The Employee Experience “War”

Vendors compete as new tech trends in HR are focusing on the employee. In the battle for best talent, the employee experience is the new go-to strategy for success.

Employee experience platforms could help improve the process – but how do employers choose the right one and which vendors are going to make it happen first?

With so much going on in peoples’ day-to-day lives, fast developments in technology and business are only adding to the list of things we need to keep on top of and so it’s no surprise that our employees are feeling completely overwhelmed.  To further prove this point, it was discovered that 94% of US and UK employees are experiencing high levels of workplace stress – which is an incredibly alarming statistic.

But what is causing these high levels of workplace stress?

Well for a start, people are working more hours.  Weekends have turned into normal working days and the impact of using technology for work means that even within our home environment, work is filtering into our ‘downtime’ and the concept of the ideal work-life balance is becoming blurred.

Study: 94% of US and UK workers report high work-related stress

We are experiencing a long-period of economic growth, but it is proving difficult to keep up with.  With the cost of living on the increase and wages staying relatively the same, more and more people are turning to the gig-economy and side hustles, meaning that we are no longer focusing on one job or career, but are constantly upskilling and spreading ourselves thin across numerous fields to feel financially secure.

Thankfully, HR technology has helped businesses take many burdens away, but now the type of HR system needs to be quite specific to meet new demands.

So instead of introducing a HR system that is going to add further disruption to our people, employers have been desperately seeking a solution to keep their workforce happy and the concept of an employee experience platform might just be the answer.

The year of the employee experience…

There has been no getting away from this buzzword lately.  2018 was predicted to be the “Year of the Employee Experience” and that has proven to be correct.

Not to be confused with employee engagement, the employee experience is influenced by numerous factors, from the physical workspace to work-life balance and the technology used to enable productivity and work-flow.

Success has been linked closely to effective employee experience strategies, leading to higher customer service and revenue, therefore we have seen an increased effort in this area which has now expanded to HR software and the development of a true employee experience platform.

So far, no vendor has created a platform focused on the employee experience as a whole.  There are many systems out there which we keep buying into to solve our problems, but there needs to be a system developed that ties everything together to make work easier, create better balance and boost the productivity of our workforce.

Vendors at “war”

At the 2018 HR Technology Conference & Expo, Josh Bersin, internationally recognised industry analyst and founder of Bersin™ by Deloitte, predicted a “holy war among vendors for the employee experience in the years ahead”.  So the race has commenced and vendors are quickly responding to produce the best platform as a solution to our employee’s needs.

Focusing on employee satisfaction or employee engagement isn’t enough. You need to think about the overall employee experience

Although no vendor has delivered a full finished product yet, it was announced by Josh Bersin at the 2018 HR Technology Conference & Expo that Service Now, PeopleDoc and IBM have already made a good start.

What will the employee experience platform provide?

The employee experience platform will be designed to “fit between core HR and talent management tools” and deliver benefits such as:

  • Real time recognition
  • Meaningful rewards and feedback
  • Actionable insights
  • Customised loyalty or gamification solutions
  • Improved employee and organisational performance using sophisticated algorithms
  • Peer to peer collaboration and coaching tools
  • Automation, transparency and engagement

“…just as consumer technology is designed to be customer-centric, the workplace technology your business adopts must be employee-centric. It should solve the challenges of your workforce and be something your employees can’t live without.” – Elizabeth Dukes, Co-founder and EVP of iOffice

How can employers develop the employee experience?

Employers should be considering factors such as, customer experience management, design thinking to enhance the work environment, company culture, values and HR services as well as understanding all aspects of the employee life-cycle.

By conducting surveys, looking at people analytics and talking with employees, organisations will be able to identify employee goals, pain points and further understand the following crucial data:

  • At which point a candidate decides to work for their company
  • How effective their on-boarding process is
  • How changes to the company affect the employee experience (for example, growth or restructure)
  • In what ways management can best support and connect with employees
  • Gather employees ideas for improvements

But with more than 2/3 of all HR technology investments being vastly under-used, (likely due to implementing it without real research of employee and business needs) having this knowledge will really give employers the guidance to choose the right platform that fits in-line with company values and supports their business goals.

AI is Making HR Systems Conversational
AI is making HR systems conversational | Source:

Rather than develop an intervention that requires change management, let’s study what people are doing at work, study their daily activities, and redesign the work environment for success. Focus on productivity, better decision-making, quality, and empowerment. So now our HR “program” is more like a work-related intervention rather than a work interruption.

2. The Pace of Work is Accelerating.
The pace of work is accelerating | Source:

So the “war” is on.  Which vendor will create the ultimate employee experience platform to solve these identified issues and which system will be best received by our employees?  Only time will tell…

What steps has your organisation taken to improve the employee experience?  We would love to hear from you!


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Written By

Robyn South

Robyn is a HR professional with over 7 years experience in generalist and complex employee relations matters. A newly established Virtual HR Assistant offering a range of HR services online, who loves to travel and part of the content management team at CakeHR.