Spokesperson: Deon Smit, Western Cape Chairperson of the South African Reward Association
The mismatch between employees’ experience in the workplace and outside of it can contribute to a higher level of disengagement and unhappiness.
A recent Gartner survey indicated that only 29% of employees feel their human resource (HR) department really understands their needs.
Deon Smit, Western Cape Chairperson of the South African Reward Association (SARA), agrees and says HR departments are not “tapping into the full customer experience” in the workplace.
Employees are used to getting fast, instant responses as consumers or customers, but in the workplace, they are confronted with many policies that are obstacles and manual processes that impact the employee experience.
The customer-centric HR department
“It comes back to having a customer-centric HR department. Employees are our clients and we have to facilitate the customer experience.”
Smit says employees want to work in an environment where they feel wanted, valued and where they can “buy into” the purpose of the company.
Employees associate with “why” the company does something rather than with “what” the company does as Simon Sinek famously says.
“Three key elements which impact an employee’s experience in the workplace are the culture of the company, the employee value proposition and overall employee engagement levels.”
Smit says that in many instances companies do what they think their employees want, instead of taking a step back to listen to what it is that they need.
That is why focus groups, engagement surveys and social media analytics help one to understand that employee sentiments are about a wide range of topics, including the economy, politics and their own sense of security in the workplace.
“We have this information, but we do not sufficiently make the link to form a comprehensive understanding of the overall picture, which can lead to better decisions being made.”
Well-designed reward structures and impact on employee experience
Smit says reward structures are more than simply the salary package of an employee and will have a significant impact on the employee experience.
Well-designed reward structures:
In the absence of proper information, employees will make their own assumptions and fill in the gaps. If HR leaders control the narrative by offering enough information about how remuneration structures are set up, it will reduce the spread of misinformation and improve the employee experience.
What should we be focusing on?
HR departments need to focus on using new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning - having bots answer questions for employees around remuneration and benefits that are available in an instant and at any time an employee wants to access the information.
This will not only improve the employee experience, but increase the capacity of HR departments.
Smit says employees’ experience is impacted by five key factors:
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