HR Reinvents the Employee Experience, People Bring Their Best Selves to Work

Getting the employee experience right has become the credo of every company in search of peak business performance. Now a new diagnostic tool called the Thrive XM Index is poised to help companies measure the employee experience in five core areas that can make or break someone’s ability to thrive in the organization: health, financial, career, time, and family.

After hearing about the index during an exclusive session at the recent SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference, I reached out to SAP executives for the full story.

“Boosting productivity is not about squeezing as much energy and hours out an individual as possible,” said Jay Choi, executive vice president and general manager of Employee Experience at Qualtrics. “When companies support an individual’s experience in all dimensions of their lives, people can bring their best selves to work, and the organization can put culture and humanity at the center of their strategy, driving better business results.”

The result of a collaborative effort among SAP SuccessFactors, Qualtrics, and Thrive Global, the Thrive XM Index will extend traditional employee engagement models in a radical way.

Experience Plus Operational Metrics Fuel Insights

Typically, companies associate the employee experience with benefits and other human resources (HR) policies. Yet the employee experience is much broader. Someone may have just become a parent or taken on elder parent care. Maybe they’re sleep-deprived from too much travel. They could face money challenges from unexpected bills.

These are a few examples of the gaps that the Thrive XM Index is designed to reveal by combining HR operational data (O-data) from human capital management (HCM) systems and experience data (X-data) about employees. With greater visibility into the employee’s entire workplace and life experiences, companies can preemptively uncover and address problems.

Data Closes the Employee Experience Gap

For every piece of O-data — including job candidate acceptance rates, promotion percentages, absenteeism, turnover, and training — there’s corresponding X-data that directly tracks to company performance. Consider a worker who wants to relocate to be with her fiancé and decides to leave the company because her employer doesn’t allow location transfers.

High employee churn costs companies millions in finding and training replacement workers. Using a five-minute “whole person” experience survey from a representative sampling of employees, the Thrive XM Index tool can uncover these kinds of costly gaps.

“It’s not enough to raise insights from employee surveys and other tools. Companies need to action those insights with operational investments,” said Kirsten Allegri Williams, chief marketing officer at SAP SuccessFactors. “With an assessment of an employee’s perceived experiences mapped to HR investments, companies can quickly find the experience gaps and recalibrate programs for greatest impact. If you focus on your people, the financial results will follow.”

Metrics Modernize HR

The Thrive XM Index is a logical expansion of the SAP SuccessFactors people strategy. Moving beyond the initial wave of HR process automation, the index is designed to help organizations create a more empathetic workplace that reflects modern society.

“Companies need to figure out how to make it easier for people to do the job they were hired to do,” said Kristi Sanders, head of Product Innovation Go-to-Market at SAP SuccessFactors. “The Thrive XM index can better identify and address the obstacles people face so employees can get engaged in the work they are excited to do. It could involve technology that simplifies and automates processes or resources that provide employees with the same amount of flexibility they experience in their personal lives.”

Personalized Experiences

Identifying gaps doesn’t necessarily mean more programs. For example, companies may have a plethora of benefits, but a busy employee just returning from parental leave doesn’t have time to search and find what they need most. A fix could be as simple as providing one-click mobile access to support options based on employee life events.

Uncovering Strengths and Challenges in the Employee Experience

SAP will invite organizations listed on the Global Fortune 500 to participate in the Thrive XM Index. However, any company with a representative employee sampling will be able to use the index, regardless of size or if they are an SAP SuccessFactors customer.

“We want to celebrate all organizations that are creating great employee experiences, and show how that links to business performance,” said Sanders. “Maybe you have great succession planning and leadership development, but employees don’t feel supported from a family or financial standpoint. The index will show those blind spots and the impact downstream on business performance. You’ll know how to prioritize HR programs to close these gaps.”

Business leaders have always worked hard to understand what is going on across their organization, like stock performance, revenue growth, and other operational metrics. As companies aggressively compete to attract and keep top talent, the Thrive XM Index is designed to provide a more holistic look at business performance through the lens of the entire employee experience.