If you think about it, many of the things we take for granted in our workplaces, that are delivered by Human Resources (HR) departments are point solutions that fulfil specific needs but don't often work all that well together. On-boarding processes bring staff into a company, there are training and development programs and a bunch of processes we need to follow that we might only access very rarely. How do those things hang together to create a great workplace experience? Digital transformation in HR is emerging as a key tool for improving employee satisfaction.
ServiceNow's Chief Talent Officer Pat Wadors only recently joined the company but comes from LinkedIn where she led HR and supported staff through the challenging acquisition by Microsoft. During this weeks' Knowledge 18 event, Wadors talked about the challenges facing today's Chief Human Resources Officers (CHRO). While much of what she discussed came from her experience, she also leaned on data from Service Now's recent research, titled The New CHRO Agenda - Employee Experiences Drive Business Value [PDF]
Wadors said employee experience build down to three things: systems, environment and culture.
She said culture is about how people are paid, policies, practices and procedures and how we treat each other. That overlaps with systems - the tools people are given to do their jobs. And then there's the work environment - how you feel when you work through the hallways.
Looking at the survey, Wadors said three out of five of her peers say digital is where they are going.
"They've automated one of two of their processes but going digital across their enterprise is where they're heading," she said.
Once they start going down that road, Wadors said CHROs define success as a "consumer-like experience". Employees want their workplace experience of HR to be like when they make a purchase from Amazon.
This is leading CHROs to look at platforms that allow them to create tools that work enterprise-wide rather than disparate systems that do single jobs well but don't integrate. Choosing the right platform will support those changes.
Alongside this is a shift in how HR is seen in businesses. Recruitment has often been seen as a tactical management tool, with staff chosen to fulfil specific, point-in-time deficits in skills or manpower. But that is changing with talent management starting at on-boarding, delivering the right information at the moments when people need, and providing development opportunities so staff can progress, either in the business or when they leave.
That's an important consideration. Part of the process Wadors noted was important was off-boarding, saying that the exit of an employee needs to be a positive experience as well.
Great HR, she said, is about doing the right things at key moments in the employees lifecycle.
And while there are lots of moments that are important, Wadors said "There are so many moments but you have to start somewhere".
This is why ServiceNow has focussed their internal efforts on the onboarding process, the tail of the onboarding process and a number of day to day moments that matter such as leave applications.
"The best talent today expects great digital experiences at work. Top talent can work anywhere, and they are choosing companies that embrace advanced technology to make work simpler, faster, better. A fundamental shift is under way, and top human resources leaders are creating a new employee experience realising that great benefits and cool office perks are no longer enough. Employees want great digital experiences that make work, work better for them".
Within ServiceNow, Wadors conducts regular surveys to understand what is working and what is causing friction for employees. These are done not just annually but at specific times such as 60 days after employment in order to look at what is going happening and learning from that.
She also noted that Net Promoter Scores, a key metric in measuring customer satisfaction, strongly correlate with employee satisfaction. If you're employees are happy, your customers are more likely to be happy.
Getting the end-point of this digital transformation in HR is not easy. It requires the mapping of the entire employee lifecycle and to then build systems that work together to make better employee decisions. Wadors expats it will take three to five years for that approach to become widespread.
Anthony Caruana travelled to ServiceNow Knowledge 18 in Las Vegas as a guest of ServiceNow.