We live in the era of infinite digital experience, one in which the customer’s last best digital experience becomes the minimum standard they will accept. The customer’s experience delivered via mobile, tablet and desktop translate to the workplace; employees expect a customer-centric experience that is designed around their needs, one that is intuitive, simplified, personalised and available on any device. The shift to hybrid / remote working has raised and amplified employee expectations for their enterprise applications to mirror the best experiences available in the consumer realm.
HR technology platforms have long focused on the needs of administrators and managers, providing extensive functionality to meet business needs for access control, separation of security domains, data privacy, automated workflows, task assignment, process adherence, reporting and other governance and administrative tasks. Important and necessary as these capabilities are in workplace HR solutions, they have often been developed at the expense of the employees’ experience which can be clunky, complex and uninspiring - akin to a hotel where the back office, stores, kitchen, and laundry are luxuriously equipped, but the lobby, lounge, dining room and suites are tired, cluttered and difficult to navigate.
Enter the era of the Employee Experience (EX)
The era of the Employee Experience (EX) began pre-pandemic, particularly as smartphones became pervasive, it was accelerated by the existing war for talent, which was amplified by the pandemic and led to what some called the Great Resignation – a process that continues. A study by McKinsey (September 2021) revealed that “Companies are facing an exodus of employees who are exhausted and overwhelmed, questioning what work means, and thinking through their options. Organizations can offer an excellent employee experience (EX) by taking these needs and feelings seriously at such a crucial time.”
Delivering an engaging EX is predicated on applying the principles of Design Thinking, treating the employee as a customer, thinking about their needs, and delivering an experience that elevates performance, productivity, and user satisfaction.
What is Employee Experience?
A research report by Accenture (August 2020) identified the need for companies to reimagine the Employee Experience (EX). A key finding of that report was that “Companies with “EX Factor” treat employees like customers, infusing a sense of purpose into the experience. Seventy-six percent of executives agree that organizations need to dramatically re-engineer the experiences that bring people and technology together in a more human-centric manner.”
Treating employees like customers is the essence of Employee Experience. Employees make choices just like consumers.
A more recent article in Harvard Business Review (April 2022) examined research by Gartner which revealed “Companies have been engaged in an arms race to offer the best perks…. but once basic needs are met, people are more powerfully motivated by feelings than by material features. Employees today want to be treated as people, not just workers.”
The emerging class of HR technology known as the enterprise Talent Experience Platform (TXP) is an enabling technology to support transformation in EX. A TXP provides the employee with a single point of access, navigation, personalised recommendation, search, and discovery for all aspects of the employee experience that are delivered in the digital realm (mobile, tablet and desktop).
A TXP envelopes the Talent Management processes in the Talent Lifecycle from hire to retire, joining up previously disparate functions such as Core HR, Talent Acquisition, Talent Onboarding, Talent Development, Performance Management, and Talent Mobility; unifying the EX in a manner that is shaped around needs and expectations of the employee while retaining all the back-end administrative and managerial capabilities required of these business functions.
A TXP is not only about unification of the various Talent Management technologies, it is an enabling technology to transformation EX, but how?
The following five examples highlight ways in which a TXP enables transformation in EX from the clunky, disjointed, often disengaging, impersonal and siloed HR platforms of the past to a personalised, democratise, intuitive, social, and mobile-ready experience:
Personalised recommendations delivered using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML):
- Skills Inference – the skills the learner has gained in previous roles, previous employment, and outside employment (e.g., further/higher education, professional associations, volunteering) are inferred from learner’s work history, qualifications and credentials as may be found in a CV, HR data, Digital Badges, Certifications, or data from third-party social platforms.
- Job Roles – recommended to the user from the organisation's Job Architecture using AI drawing on their skills and other profile attributes (eg., mobility, language, location, career grade, etc.)
- Internal Vacancies – recommended to the user of the organisation's Applicant Tracking system (ATS) drawing on their skills, work history, aspiration Job Roles and other profile attributes (e.g., mobility, language, location, career grade, etc.)
- Mentors and Coaches – recommended to the user based on the skills they need to develop to close gaps between current Job Role, future potential Job Role, Job Vacancies, or aspirational goals for skills development.
- Projects and Gigs – recommended to the user based on the skills they need to develop to close gaps between current Job Role, future potential Job Role, Job Vacancies, or aspirational goals for skills development.
- Learning – recommended to the user based on their self-directed learning goals (the skills they wish to learn), those required by the business, or the activities of other users like them.
Democratisation of access; lowering and removing barriers to career mobility and career vitality
Lowering and removal of siloes or barriers that inhibit access to skilling, learning, job roles, mentoring, projects / gigs, internal vacancies.
Empowering self-directed ownership – enabling users to identify and pursue internal mobility opportunities; projects; gigs; and mentorships without the need for line manager intervention.
An intuitive User Interface (UI) which requires no training, simplifies navigation and discovery
Accessible UI - designed for the condition of being a human, rather than for humans with recognised conditions; good UX design benefits all users.
Responsive - design for any device or browser format.
Decluttered – streamlined and simplified to aid navigation, encourage engagement, shorten workflows
A rich social experience which mirrors the best practices of consumer platforms which encourage sharing and collaboration
Creation of open, collaborative communities that enable teams to work on shared initiatives that integrate with all stages of the Talent Lifecycle.
Enablement of User Generated Content, ease of co-authorship and sharing (harness the tacit knowledge, skills, and experience of the workforce)
Acquisition of social currency – peer recommendations, commenting, likes, ratings
A mobile first approach designed around the needs of hybrid, remote and mobile working
Parity of functionality - across mobile and browser experience so the user can perform all day-to-day tasks on the move or at their desk without needing to switch between experiences.
Dedicated apps - optimised for mobile / tablet format
Providing an end-to-end experience
The era of the Employee Experience demands a different approach to enterprise HR technology, one that treats the employee as a customer; applying principles of Design Thinking to the end-to-end experience. A Talent Experience Platform (TXP) is an enabling technology to deliver an employee centric experience throughout the talent lifecycle.
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