New Research Suggests Human Experience Management Is Critical To Weather Hard Times

Finding the best talent, taking care of employees and sustaining their development, and building a great bench of future leaders have always been the function of HR leaders. But the far-reaching potential of the HR role has been lost on most leaders of medium-sized businesses – until now.

A recent Oxford Economics report, “Digital, Resilient, and Experience-Driven,” revealed that 47% of medium-sized companies that reported strong revenue growth over the past year prioritize the employee experience. The research suggests that creating employee experiences based on what people need to stay inspired and do their best ultimately supports the workforce agility and business resiliency needed to weather hard times.

Creating an engaged and highly productive workforce that enhances business continuity requires a profound shift in HR focus – one that moves away from simply facilitating HR-driven processes and toward delivering meaningful experiences that focus on the human factor. And it’s the practice of human experience management (HXM) that empowers such a move.

What is human experience management?

Employees are more than just assets to be managed. Employees are individuals with specific and ever-changing needs, motivations, challenges, and goals that they expect to be understood. This mindset takes shape as early as the first interaction a candidate has with an organization and continues to evolve every day after that.

The practice of HXM acknowledges this incredibly human aspect of people and work. It enables HR leaders and their teams to adopt a more agile approach by listening to employees, embracing their feedback and sentiments, and delivering programs in an iterative manner to continue to improve results.

Take, for example, the recruitment of top talent. All too often, recruiters are stuck with tasks that are highly manual, paper-intensive, and slow. Whenever they think the perfect candidate is found, a competing employer may have already hired that person with a competitive salary and benefits package.

How do recruiters effectively nurture and engage candidates in ways that build strong connections and relationships from day one? This task can be especially challenging when working tirelessly to fill 30 job openings needed to strategically move the business forward. Furthermore, they must continue to revamp their candidate experience by understanding perceptions of what’s working and what’s not.

To deliver HXM, HR leaders need to understand that they must provide intuitive tools that are more accessible and user friendly to make things more efficient, to automate tasks that were cumbersome and time-consuming in the past, and to help drive the behavioral changes and agility that businesses need today.

Why legacy HR systems cannot support HXM

If you think about it, traditional HR systems were designed for HR leaders engaged in human capital management (HCM) and responsible for acquiring, developing, and retaining top talent. This focus has led to a range of must-have capabilities that support top-down, HR-led activities, such as hiring, onboarding, development, compensation, benefits, payroll, and succession planning.

Traditional HR systems weren’t designed with the end user in mind – the employee, manager, candidate or new hire – and the capabilities needed to boost their confidence, productivity, and engagement. Since they are fundamentally transaction-focused, the technology was never optimized to capture, evaluate, or act on employee experiences or expectations.

In contrast, HXM is a different way to approach HR – where creating great experiences for people is at the center of everything.

Which technologies drive the benefits of HXM

The practice of HXM requires a dramatic shift in the design of HR software with a focus on engaging people in entirely new ways. Experiences should be redesigned to make work simpler and more seamless, as well as highly personalized and relevant.

For example, reimagined learning and development can create opportunities for every employee’s growth. Employees may be supported by conversational chatbots and machine learning-based recommendations that deliver contextual insights, suggestions, and guidance toward the right actions. By providing the tools to continuously listen to employees, medium-sized businesses can base their workforce decisions on real-time insight into where gaps exist and which steps should be taken to improve everyday employee experiences.

Technologies that enable this level of agility are transformational for medium-sized companies. Barriers that typically impede employee experience improvements – such as generational differences, difficulty scaling for growth, and obstacles hindering the evolution of organizational culture – can be removed. Doing so allows HR leaders to become more flexible as they adapt policies and programs to meet the ever-evolving needs of the workforce and the overall business.

Let’s come back to my earlier example of the recruiter with an extraordinary caseload. The entire process of posting job openings, searching for applicants, and finding, interviewing, and hiring the right candidate can be shortened to 45 days, instead of the expected 95 days. The reason is simple: technology is designed to increase recruiter efficiency by eliminating complexity while making it easy for recruiters to deliver meaningful candidates experiences at scale.

The changing role of HR and how it must continue to evolve

In recent years, HR has undergone dynamic shifts in its roles, functions, and overall impact in shaping organizations. Now more than ever with the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s clear that the future of HR has arrived and the time to embrace the practice of HXM is now.

Today, HR leaders are in a unique position to pave the way for a new world of work as the reigning innovator and champion of the employee experience. Just imagine the possibilities when HXM redefines employee experiences from every angle to improve adaptability, embrace change, and address human factors genuinely. Suddenly, HR technology has a new purpose: to make life at work better – for everyone.

To learn more about how to transform your operations around new technologies and human experiences that are critical to your business resilience and growth, download the Oxford Economics report, “Digital, Resilient, and Experience-Driven“.


This article was original featured on SAP Brandvoice, Forbes.