The philosophy and practice behind digital employee experiences
by Jolene Nicotina November 29 2017
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What does it really look like when new employees have to navigate numerous, disconnected applications to do something as simple as benefits enrollment? Steven Goldberg paints a vivid picture in his article The New Employee Experience. Spoiler alert: It’s not pretty. His snapshot of a hypothetical project manager depicts someone tossed back and forth between phone calls and online portals, distracted by irrelevant alerts and put on hold for 12 minutes—imagine the kinds of tasks a project manager could get done in 12 minutes!
If you think this scenario is atypical, consider some of the stats Goldberg points out:
On average, employees use 9 apps or more
90% of organizations will lack a modern application integration strategy in 2018
72% of employees say they can’t find the HR information they need
The reason behind this problem can’t be blamed on technology alone. It boils down to ethos—most companies don’t treat their employees like they treat their customers. Would your design team ever bury the “contact us” form on your company website? Would customer service dare leave a caller on hold for 12 minutes? Do you require customers to print out a paper form to place an order for your product, as opposed to completing the purchase online? Didn’t think so.
The interactions your customers have with your brand can and should be replicated for your employees. In fact, investing in employee experience may soon be more a matter of survival than philosophy. As more companies apply smart bot technology to HR (imagine a bot that automatically calculates the right amount for an employee to contribute to her FSA based on her personal data), HR services will have to “transform or parish,” Goldberg predicts.
Once your organization adopts the mindset of approaching employee experience like customer experience, how do you begin to put that into practice? The key is to ensure that the easy stuff is, actually, easy.
Here are just a few ways to do that within HR services:
Optimize your knowledge base: Today’s workforce was raised digital. Just like they quickly turn to Google for answers, they expect to be able to type their query into an HR portal and get a result. Operation pick-up-the-phone, avoided. The results also need to be relevant and timely—again, the same expectations we have of Google’s search results. Where HR knowledge bases fall short, says Goldberg, is when they’re “content-cluttered” and when “personalization is nowhere in sight.”
Make sure your knowledge base content doesn’t fall into this camp by setting up a process to regularly review and update information. And, take care to personalize who sees what content so employees aren’t distracted by search results that have no relevance to them. It’s quality over quantity in this case.
Reduce turnaround time: No matter how comprehensive your knowledge base is, employees still need to contact a live HR rep for personalized support around more complex issues. Think of what makes a great customer service call experience: few (or zero) transfers and a quick, clear resolution. Often, what impedes HR from providing this kind of response is “legacy tools and incomplete or unreliable information,” says Goldberg.
By giving your frontline HR staff case management and automation technology, they’ll be able to monitor how quickly requests are resolved, automatically route requests to the right person and streamline any processes associated with closing the case.
Prioritize integration: Even the most advanced HR technology will undermine employee experience if it doesn’t integrate well with your HRIS. A slick UI alone won’t satisfy your employees if they still have to open several applications to complete a task, remember a unique username and password for each app, and enter their employee information over and over.
Integration also matters behind the scenes. If HR must access multiple, disconnected systems to piece together a response, this slows them down and introduces room for error. The best recourse is diligence when adding a new application to your HR tech stack. If a vendor can’t adequately address your questions about integration—run!
All in all, creating a seamless employee experience involves more than making sure technologies talk to each other. Of course, it’s a critical part. But the other ingredient is a guiding philosophy that focuses your organization on the importance of people-centric experiences for customers and employees alike.
Jolene Nicotina is the Content Marketing Manager for North America at PeopleDoc, Inc. She works on making sure HR professionals have all the latest information they need related to HR service delivery, HR technology, and PeopleDoc, Inc. Prior to PeopleDoc, Jolene worked in marketing communications for the healthcare technology industry.