As the workplace continues to evolve and with competing pressures on HR professionals – layoffs, recession, hybrid/remote/in-office debates, and more – focusing on the employee experience has never mattered more. And it’s also never been easier to do.
Don’t be stuck being the tactical HR leader forever – spending all of your time tackling “personnel” issues and putting out everyone else’s fires. Or worse, focused on “employee engagement” and doing the same things you’ve done year after year.
Instead, implement these 4 actions in the next month and start shifting your company’s culture and defining your employee experience – which includes your key talent’s engagement factors – without adding any more stress to your full HR plate.
The key here, is to start incorporating these actions into your daily HR practice. Don’t worry about the big macro company-level employee experience yet, instead, these steps will get you started (and you don’t need any high-level sign-offs, budget line items, or permission!).
💥 The Employee Experience Starts with HR – and your daily actions drive more engagement than worrying about the top-down employee experience. 💥
There are no quick fixes or EX hacks in this issue. Just proven tactics that will help you start changing the way you own HR – which will greatly impact the way your company views the team’s capabilities. By doing so, you’ll start incorporating EX principles as part of your leadership journey, by:
- Reframing each activity
- Assigning items into buckets
- Determine your priorities
- Continue, expand, practice
Here’s your action plan for the next 30 days. Let’s dive in!
1. Reframe each activity 🖽
The biggest hurdle in transitioning to an employee experience model for most HR leaders, is a mindset shift to view different HR activities, projects, communications, etc. through the lens of your employee, first.
It’s funny to even consider this, as we think about our employees all the time, right? But if you’ve been in HR for more than five years, the way we consider HR activities, is from the company’s perspective (or HR’s perspective) – first.
What does the company need our employees to do? This policy is here to protect the company. Performance reviews help the company gauge how employees are performing to meet our goals. And so on.
We’ve been “programmed” to think of the company-first in a more compliance-based or personnel-focused environment.
But by simply reframing each HR activity before you move forward, to shift from the company or HR-first perspective – to one through how your employees will be impacted by it, will greatly advance your EX strategy.
Before you hit send, pause and define why this activity is important to your employee – how it will impact their life and/or career.
Then, remove all HR speak – no one cares why HR needs them to complete something, they care about how it will help or hurt them. So the language you use needs to be relevant and free of our internal jargon and fluff. Keep it focused and direct.
2. Assign HR items to a bucket 🪣
Once you’ve shifted to an employee-first mindset, start categorizing the HR activities, programs, campaigns, questions, feedback, etc. into “buckets.” In other words, capture the incoming or “in-bound” information you get from your leaders and employees, into different topics.
Some bucket topics to consider include:
- Topic categories (compliance, benefits, L&D, etc.)
- SOP alignment
- Difficulty level/effort needed by you or the employee
- Cadence of the activity – annual, quarterly, etc.
- Effort needed by you or the employee
Understanding what your employees are thinking about and what they care about enough to email/call/slack you about, means there is an opportunity for improvement and reinforcing a positive employee experience.
3. Determine your priorities ✅
In HR, it can seem like everything is a fire drill and urgent (it’s not!), but because most of us haven’t determined the true priorities (as they relate to the company’s annual goals), we tackle things as they come. When you’re EX-focused, it’s about the broader goal/vision first – then we tackle items.
- Does this move the company closer to achieving our annual goals?
- Can you clearly connect this to someone’s priority list (C-suite, your boss’s, your personal goals, etc.)?
- Is this a rote activity/question? (If so, can you consider automating it in the future?)
4. Continue and practice 🔁
Steps 1 – 3 are a start – a great one, especially if EX is new to you. It will help you pause (for a few seconds!), and correlate action to the employee’s experience and your company’s overall goals. Remember: it’s a new skill, so it will feel difficult and maybe like you’re “wasting time” or not getting “as much done.”
This process will speed up as you practice – and then you can start adding in more action-driven steps along the EX path.
The key here, is to incorporate this into your HR practice – so that it becomes part of what you do – not something special or a once-a-year activity where you focus on “culture building.”
This helps you build a new habit, a new reframe about how you deliver great HR. It’s a start, but it’s also sustainable and scaleable. Well, that’s it for today!
- Reframe each HR activity
- Assign HR items into buckets
- Determine your priorities
- Continue and practice
Four short steps, but something that will greatly change the way you deliver HR.