Article: 'Employee experience bolsters a company’s culture'

Employee Relations

'Employee experience bolsters a company’s culture'

In an exclusive conversation with People Matters, Piyanuch Limapornvanitch, Chief People Officer, Pomelo Fashion talks about how employers can leverage AI and next-gen technologies to fuel differentiated employee experiences.
'Employee experience bolsters a company’s culture'

Piyanuch Limapornvanitch is Chief People Officer at Pomelo Fashion, one of Asia's leading omnichannel fashion brand. She currently oversees Pomelo's global human resources efforts, including its HR operations, talent acquisition, and employee experience. Before joining Pomelo, Piyanuch led the HR division in Thailand at Accenture, spearheading learning initiatives across Southeast Asia.

Here are the excerpts of the interview.

Why made EX become a priority for business leaders across the world?

Employee experience bolsters a much stronger company culture, with each complementing the other. More and more organizations are recognizing people as their greatest assets, and additional investment is being placed in employee experience.

Business leaders are also realizing the benefits that a great employee experience can have on recruitment, employee engagement, and the company's bottom line.

How do you take care of the 'employee experience' factor in your company? 

While HR owns the employee experience, it is the responsibility of everyone in the organization to create great employee experiences. At Pomelo, we will be focusing on driving a culture of creativity and innovation. As a young organization with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds, we will use this advantage to create a stronger culture and to drive performance. We will also be working on redefining our core values to help employees understand the Pomelo culture better.

How do you measure the return on investment for your employee experience initiative? 

Improving employee experience can require a substantial number of hours, money, and effort. That is why most organizations need more practical justifications to invest in enhancing the employee experience.

One way to determine the return on investment for employee experience is to use metrics that are concrete and easily measurable. This includes employee retention rate, productivity level, customer satisfaction, and company's profitability.

However, it is important to focus on an employee-centric design rather than a process-centric design. This would mean considering more qualitative metrics to determine the return on investment, such as the skills that employees are able to gain.

To create a robust career path, companies need to look at shaping tailored career journeys. This can be achieved by implementing personalized learning and development, which corresponds to their job level, mentorship programs, and workshops. By helping employees develop their skills, companies are able to boost their productivity as well.

Are you leveraging technologies such as AI to enhance EX at your organization? 

With AI and next-gen technologies, employers will be able to analyze and better understand their employees' needs for a fulfilling and engaging career experience.

Creating high functioning workforces begins with optimizing engagement across the entire employee lifecycle. Companies can leverage AI tech to individualize the employee lifecycle and apply sentiment analysis to understand employee work patterns better.

It is essential to customize learning for better learner-experience and job performance that can be enabled by AI-based learning recommendations. AI tools will also suggest career paths and will help employees take career planning in their own hands. 

Employers can look at leveraging tech to improve the design of corporate office spaces and optimize space utilization to cater to diverse job functions.

It is imperative to institutionalize technologies that align with the Future of Work, enabling remote and full-time office employees to co-work and co-perform.

At Pomelo, we have built our own tools as well as in-house platforms to tailor to the company's needs, such as our supply chain platform, Henry. As we begin to focus on HR and the needs of our employees, I expect that we'll develop similar tools in-house to address our HR needs as well.

What are some of the biggest pitfalls you see organizations making when executing their employee experience strategy? 

The underlying issue is that most companies do not create processes that are tailored to their employees. Some other common pitfalls include: 

  • Soliciting employee feedback and not acting on it
  • Analyzing results but not communicating it to staff members
  • Limiting employee involvement in the solution process
  • Making big promises to address all engagement issues, but then under-delivering
  • Not measuring impacts and levels of engagement to assess progress

What's the future of employee experience? Where do you see the EX five years down the line?

Companies will start placing as much emphasis on employee experience as customer experience. Employee experience will not just sit with HR. It will be a wider organizational effort that will include C-suite members across different functions, as well as workplace design teams, to look at employee experience more holistically.

Employee experience has to be more tailored as flexible and remote working becomes mainstream. There will be a need to cater to new ways of working. Values will also matter more than ever before. Organizations that make their values clear and uphold them boldly will have more chances of retaining key talent as employee experience and employee engagement will be intrinsically tied to how much they feel those values are understood and represented.

Employees should also be involved in designing their own employee experience - an area to think about would be customizing their own benefits based on what they need. Employee experience is the next frontier in business innovation, and companies that can create the best, most attractive workplace culture will garner the top talent and out-perform their competition.

Who are the major stakeholders when it comes to ensuring employee experience in an organization? Is it the sole responsibility of HR to ensure EX?

In order to create an integrated and holistic experience for all employees, the onus for employee experience lies in the entire organization. HR should work closely together with senior leadership to build a culture that people will love, and the company's leadership should champion employee experience by embodying the company culture. The HR team can also actively engage employees by listening to them, monitoring their sentiments, and providing feedback to the leadership.

At the same time, managers can also empower their employees to engage in regular dialogue and share their ideas. The rest of the employees can do their part by sharing their ideas and making sure their voices are heard.

How can companies win the war for talent by giving employees the workspaces they want, the tools they need, and a culture they can celebrate?

The best talent today expect more than just great benefits and cool office perks. They prefer companies that embrace advanced technologies to make work simpler, faster, and better.

Companies that empower employees to chart a clear career progression path, supported by robust employee awards, benefits, and recognition systems, will also be seen as more attractive. When it comes to internal communications and performance reviews, companies can look at implementing self-service portals, which will give employees access to the information they need and simplifying HR processes so that both managers and employees can make informed decisions. 

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Topics: Employee Relations, #ResetwithTech, #COVID-19

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