Anne Allen: Why every HR team needs to be replaced by a “People Experience” team

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.

 So 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.

Also, 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.

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.

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.

3 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. I agree fully. Excellent article. Too often only lip service is paid to the “Our People are our most Valued asset”…when in fact , in some organizations, people are treated (and disposed of) worse than technical or material assets…

  2. Sadly, this demonstrates popular opinion of the day which has little real world value in itself. Of course human assets are critical and deserve to be treated with respect, but no matter how well they are treated or managed there are many who need tight controls and remediation if they have any hope of succeeding in their role. This tends to result in those people feeling they are being treated ‘badly’ when actually they are simply being managed to an outcome needed to fulfil their role and the company’s investment in them. Not everyone responds effectively from a performance perspective to one style of more ‘liberal’ management.

  3. Excellent article and great call for HR to be more business and commercial in its approach to organisations growth.
    My issue is simple – “People Experience” for me this smack of Disney “Customer Experience”. It hints at enjoyment, fun and having a “great experience”. If we what to be taken seriously and have a seat at the table we must come up with a better title for what we (HR) contribute and can contribute to organisations.
    Lets have the debate before we settle on the catchy title!
    Ideas please…

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