In the experience economy, businesses and their employees are demanding more than ever from the HR team.

This is hardly a surprise given the digitization of HR regularly features as one of the top ranking business priorities. People leaders are constantly being asked to replicate the seamless, fast, and interactive experiences we’re accustomed to as consumers.

By transforming HR for the digital world businesses ultimately aim to design and deliver a better employee experience (EX). When done right, this will translate into improved employee retention and attraction, higher productivity and engagement, and stronger business performance.

But let’s be frank for a moment – this new digital age of HR is asking most practitioners from the sector to step outside of their comfort zone. That is, while all HR practitioners are well equipped to devise strategies and programs improving the employee experience, only a handful are comfortable and trained to execute these plans using the digital technology platforms from the consumer world.

It’s critical we bridge this digital HR gap if businesses are going to deliver the EX needed to succeed in the experience economy.

7 key steps in delivering an exceptional employee experience (EX)

To help guide HR leaders through their own digital transformation and close the gap, Qualtrics has highlighted the key steps in leveraging new technologies to deliver an exceptional EX.

1. Set goals and objectives

It’s obvious and like every other program before it, but identifying what success looks like for your HR digital transformation is critical. For example, are you aiming to increase employee productivity and satisfaction? Perhaps it’s retention? Another goal might be to up-skill employees in a specific area.

Make sure your goals are focused on outcomes and action rather than just response rates. While a high response score is great and important, it is how the data is used which determines the quality of the EX.

2. Build a strategy

Having a plan of how you are going to achieve your goals provides a framework for you to develop your EX around. A strong strategy keeps you focused on driving short and long-term outcomes, and the key milestones to achieve along the way.

3. Identify partners

Many HR digital transformations rely on outside support from technology vendors, experts, and consulting firms. Your strategy and goals will help uncover the capabilities and advice you need to design and deliver a great EX. Be sure to select offerings that simplify your EX by enabling you to manage and design it from a single and agile platform. It’s also critical your EX platforms integrate with other technology platforms used by the business, such as in sales, so that experience and operational-data can be combined. This ensures changes made to your EX are based on tangible facts, which will help drive better outcomes.

4. Invest in personal development

New digital platforms are going to continue disrupting sectors many years from now. Having a strong understanding of the technology empowers you to use it for maximum EX impact. Therefore, training that equips you with the skills to easily manage and configure platforms, as well as analyze data from them, is essential. Simple onboarding programs and on-going advice from your vendors is great for this. Choosing an EX platform that is easy to use is also beneficial as it means you can spend more time focused on delivering a great EX.

5. Look for inspiration

There’s no denying creating a new EX is a big change management project. Look to other organizations and sectors that have undergone similar transformations for inspiration. For instance, network with CX peers to understand how they are overcoming common CX challenges, or look to new start-ups who are mostly digital by design.

6. Go slow to go fast

The most impactful EX programs are long-term projects. After all, HR needs to allow time for its programs and initiatives to develop and take effect. Similarly, at the outset conduct small scale projects and testing to ensure you can scale offerings without disruption for maximum impact and long-term adoption.

7. Be transparent with your employees

This new era of HR is changing the ways leaders engage with the workforce – from the frequency to the platforms used. Make sure you openly communicate the reasons for these changes with your workforce to ensure they are welcomed. Limit the changes caused by new engagement channels by integrating platforms into existing systems and platforms regularly used by employees, or by improving the user experience. For example, ask employees to rate services within the platform itself, or reduce the number of questions in regular engagement surveys.

Volkswagen Australia is a great example of a business that has successfully digitized its EX. The company’s EX management program “Accelerate to Wow,” which is built on the Qualtrics Experience Management Platform, collects and distributes actionable insights to leaders in real-time.

The results of Volkswagen’s digital HR transformation include reduced employee churn, the company’s highest NPS score ever, and improved satisfaction rankings. Other companies transforming their EX on the Qualtrics platform with great effect include Telstra, Ford, Yahoo, and Allianz.

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