Creating a better employee experience with technology – Synergics and Unit4 HCM
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Creating a better employee experience with technology – Synergics and Unit4 HCM

Synergics are a company after our own heart. They specialize in helping companies to digitally transform through the cloud. And since our missions are so closely aligned, we’re very lucky to count them among our customers and to be helping them to help others to take full advantage of the technology available to modern organizations.

Synergics HR Lead Sien Knapen recently joined the HR Leaders podcast to talk about her experience helping to shape the company’s HR function from scratch – and how she took the opportunity presented by COVID-19 to re-imagine the employee experience. She also took some time to walk through how she and the organization are making use of the Unit4 HCM suite to create and map new frameworks with which they facilitate this reshaping of their peoples’ experience.

Here’s some of our favourite learnings from the conversation:

Actually flicking the switch on a new platform is the easy part

Simply buying a tool to handle your HCM processes is not the complicated part. The complicated part is mapping the kind of HR experience and employee experience that you want your people to encounter in your company – and then finding the tools that will help you to do this. It’s also worth remembering that the journey of identifying and developing and refining processes is an ongoing one – HR is not something that will ever be “solved.” It is part of the organization that must be constantly refined as new lessons are learned.

Having an employee journey mapped out doesn’t mean you have an employee journey

All too often, the “employee journey” is a journey no employee has ever taken. Even though Synergic mapped their employee journey in 6 months, after 3 years they are only now beginning to see the basic processes needed to achieve it finally taking root and effect in the business.

After mapping the journey within the tools you’re using – which is actually the easiest part – to ensure the journey becomes embedded requires breaking it down into multiple blocks. These blocks must then be “built out” by breaking them down into individual processes in order to create the experience in reality, rather than just in theory.

Following this kind of approach requires a tool that can navigate through each block of the employee journey – with truly end-to-end capabilities, which can help you to manage each individual process and make logs of every interaction your people have with the company from and HR perspective.

Especially in difficult times – listen hard to make sure you’re getting the basics right

As well as personally having a conversation with each employee every month to keep her ear to the ground, Sien’s team uses our solution to conduct regular engagement pulses to make sure everyone in the company is engaged and happy.

Doing this during the COVID crisis allowed the company to identify and remediate a key weakness – their onboarding strategy. This realization not only enabled them to fix one of the key pillars of employee experience but to create a logical starting point for transforming the employee experience. Allowing them to begin the process of architecting a 6-month onboarding process that also incorporates a period of learning – all, incidentally, managed by our tool.

Doing the basics badly costs a lot of money

What the ability to track opinions through engagement pulses and regular conversations has shown Synergics is that there are a handful of events that shape an employee’s experience more than just about anything else - including the hiring and onboarding processes. Having the tools and processes in place to make sure these are well handled pays dividends down the road by ensuring a higher level of starting engagement and a solid first impression of the business.

Technology supports engagement – it doesn’t replace it

Your HCM tools are there to help you measure and understand how your people feel about their jobs, the company, and their colleagues. Tools like Unit4 HCM allow you to do this regularly and effectively through structures like engagement pulses – but these shouldn’t be taken as a substitute for the hard work of actual engagement with people.

In fact, listening without acting can often be much more damaging than not listening at all. When you don’t listen to a person, they’ll probably be frustrated with you. If you listen to them but don’t actually act on what they tell you, they’re likely to be furious, and this will actively damage the relationship you have with them.

Actually engaging with your people – and ensuring they remain engaged – means actually maintaining a dialogue with them. This requires HR to help empower team leaders to work through both formal and informal channels (whether that’s recorded HR conversations, a weekly 1-to-1 with each team member over coffee, or something else entirely.) And it means being able to clearly communicate the insights you’ve garnered back to your people and let them know how you’re acting upon them.

At Synergics, this data is shared by the HR team with the entire company at regular intervals along with some information on how the business and HR will handle the necessary changes when things aren’t going as planned. People are also kept regularly informed about new HR initiatives and how they’ve impacted engagement pulse scores before, during, and after implementation.

If you’re looking to transform your own processes…

Be open and keep communications channels open – even when things aren’t going as planned. People generally don’t mind when you don’t get changes right first time. However, what will discourage them – and undo much of the work you’re trying to do by creating a more engaging employee experience – is not being completely truthful with them about stumbling blocks.

Beyond this, do your best to be ambitious. It’s been traditional to keep HR on a very short leash – worrying mostly about compliance and procedure. But there are so many things that new philosophies and technologies are allowing us to do to transform people experience – and it’s worth taking the bull by the horns and making the transformation a bold one.

Like what you’re hearing?

You can listen to the entire recording of HR Leaders’ conversation with Sien here, and check out everything that Unit4 HCM is capable of in bolstering your employee experience transformation - click here to request a demo.