One of the five key takeaways from the recently concluded HR Technology Conference & Expo in Las Vegas involved the employee experience. According to HR technology guru Josh Bersin, for example, vendors are focusing their attention on “employee-centric tools” that operate within Microsoft Outlook, Slack, Salesforce and other widely used workplace tools.
With that as context, and with unemployment remaining low and competition for talent rising, Mercer’s 2019 Global Talent Trends Study found that 97% of executives anticipate increased competition for talent, and more than half are worried about the time required to fill open positions. Additionally, turnover and low employee engagement are ongoing issues: Mercer’s survey finds that about one-third of employees satisfied with their employer are still considering leaving their jobs.
“Despite initiatives for their workforces—like new programs, better technology and efforts to improve engagement—companies are struggling to see the return on these investments,” says Mary Ann Sardone, partner and U.S. talent solutions leader at Mercer. “Recognizing that employees have the same wants, needs and desires as customers, companies are shifting their focus to addressing the full employee experience.”
According to Mercer, HR leaders can take a cue from their customers’ experiences and apply that to improving the employee experience. Mercer’s Sardone says this effort, which requires a shift in how HR operates, has four key implications:
- Treat employees like customers: This means gaining a deep understanding of what they want and what their pain points are. When employees have fewer problems and frustrations with their experience, it allows them to focus on solving problems for customers and the business.
- Understand the experience from the employees’ perspective: This opens up a different view of the problem, one that often crosses organizational silos. HR must become an advocate for working across the organization to improve the experience.
- Understand that not all experiences are equal: Some experiences are more impactful and drive emotional engagement, and these are moments that matter and that require high-touch human interaction. Others are about efficiency and getting something done, and can be simplified and automated.
- Co-create the solution: Bring the employees, the users of the experience, into developing the solution. Involving them creates more innovative solutions and streamlined processes, making it possible to move from concept to execution more quickly, Sardone says.
“Addressing the employee experience is a shift in mindset for companies and, in particular, for the HR function,” adds Lauren Mason, principal in Mercer’s career business. “Companies that figure out how to make their employees’ experiences as delightful as their customers’ experiences will have a competitive advantage.”