In HR, Employee Experience (EX) is the New Black. Everyone’s talking about increasing employee engagement, retention, and productivity with rewarding emotional experiences.
But smart CHROs are doing more than talking. They’re taking a more strategic approach by organizing cross-functional teams dedicated to putting employee experience at the center of their people strategy. They know that optimizing the employee experience requires new capabilities and skill sets—and maybe even shaking up the traditional HR organization altogether.
As a result, a cadre of new roles is emerging in HR and IT departments (or new Employee Experience functions) focused exclusively on delivering stellar employee experiences.
Which of these new roles is your organization considering?
As employee experience becomes more central to corporate strategy, companies are reconsidering how to organize teams. This is creating new or redefined leadership positions. These include:
- Chief Employee Experience Officer (CEEO)/Director of Employee Experience. This role focuses on creating and maintaining a work environment that engages and satisfies employees, touching on every aspect of the employee experience. The CEEO’s role is broader in scope than a traditional HR leadership role. It intersects with compensation, benefits, office technology, real estate, community involvement and more.
- Some CEEOs might operate within the HR department, while more senior CEEOs may even oversee HR, IT, real estate, and other employee-directed departments. (Learn more about creating cross-functional alliances to drive employee experience by downloading our white paper, Top 5 Ways HR and IT Can Partner on Delivering Great Employee Experiences
- Head of Employee Experience in the IT department. This person interacts regularly with other department leaders. His or her primary goal is to ensure that all digital initiatives align with corporate values and top-level goals, as well as employee needs.
- For example, organizations require tools and systems that facilitate key points in the employee journey, such as onboarding and development planning. A chief of employee experience in IT ensures that these employee-facing technologies have all key features and functionality, but also have the seamless interface that employees now expect.
- Director of People Analytics. This is a strategic role that examines every element of the employee lifecycle—including recruitment, engagement, development, diversity, succession planning, and retention—with the goal of maximizing the organization’s talent investments.
- Jeremy Welland, Global Head of People Analytics at PayPal, for example, oversees three primary functions: maintaining a data warehouse, which aggregates information from multiple employee-facing transactional systems; mining that data for business intelligence reporting for the CHRO and line-of-business heads; and developing predictive statistical analysis and modeling to anticipate the company’s future needs.
- Chief Transformation Officer (CTO). Transformation is often thought of as a process with a beginning, middle and end. But in a world of accelerated change, only the nimble survive and transformation is consistent and integrated into the business. The CTO is responsible for ensuring that organizational transformation delivers on its promises and remains aligned with the overarching business strategy. This cross-functional role orchestrates a complex process that involves a variety of individual initiatives—including employee experience—so the organization can successfully respond to new disruptions and stay ahead of the competition.
No less important than the new leadership positions are the supporting roles that bring the new skills needed for a successful employee experience program. Some, such as HRIS specialist (human resource information management systems), may represent a realignment of traditional roles, while others may be entirely new. These include:
- Data Scientist. The most effective employee experience initiatives leverage data to measure the effectiveness of the solutions they provide and identify where to improve. Data scientists focused on employee experience are searching for frustration or unmet needs as they sift through multiple inputs that convey how employees are interfacing with the workplace.
- For example, Welland describes a process that progresses from “diagnostic to the predictive to prescriptive” to improve employee experience at Paypal. His team begins by describing the characteristics of key talent, such as high-potential and high-performing employees or those in critical roles who would be difficult to replace. Then they analyze how elements of employee experience add to or subtract from the groups’ engagement and retention levels. Finally, they use this analysis to create programs that help the company support these key talent pools and provide the experience they need to thrive.
- Director of HR Shared Services. The scope of HR shared services has evolved well beyond routine transactional activities. This role oversees the complex workflows required to deliver service to workers at key moments in their employee journey. In fact, the HR shared services model has become the primary provider of key employee experiences, such as onboarding, employee lifecycle processing, personal data maintenance and general inquiry/issue resolution.
- These services are delivered by an employee experience platform that aggregates multiple digital channels that these workflows require into a single seamless interface. The platform also integrates human channels, such as voice and chat. (Learn more about HR Shared Services by downloading our white paper, How Emerging Technologies Will Power the Future of HR Shared Services.)
- HRIS Specialist. This role is responsible for implementing and maintaining human resource information management systems (HRIS) that have long been the foundation of HR technology. This role has been evolving recently as HR organizations add new, cloud-based applications to their core HRIS technology. While these best-of-breed applications offer greater capabilities, HRIS specialists will be increasingly challenged to ensure security and integration, as well as maintaining a streamlined user interface for employees.
- HR or IT App Developer. Larger enterprises may find the need to create their own employee-facing applications, so they are building HR technology teams focused on architecting HR software, applications, and systems that can be accessed from multiple devices. The key to success here will be ensuring that these new apps provide value for employees and integrate well with one another as well as the HRIS.
- Employee Experience Platform Owner. This role manages the employee experience platform, delivering services to employees. It’s a hybrid role that requires expertise in both IT and HR, and may fall within either department. (To learn more, read Josh Bersin’s white paper, The Employee Experience Platform Market Has Arrived.)
Employee experience represents a new paradigm in the employee-employer relationship—one that many organizations are embracing as a strategic competitive advantage. Siloed technology and “same old” roles and skills are no longer enough. CHROs must reimagine their function and discover new ways they can collaborate with their IT colleagues to deliver the easy and engaging experiences that employees crave.
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