Today, as we negotiate new ways of working in an endemic-struck world, the experience businesses create for their employees is more crucial than ever. Human Experience Management (HXM) is the next step in the evolution of HCM solutions and one that puts the employee at the heart of all human resource functions.
We are increasingly acknowledging people and their needs in HR functions. Organisations have started using a people-centric approach to guide all HR functions spanning different stages of an employee’s time within the organisation in a hybrid work model. Even as Covid-19 seems to have transitioned to an endemic stage, recruitment continues to be done remotely. AI has been playing a larger role in all HXM processes, especially in helping reduce the time to deliver outcomes for HR, like identifying more suitable candidates and those shortlisted don’t come to offices till the time they’re onboarded. This makes it convenient and safer for the candidate to go through the recruitment process without making any physical contact until it is essential.
Employees’ ecosystem outside of work is now acknowledged to play a huge role in how they perform at work. More businesses are offering conveniences such as creches for employees’ children, a lot more flexibility to work from remote locations, or extended WFH arrangements in special cases, example, when an employee has elders with comorbidities at home.
While some of these practices existed in select companies before the pandemic, these are now becoming levers to enhance employee experience across the board. Even when organisations are moving from WFH to a hybrid work mode, employees are often given the option of picking the days they’d prefer to come to work. The very idea of these practices is to ensure the comfort and convenience of the employee and gain their buy-in about safety and hygiene which are crucial in these times.
WFH and hybrid work models have made it possible for women to return to the workforce after a maternity break at the convenience of part-time work, gig work, or fully work from home, besides the traditional model of employment. This now makes it possible for organisations to push for better gender diversity across teams and functions.
However, remote or hybrid working is not without its challenges. Questions of how to manage productivity or motivation in a decentralised workforce don’t have easy answers. It is also not possible to monitor if an employee is not using company hours to do a side gig.
Since culture impacts strategies, how an organisation manages its work culture and ethics in these times will be crucial. Using data to create a culture of trust will make HR Analytics crucial.
It can also inspire organisations to introspect and look at what roles they might want to retain full-time and what functions they might want to shift to a contract system and simply outline a Statement of Work (SOW) without requiring such workers to put in fixed hours. This won’t just reduce the pressure on a company to chart out a career path for a larger number of people but also give such workers the freedom to be entrepreneurial and take on other jobs or simply take time off for themselves as long as the SOW is met.
HR must contribute to organisational sustainability goals
But the most important challenge that organisations must address is that of sustainability. The hybrid Work model has potentially thrown carbon neutrality goals of companies off the charts. Pre-pandemic businesses could report accurate carbon footprint numbers because people gathered on a single campus which was designed to be sustainable.
WFH has made it impossible for organisations to track their employees’ sustainability score. It could be argued that it’s likely made it worse. There is no telling if your employees’ homes are as sustainable as your campuses or sustainable at all. Are their homes recycling water and waste, optimising power supply, and shunning plastic as your campuses do? With work now happening from multiple locations, organisations must be cognisant that their offices aren’t in just one place but in as many places that their employees work from. This could mean encouraging sustainable practices such as BYOD to reduce e-waste.
HR will have to transform itself to think of ways to help organisations meet their sustainability goals. This could mean expanding the Rewards and Recognition system to look beyond productivity or the number of billable hours put in by an employee to include softer levers such as ethics and sustainability.
The underlying theme in human experience management is to build empathy and transparency. These softer elements help in making employees feel safe and encourage them to share their challenges and views. Organisations need to demonstrate that they genuinely care for their employees. They must provide leaders with the necessary training and give them the tools to drive motivation through empathy.
Such people-centric transformation, realised through the HR department, will not just be one that benefits a single department but all personnel and brings about organisational change.