Anne Allen, Director of People Experience at Xero, explains why HR need to drop the word ‘resource’ and increase the focus on ‘people experience’.
Human beings are more than a ‘resource’
Companies often cite people as their most valuable asset, yet don’t take a people-centric approach when it comes to planning and organising for success. To think of humans simply as a resource indicates a lack of understanding of the power of engaging an individual’s self-determination and actualisation in work.
The pace and complexity of work means a broader, more holistic approach is essential to success; an organisation needs to work with people to reach their full potential in a sustained way that will ultimately win through. Recognising that the minimum provision in terms of human resource management just won’t cut it anymore, many organisations are opting for working with a more appropriately named People Experience team.
‘People Experience’ – what’s the difference?
In contrast to a Human Resources function, a People Experience Team is much more about engaging and inspiring individuals in their place of work and appealing to them as discerning
individuals who make active choices about what they’ll do, when and where they’ll do it and for whom. There’s no compulsion – only choice – which means the most successful companies will have to have a deep and meaningful look at their value proposition to appeal to the best.
Don’t just look at the perks
Don’t mistake a People Experience team as simply an engine for choosing employee perks such as ping pong tables or nap pods. While perks are certainly part of a People Experience team’s scope, in many instances the team is tasked with a broad range of programmes and initiatives. The team will finesse many employee engagement factors and ways in which working for a particular company can be positioned more as a life-choice rather than simply a means to pay the bills.
A People Experience team also develops and implements the organisation’s people strategy, which includes and recognises components such as the psychology of work, physical, mental and financial well-being, meaning, purpose and positive relationships as critical. The stakes are high.
Develop your talent pipeline
A people strategy also means maintaining a focus on succession planning and talent pipelining where emerging talents within the business are highlighted as potential future leaders and they are supported with development opportunities. This needs to not only align with individual career goals but also prepare the organisation for contingencies. Clearly, a clever and sophisticated balancing act needs to be pulled off!
The leader of a People Experience team needs to have a designation and a reporting line that puts them at the executive table to ensure the plan is executed. A people strategy that not only aligns with business strategy, but is six months ahead of the business, sets the organisation up for scale and ongoing success.
The companies that understand how instrumental their people are to their success are some of the most successful in the world. Google, who has held a place on Fortune’s ‘100 Best Places to Work’ for more than a decade – and been listed at the top for half of that time – provides its people with the best experience possible. The organisation uses data to drive every people decision it makes, from how many interviews a job applicant should go through to who is in line for a promotion.
Using Employee Engagement Tools
Many People Experience teams are using employee engagement tools like Officevibe to measure metrics such as happiness, relationships with managers and colleagues as well as wellness, enabling them to make improvements and adjustments where necessary.
Only with a team focussing on people’s experience within the business and leading innovation on all things people related, can an organisation attract the best people and empower them to do the best work of their lives and to love and grow their careers.