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During 2020, many conversations I have had with colleagues and people in my network have centered around three topics—how can individuals’ purpose be bought closer to the world of work, how can the EX be adapted to reflect the world of work following the pandemic and how can organizations really make a difference on increasing diversity, embedding inclusion, and embracing belonging.
Remind me what is purpose again?
As the focus on company culture, company mission and company visions have evolved, there has also been a move for companies to align to and promote their purpose, which fundamentally answers the question, “Why does our Company Exist?”. And some companies have been successful in defining their purpose, when it is authentic, is the basis for decision making and genuine, while others have used the term Company ‘purpose’ to increase sales and drive marketing. The good thing is those companies who are authentic do thrive in terms of their Customers, employees, and purpose.
However, what about their employees’ individual purpose? There are various ways for employees to consider and define their purpose, and overall, it can be outlined by them finding the magic spot between the four questions below.
What do I enjoy and am passionate about?
What am I good at?
What does the world need?
What can I get paid for?
And during 2020 and into 2021, many people started asking themselves these questions as, well, we did have some time inside to self-reflect. So, wouldn’t it be wonderful if as well as companies having a purpose, employees were able to also align and focus on their own purpose, while working for said company. Imagine the engagement, energy and exciting that would be solicited every day. And the awesome thing is, over time companies who are authentic keep their people, their Customers and continue to excel. Yet, we don’t consider aligning employees’ purpose when developing, onboarding, promoting, or recruiting them.
What about EX—doesn’t that cover purpose?
EX does look at the Employee Journey, and the key moments that matter to ensure that their experience with a company is fulfilling. While there may be a psychological contract, it is still from the perspective of the companies’ purpose (if they have one), brand and products. Many companies frame EX around their own parameters, and not from the mind or viewpoint of the employees, and hence the question of what, where and how their purpose for existing does not normally come up. Yet, purpose can be one of the strongest drivers of performance if it aligns with an employee’s professional persona.
What about DI&B then?
Having more balanced diversity, inclusion which is treated as a ‘norm’ and not just a buzzword, and employees having true physiological safety and feeling of belonging is not achieved by a training course.
It comes from the company and its people believing in the positive outcomes of integrating DI&B into its day-to-day ethos and incorporating it into the companies’ purpose and into the Employee journey. It also comes from the behaviors and mindset of the Employee experience. This does involve considering personal purpose alignment when recruiting, and from a cultural perspective, aligning your psychological contract to psychological safety. All this is what the integrated employee experience could be.
And this is where I think future HR Tech can help. Having touch points (narrative & numerical) on the employee journey to embed, illustrate and measure the integrated employee experience, which includes recruiting, onboarding, rewards, growth, leadership, diversity and inclusion, environmental design and off-boarding is needed.
But what about HR Tech then?
We currently have limited HR Tech which works in the same way as non-HR Tech. Outside of work, tech tells us what products to buy based on buying habits and what other people ‘like us’ are buying. We are also advised what movies to watch based on our behaviors. There are also apps which remind us to learn a language, meditate, or move (if we’ve been static for too long) based on notifications and sensors.
So wouldn’t be great if the same tech could be used for HR to promote the names of specific employees to recruiting managers, who would fit for roles which have just become vacant, while also taking account of levels of diversity in that job family. Or HR Tech which incorporates key elements of an employee’s purpose into their career and development paths, to ensure it remains in the line of sight and flourishes. Or even better, indicates when companies are below a threshold of diversity and inclusion targets, such as percentage of diversity in job families alongside length of service in the same roles – it’s great that the percentage of diversity goes up, however people don’t stay in those roles then it is not having a sustainable impact.
Just imagine – you access your HR Tech, and there is a little red dot on an app highlighting a potential risk because the number of people in a certain role is nearing your minimum benchmark. And because your employees can give instant feedback on their integrated employee experience, you can find out why using data and narrative data.
HR Tech seems to have fallen behind tech in other arenas. We can all think about examples of mass used tech we consume as Customers, in areas such as banking, eating, travelling, socializing, listening to music and of course even dating. And yet when we walk through the doors into work (figuratively speaking due to mass working from anywhere but the office currently), the HR Tech we experience does not give us the same user experience. So, I truly believe HR Tech can provide an integrated employee experience, and it just needs to treat employees in the same we Customers are treated.
And finally, I know there is some HR Tech which does some of this, and if you know of more, do get in touch as I would love to find out more about it. And if you or one of your contacts has an awesome integrated employee experience in place, where you align employees’ purpose, DI&B into your employee experience, I am in awe and like to hear about it.