Transforming the Employee Service Experience? Take a Page Out of the Customer Service Playbook

Jason Averbook

If you look at any business publication or study today, you’ll see that in almost every case, the digital transformation of the customer experience is one of the top three initiatives.  Whether it’s a retailer, a healthcare organization, or a technology company, digitally transforming the experience that their customers have is at the top of the list.  But what about your employees; what can HR learn from customer experience that can help transform the employee experience too?

Let’s start by defining experience – an experience is the process of personally observing, encountering or undergoing something. Using this definition, when we think of a customer experience we are talking about how people feel by being a customer of an organization.  This includes how important they feel, how easy it is to be a customer, and the value they get from being a customer.  By using these three areas as a barometer of the customer experience, let’s quickly look at applying those same elements to the employee experience.

How important they feel

Your employees look at every connection with corporate functions like HR as an interaction.  Each of these interactions should leave them feeling satisfied, valued, and like they were the most important member of the organization at that moment.   If the feeling is different, the damage can be significant.  Not only does your employee feel like that one interaction did not go well, but in today’s world of transparency, they will often take to Glassdoor or other sites like it to air their grievances.  With repeated bad interactions, that employee will eventually become susceptible to being poached by other employers and leave the organization.   Bad interactions result in higher turnover, which costs organizations millions of dollars each year.  Put yourself in the shoes of your employees and after each interaction, ask yourself, “Would that make me proud to be an employee here?”

How easy it is to be an employee

Your employees’ expectations of HR are skyrocketing. With the advent of knowledge at your fingertips with Google, shopping experiences with sites like Amazon, and even texting tools like SMS, the expectation for simple, easy, anywhere and anytime access to employee services has grown exponentially.  It is no longer acceptable for an employer to offer the same old HR tools like outdated intranets, poor self-service options, and no case management or knowledge management solutions.  When your employees become frustrated by a violation of the employer-employee agreement they look elsewhere.  And given the ‘War for Talent’ has been won by the talent itself, that is their prerogative. Put yourself in the shoes of the employee, not an HR professional and ask, “How easy is it to be an employee here?”  And more importantly, ask yourself, “How can I make it easier?”

What is the value of being an employee here?

While every interaction with your employees is an opportunity to show that you care and that your HR organization is continuously working to make it easy to be an employee by providing the tools necessary to do their jobs, each interaction is also an opportunity to prove the value of employment.  In other words, your responsibility as an HR professional is to do everything in your power to make your organization an employer of choice.  Proactive, predictive and personalized servicing of employees is mandatory.  Reimagining HR and employee processes to be more proactive requires you to infuse knowledge, content, collaboration and analytics into the transaction themselves.  It is time to rethink our fundamentals of HR service delivery and the processes that impact the employee service experience.  Ask yourself, “Do I believe that we are anticipating the needs of our employees and proactively offering solutions or are we simply reacting to requests?”

The state of HR service delivery is at a turning point. There is no time to wait; there is no new generation to wait for (Millennials who are between the ages of 25 and 37 likely already make up a significant portion of your workforce); and we have the technology to reimagine AND execute today.  Our only excuse for not following in the footsteps of customer service is inertia that has paralyzed HR teams for years.

The time is now to ask yourself the question, “Will I take the leap forward and revolutionize the workforce experience at my organization or will I wait for someone to come along and do it in my place?”  Remember the definition of experience being focused on observing, encountering and undergoing; take yourself out of HR and put yourself in the shoes of your employees.  Ask yourselves: are you treating your employees at least as well as your customers? If the answer isn’t a resounding “yes”, then it’s time for action.

Get involved. Join me and your peers at one of the upcoming ServiceNow HR Summits and at Knowledge17 where I’ll be leading discussions on the future of HR service delivery and what it really takes to consumerize the employee service experience.

Jason Averbook

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