By Tim Macartney, Korn Ferry
It’s amazing how quickly things got personal when the pandemic first hit. There’s always been a social contract between employer and employee, but COVID put the focus in new and unexpected ways on our most basic rights: our personal health and safety.
Many organisations did an admirable job of addressing these core needs, even building engagement. Leaders stepped up and opened new two-way communication channels as workplaces went digital. Organisations evolved at an unprecedented pace in order to survive through lockdown and a more flexible give-and-take was established as leaders and team members alike balanced their own and their family’s wellbeing.
There’s no doubt that employees are hungry for this to continue, while leaders want to keep engaging their best people as organisations fight to survive and compete in highly volatile times. But expectations have shifted. As we move into the next normal, a more evolved way of engaging people is needed – a shift from human capital management (HCM) to human experience management (HXM).
What Is Human Experience Management?
We know that business leaders want to deliver the ideal experience for employees, but they often struggle to get it right. There remains a stubborn gap between employee expectations and the delivery of the employee experience, driven by leaders’ lack of understanding about the needs of their people.
Traditional HR processes tend to exacerbate this understanding gap by focusing on organisational goals and collecting the data to support these. It’s about what is happening. HXM shifts this perspective by considering not only what is happening, but why it is happening and addressing this through the employee experience.
In other words, HXM is about leveraging the insights that HCM data offers to create a more respectful and nuanced relationship between the organisation and its people. It connects the factors around human motivation, awareness, consciousness, decision-making and leadership behaviours to accelerate performance.
Designing The Right Employee Experience
Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar famously said “you can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” The same could be said of designing the employee experience.
Where HCM has traditionally taken a transactional and segregated approach to HR processes, HXM goes beyond simply facilitating transactions to genuinely reinvent employee experiences. And that starts with embedding meaningful, individualised end-to-end experiences for everyone, whether candidates, new hires, employees, managers, or HR leaders as part of the business strategy. It looks beyond the employee lifecycle to how it feels to work at the organisation.
This approach recognises that experiences occupy the space between company decisions and behaviour, performance and business outcomes. Take, for example, a decision to change your rewards scheme. This change will also alter the employee experience and will prompt a reaction from employees. The key consideration is whether the reaction will support business outcomes – will it engage and motivate your people in a way that unleashes discretionary energy? Or will it elicit apathy, or worse, ill-will that will depress employee engagement?
As we continue working through the pandemic towards recovery, the employee experience will come into sharp focus. Leaders need to continue building their awareness around their people’s individual needs and experiences. As the personal and professional become more intertwined than ever, organisations can engage and motivate their people by creating experiences that connect individuals to something bigger.