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We Ask the Experts

How can HR use technology to create an improved employee experience?

MHR Virgin O2 Premier Foods

When the pandemic hit, technology played a central role in keeping teams connected and businesses operating amid the mass move to homeworking. Yet, past the peak of the pandemic, employers are increasingly embracing digital-first working structures, whether this is hybrid or predominantly working from home. In fact, 2021 Willis Towers Watson data found that two in five employers (41%) will have adopted hybrid working in two years’ time. In order for employers to operate in this way, and for it to work for both staff and the business, technology will continue to play a central role.

Not just in terms of keeping staff connected via video calls and instant messaging channels, but technology will play a role in helping HR achieve areas of its usual practice when staff aren’t necessarily situated within the same four office walls. Whether this is facilitating virtual interviews, online performance reviews or maintaining a good employee experience. With data pointing towards the important role that employee experience can play in keeping staff engaged and retained, HR should be thinking about how the function can improve this.

So, how can the people function use technology to create an improved employee experience? Well, this is the very question we put to our advisory board experts. Read what they had to say below...

Jeanette Wheeler,

Chief HR Officer,
MHR International

“In order to enhance the employee experience, employers need to focus on the delivery method of their communications and updates, and technology can be the best tool for simplifying this communication and ensuring everyone is receiving a consistent employee experience.

“Streamlining your systems to champion one single location for employees to access pay, learning, company policies, performance data and more is a fantastic place to start, ensuring you’re minimising as many barriers as possible to your people engaging in their experience as an employee in your organisation.

“Moreover, utilising your communication channels regularly is key, ensuring important updates are circulated in an open and accessible way for everyone to absorb. HR should also champion a less formal approach to communication alongside official updates, ensuring there is a place within the culture for giving recognitions, celebrating successes, sharing ongoing change and promoting key business highlights outside of the day-to-day workings. This will have great impact on engagement and alignment of employees to your overall vision, whilst also enhancing their experiences as employees, showing investment in their interests, successes, and contribution to the wider picture.”

 

Jeanette Wheeler,

Chief HR Officer,
MHR International

“In order to enhance the employee experience, employers need to focus on the delivery method of their communications and updates, and technology can be the best tool for simplifying this communication and ensuring everyone is receiving a consistent employee experience.

“Streamlining your systems to champion one single location for employees to access pay, learning, company policies, performance data and more is a fantastic place to start, ensuring you’re minimising as many barriers as possible to your people engaging in their experience as an employee in your organisation.

“Moreover, utilising your communication channels regularly is key, ensuring important updates are circulated in an open and accessible way for everyone to absorb. HR should also champion a less formal approach to communication alongside official updates, ensuring there is a place within the culture for giving recognitions, celebrating successes, sharing ongoing change and promoting key business highlights outside of the day-to-day workings. This will have great impact on engagement and alignment of employees to your overall vision, whilst also enhancing their experiences as employees, showing investment in their interests, successes, and contribution to the wider picture.”

 

Jo Bertram,

Managing Director of Business and Wholesale,
Virgin Media O2

“Our latest research tells us that 53% of UK office workers are currently considering leaving their job – and the majority of these (85%) would like to leave within the next three months. But we also know that technology can help make many of the changes that would encourage employees to reconsider a move. From connecting them to training, upskilling and mentor programmes, to giving them more choice about when, how and where they work – tech is a great enabler.

“With flexibility as important as pay for 44% of the office workers we asked, it’s clear that the way organisations use technology can be key when it comes to recruitment and retention. The challenge now is for HR leaders to work with their IT teams to invest in the right mix of mobile and fixed connectivity – and digital workplace tools – to give employees the flexibility they want.”

Jo Bertram,

Managing Director of Business and Wholesale,
Virgin Media O2

“Our latest research tells us that 53% of UK office workers are currently considering leaving their job – and the majority of these (85%) would like to leave within the next three months. But we also know that technology can help make many of the changes that would encourage employees to reconsider a move. From connecting them to training, upskilling and mentor programmes, to giving them more choice about when, how and where they work – tech is a great enabler.

“With flexibility as important as pay for 44% of the office workers we asked, it’s clear that the way organisations use technology can be key when it comes to recruitment and retention. The challenge now is for HR leaders to work with their IT teams to invest in the right mix of mobile and fixed connectivity – and digital workplace tools – to give employees the flexibility they want.”

David Wilkinson,

Group HR Director,
Premier Foods

“The starting point to using technology for an improved colleague experience should always be people-led. In other words, we have a challenge, how can technology help us.

“During the pandemic, we saw how technology kept businesses connected despite colleagues working remotely, and the boundaries of what organisations thought was achievable during remote working was pushed to the limit. Many businesses flourished and technology undoubtedly kept people engaged whilst working from home for sustained periods. Even now, many companies have maintained a hybrid model, enabled by the solutions available that support this more flexible approach. We have seen technology work well, from video calls, to virtual events and webinars which can down commute time significantly, often giving colleagues a better work-life balance.

“However, it is important to acknowledge that technology cannot replace the in-person interactions that colleagues need in order to learn, collaborate, and form meaningful, professional relationships. Face-to-face interaction has been missed by many, so while technology should be embraced, it’s important to keep this simple and targeted, enhancing and adding to the overall colleague experience.”

 

David Wilkinson,

Group HR Director,
Premier Foods

“The starting point to using technology for an improved colleague experience should always be people-led. In other words, we have a challenge, how can technology help us.

“During the pandemic, we saw how technology kept businesses connected despite colleagues working remotely, and the boundaries of what organisations thought was achievable during remote working was pushed to the limit. Many businesses flourished and technology undoubtedly kept people engaged whilst working from home for sustained periods. Even now, many companies have maintained a hybrid model, enabled by the solutions available that support this more flexible approach. We have seen technology work well, from video calls, to virtual events and webinars which can down commute time significantly, often giving colleagues a better work-life balance.

“However, it is important to acknowledge that technology cannot replace the in-person interactions that colleagues need in order to learn, collaborate, and form meaningful, professional relationships. Face-to-face interaction has been missed by many, so while technology should be embraced, it’s important to keep this simple and targeted, enhancing and adding to the overall colleague experience.”

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