking sentiment data on subjects like whether people feel they’re included in meetings, looking at how your remote employees are reviewed by their managers etc.”

Much of a great employee experience is built on the relationship you have with your manager

Which core areas of employee experience should people leaders focus on?


“Much of a great employee experience is built on the relationship you have with your manager. Leaders should focus on building open, empathetic and developmental relationships with their direct reports. For a long time, being a good boss has been about much more than just delegating work and reviewing performance. But now it’s an expectation that your leader is going to be someone who values you as a person, and is going to help you grow.”


What are some of the emerging trends you expect to see more of in the coming years?

With 2022 firmly upon us, HR leaders and employers will be looking ahead to see which trends could influence the future of work.

For Chambers, he believes that “the planet is at a crossroads now in terms of the future sustainability of life.

“Companies that leave the world in a better place than they found it are going to be long-term winners and I believe employees will vote with their feet on this critical issue,” he added.

How does a good employee experience benefit all aspects of an organisation?


“We see these benefits with our customers all the time, in fact understanding this is built directly into our platform. The most well documented benefits are great talent retention and higher customer satisfaction. But we also see really interesting examples of businesses that reduce safety incidents because their staff take greater care of themselves and others. Or there’s less stock spoilage and wastage in retail businesses because employees care more about these initiatives – because they care more about the company as a whole.”


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