Times are changing, business models are changing, and above all, so is HR. There is nothing new in this phenomenon, as HR transformation cycles have been evolving over the past 30 years, yet something has been amiss – until now.
According to a CEB study, more than 80% of organizations are currently planning or undergoing an HR transformation, but the new direction towards digital is taking the HR function on a path that has previously been unexplored. But there is one approach that can change all that.
The approach is not exactly a brand new thing in HR, as there has been great interest surrounding it over the last year, however it is one of the best potential answers to a range of challenges posed by the digital revolution of organizations. The “Customer Experience of HR”, or CXHR as it is popularly referred to, is currently considered the most promising approaches to HR transformation, and it not only yields great benefits if done right but can also significantly influence the impact of HR on engagement.
But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, and answer this question first:
Why does HR need a customer-centric approach?
According to TI People, 91% of employees around the world believe that digital technologies will fundamentally transform the way they work, but only 43% of them are actually satisfied with how the organizations they work for are responding to the digital trends.
As Martel pointed out in his presentation, digital HR transformation is not about digital, it is about understanding its customers, understanding how they feel about HR introducing digital solutions. It is a new currency for HR – to be able to measure satisfaction from the employees’ side and get actionable data that yields business results, top management can be shown the impact that the translation of design thinking can have on the employee experience.
The task to lead the digital transformation now befalls the HR function, and digitalization provides them with the tools needed to focus on each employee individually. This has a three-fold effect: equipped with the wants and needs of individual employees, HR will be able to create specific HR services for them. Furthermore, certain HR tasks will now be given to employees and managers, who can perform them without having to contact HR. And lastly, the “building of new skills will accelerate through individualized, gamified, mobile and collaborative learning services.”
The Customer Experience of HR
In sales and marketing, you ask customers what they think of the service you provide them. In the midst of the digital transformation, often the feedback is not entirely positive for HR in many organizations, as a study by TI People demonstrates.
Currently, the four most common types of experience from the employees’ side are:
- “Attraction & Retention”: Companies are losing their critical talent during the selection process, through quitting. This is very common in the digital talent market, as employees are in the position to pick their future employer, and companies are not in control of this choice.
- The “Illusion of Self-Service”: Front-line data entry employees often leave to work with service providers, therefore less and less HR people actually deal with data entry, thus the task befalls the managers and employees.
- The overly complicated systems cause what is called the “Sunday-to-Monday Frustration”, which is at its worst when it comes to HR, as it deals with people directly.
- Finally, employees expect great service from HR, especially in situations which are “Moments-that-Matter”, and these experiences drive positive or negative engagement, depending on the quality of the service in the recruitment process, during onboarding, in case of relocation, etc.
Organizations usually try to collect information about their employees’ feelings by through engagement surveys, but they tell HR very little about the wants, needs, and skills of the workforce. Martel says that they give even less feedback on how people feel about HR’s services since an engagement survey not only follows only much later and therefore typically evokes delayed action, but usually it only focuses on the organization as a whole. Therefore, how can we know whether HR has delivered great service to the customer i.e. the employee?
The employee experience of the different customers of HR – employees, managers, freelancers, candidates, and alumni – consists of three drivers or building blocks:
- “HR Function Experience” (including learning & development, benefits, relationship with generalists, etc)
- “Leadership & Culture Experience “ (with managers, the leadership culture, and co-workers)
- “Workplace Experience” (with the office, infrastructure, etc.) that includes also the digital experience (with the system, phones, computers, other technology)
HR has the strongest influence on the first, has some impact on the second, and very little on the third. However, it is ultimately HR that CEOs hold accountable for the overall employee experience; therefore it needs to work together with other functions to improve on it.
With the help of information gained through the CXHR approach, HR can co-create a set of tools to map out, for instance; recruitment and onboarding journeys, redesigning them around the needs of the end-users, and ultimately measuring their efficiency by translating the tactics of the world of marketing and sales into HR.
The impact of CXHR
Applying the principles designed for customers of consumer goods to the customers of HR services (employees, line managers, senior executives, applicants, learners) will result in a better experience for all of those who are impacted by them. Employees will be more loyal to the organization and will be less willing to quit. And it will, consequently, make the HR function more effective, and “ultimately lead to higher employee engagement, retention, and performance.”