MUMBAI: It’s the age of customisation. So why leave employees behind?
Customising experiences of employees at organisations, based on their preferences and patterns, are CEEOs — or chief employee experience officers. With technology playing a big role in human resources and reams of data getting generated, large organisations are rushing to appoint CEEOs to curate experiences for employees at the workplace. CEEOs engage with employees differently, largely advocating their cause.
At consumer products major Unilever, leaders spearheading such initiatives are called employee experience makers. At professional services firm EY, a global leader is responsible for the organisation’s efforts to build experiences for each of its over 250,000 people — from recruiting to learning, development & coaching to building a better working world through corporate responsibility and volunteerism efforts. An early mover was Airbnb, which has reportedly dedicated a team for employee experiences, and it looks at every aspect of an employee’s journey from the time he/she is on-boarded. What companies were always doing for customers so far is now being done for employees as well. This is because what’s relevant to customers today is relevant to employees as well.
Unilever CHRO Leena Nair said, “Experience curators are coming up in a big way. When there is so much happening on the technology front, as an employee you want somebody to walk you through the experiences. Experience curators will become important in HR. At Unilever, we have employee experience maker leads for this task.”
EY partner & national leader (workforce advisory) Anurag Malik said the CEEO is one who plays the role of a mini CEO — working across organisational boundaries to own an employee’s journey, designing & delivering distinctive experiences, and bringing alive the organisation, its values and culture in every employee interaction to make that emotional connect. “He champions EY’s commitment to inclusiveness and related diversity issues, and in building and supporting career mobility,” said Malik, adding, “Today, employees are expecting more from their work experience — from workplace flexibility to a renewed sense of purpose. In our experience, creating inspirational employee experiences requires business leaders to take an elevated perspective beyond functional and operational metrics and take actions cutting across functional and business unit boundaries.”
SHRM India associate director (knowledge & advisory) Dedeepya Ajith John said since companies have moved away from the traditional appraisal process and are empowering managers/employees to have real-time insights into their workforce performance, many organisations have taken to hiring people into the role of ‘employee engagement officer’ or ‘employee experience curator’ or ‘social collaboration manager’. “This person is responsible to bridge the link between employees and their managers, and continuously analyse the organisational health and engagement levels. Ensuring high levels of internal engagement and means to achieve it is the key role of this person,” said Dedeepya.
Such efforts are aimed at creating a culture that builds high-performing teams that deliver exceptional client service, while building lifelong relationships with people. Specialist staffing firm Xpheno’s co-founder Kamal Karanth connects the trend to millennials. “The reality is companies are experiencing an influx of millennials and they are rebranding HR functions like OD (organisational development) or OB (organisational behaviour), which sound so scary that some amount of repackaging of roles is happening. The learning & development/training roles are rebranded as experience, fun roles. Given that tech has overtaken part of the training role, people in HR feel the need to compensate for the lack of touch in the form of experience to employees,” said Karanth.