Rethinking Human Resources as Human Experience

Why is it called “human resources”? The name sounds administrative and tactical, considering that HR leaders are largely tasked with strategizing and actively helping their organizations provide a better human experience so that all roles and positions feel human.

We all do our best work — and see better business outcomes — when we create individualized experiences for everyone.

That’s why it created a measure of excitement to learn that this year’s HR.com Human Experience Summit, being held February 17-18, is being rightfully called the “Human Experience Summit” for the first time. This marks a welcome and remarkable mind shift in our profession that’s long been in the making, with many organizations in the past year prioritizing employee experience as an essential element of business continuity. In fact, ensuring that employees are supported, engaged, and productive has proven key to several companies’ ability to survive and even grow during the tumultuous business climate of 2020 — and likely the foreseeable future.

A group of SAP SuccessFactors experts have partnered with hundreds of HR teams at SAP customers in a variety of industries, helping them advance their human experience management (HXM) efforts by creating an HCM-to-HXM maturity curve. The curve looks at HR practices on a scale of one to five, starting with level one, “fragmented and reactive,” and going to level five, “purposeful with sustained success.” Put simply, level-five companies provide the optimal human experience, while level-one companies have the widest experience gap to close.

With the understanding that every organization is at a different level, we created the HXM pre-conference on February 16 (register here). Workshops, breakouts, and roundtables all ladder into the central question: What is HXM? The short answer: It’s about reimagining and establishing HR as a strategic function that crafts a people-centric approach in support of the larger corporate vision and objectives. That might sound nebulous, but it is rooted in the utmost practicality.

The pre-conference will focus on HXM basics, with the intent of giving participants a road map to transform their own organizations’ people strategies.

The pre-conference includes three one-hour workshops, followed by a live Q&A:

  • Understanding the Employee Experience You Are Creating through the Lens of HXM (11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.)
  • The Discipline of Experience Management: Best Practices in Designing and Staffing Jobs from an Experience Perspective (12:30 – 1:30 p.m.)
  • Adopting an HXM Mindset Using Data: Linking X and O Data (1:45 – 2:45 p.m.)

The event then kicks off on February 17 with a keynote from author and HR expert Laurie Ruettimann, whose mission is fixing work by telling stories and teaching leaders how to create workplace cultures that support, empower, and engage workers meaningfully. In a breakout session, Forrester analyst David Johnson will debut new global research that proves the link between good employee experience and business results. The research, commissioned by SAP SuccessFactors, Qualtrics, and EY, is sure to build and sustain momentum toward leaving traditional HR orthodoxy in the past. The keynote and the breakout session will feature HR leaders as well. We’re especially excited about two interactive roundtable discussions on learning and recruiting.

If you want your organization to cultivate a positive culture and expedite the transformation to instituting effective programs that put employee needs at the center, the pre-conference is a great place to start.

The sooner we are all speaking the language and ideals of HXM, the sooner we’ll be able to impact our businesses — and the overall business environment — for the better.


Emily Wilson is Director of Solution Marketing for SAP SuccessFactors.

This article first appeared on the SAP Global News Center.