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Employee experience more than a HR problem

Employee experience (EX) strategies become more effective with a holistic approach, rather than just limiting them to a HR responsibility, according to Laura Cole, MD and head of HR for UK and Europe at Standard Chartered bank.

Speaking at the Unleash World 2022 HR conference, Cole said businesses often make the mistake of viewing EX solely as an HR function.

She said: "Often when we think EX we think that HR is responsible for that. Actually, where we've had our biggest success has been where we thought about that the experience end to end. That particularly involved property and technology departments.

"The best example is the Future Workplace Now programme that we rolled out, which was hybrid working across the organisation. We really thought about that experience in the context of which touch points that property, tech and HR would be accountable for. It just made it a much more holistic end-to-end experience."

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The volume of data surrounding EX can be daunting when tackling it for the first time, Cole added.

She said: "Start small; if you have data, such as annual engagement surveys, go out and talk to colleagues, find out the concerns of your employees and use that to craft your problem statement. Then you can iterate solutions as you go and test those employees.

"Sometimes people can feel that it's so overwhelming to try and broach this big thing of employee experience, but breaking it down into smaller chunks can be really helpful as well."

Moving forward, Cole said mentoring may be a facet of EX that undergoes significant changes, particularly as businesses welcome younger employees into the workforce.

"Over the last couple years, there's been quite a lot around reverse mentoring, but we see that being a real shift from an employee experience perspective.

"The key challenges we're seeing are with coming into the workforce. There's this gap where [new starters] are wanting to come into the office; they're starting their career and perhaps some of the people that traditionally might have mentored them, aren't always in the office as much as they used to be. There's got to be something a bit more deliberate about how we support those individuals."

Cole added social media could form a bigger part of EX strategies in the future.

"We've seen some really interesting trends emerge this year with things like quiet quitting and the great resignation - some of those came from viral TikTok videos.

"Organisations need to think differently about how different employees or future employees would engage with content, and perhaps get on the front foot in terms of predicting perhaps some of those trends as well."