Earlier this year, we learned about the challenges organizations are facing as they think differently about employee experience and what that means for overall business success. During the ASUGFORWARD virtual event focused on employee experience and human resources, we heard from various thought leaders and business users within the HR space about how technology is playing a pivotal role in adapting to change and driving the conversation for what the space will look like in the future.
“One year ago, we made a bold claim with the introduction of HXM as a new category,” Popelka noted. “It signaled a shift from treating people as company assets to rightly placing them at the center of business. Our people determine whether we succeed or fail. The experiences we deliver, and how we address the moments that matter for every individual, impacts business growth and how quickly an organization adapts to change.”
This year’s theme doubled down on that experience and put it at the front and center of everything SAP is working on in the HR space.
How the Employee Experience Affects an Organization’s Success
Nearly every organization—large or small—has had to adjust how its workforce functions and produces during COVID-19. Most have thought about how these changes will affect not just current employee productivity, but also how they will play into future operations. Using Qualtrics, ASUG surveyed its members to gauge productivity and employee morale during the height of the pandemic and found that by and large, the workforce remained extremely productive while working remotely. Many organizations, including ASUG, were actively measuring employee sentiment as they adopted new processes suitable for this work environment.
According to the Thrive XM Index 2020 Report, it turns out those organizations that put a heavy focus on employee experience were not only productive, but they in fact grew revenue on average by 16% year over year.
“What we learned from our research—and in working with many of you as you support your people—is that experience wins,” Popelka said. “We need to deliver an experience every day that brings out the best in your employees and creates a work environment that feels less like work and more like purpose, and where people have the tools that they need to get their jobs done.”
SAP HXM Delivers Tools to Deliver an Employee Experience
During the morning and afternoon keynotes, SAP made several announcements on new product innovations, as well as partnerships to help drive the HXM platform’s success. Also up for discussion was if the recent Qualtrics IPO announcement will have any effect on the SAP SuccessFactors road map.
“Many of you have asked about the Qualtrics IPO,” Popelka commented. “It does not change the commitment to our strategic partnership, delivering HXM to all of you.” She added, “We can’t ignore the power of technology to keep business moving forward. In recent months, we’ve used technology to connect people across the globe and access the data and insights that we as leaders need to make fast and intelligent decisions. As HXM continues to guide everything we do from our reimagined user experiences to our product innovation, we’ve made it our mission to make technology work for humans and not the other way around.”
SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite Gets an Update for Now and the Future
Discussing product development for SAP SuccessFactors was Amy Wilson, SVP of products and design. “One of the things I am frequently asked is if our product strategy has changed given the extreme global change in the past eight months. I’ve also been asked if human experience management is still even relevant.” Wilson assured attendees that HXM has remained a constant despite all these shifts, and is in fact more relevant than ever before, albeit differently relevant. “It has gone from being about employee retention to mission-critical action,” she said.
As SAP continues to deliver on its vision for HXM, the company is also working on uncovering new ways to bring value in the current HR landscape. Wilson and her team unveiled what’s in store for the November 2020 release of SAP SuccessFactors, including a new homepage. “The new homepage is a vital entry point into SuccessFactors,” Wilson said. Although the new homepage provides a better user experience, she noted that the employee experience doesn't begin an end with just HR activities. “Consider everything that goes on in an employee's work life, from learning and development, to daily tasks between catching up on emails. The experience can feel fragmented and jarring,” she said.
SAP Work Zone for HR is the latest product that will provide a unified digital and personalized workplace experience. Each employee gets personalized access to all applications, guided experiences and processes, knowledge base, collaboration workspaces, training, and communications through a single home page. “What excites me about SAP Work Zone for HR,” Wilson said, “is that you can extend and brand it beyond SAP SuccessFactors and create workflows spanning multiple products and experiences. Custom content and collaboration can also be baked directly in for a fully immersive and seamless portal for your teams and organization—truly the experience for an intelligent enterprise.”
But beyond just the technology and tools, organizations need to provide a work environment that allows for employees to come as their whole selves.
SAP Introduces a Whole-Self Work Experience
SAP first introduced Business Beyond Bias in 2016. “We wanted to help SAP customers eliminate inherent biases in their workplace practices,” Popelka said. “We thought about everything from recruiting and hiring to developing, growing, and compensating their people.” Since its introduction nearly four years ago, the technology within SAP SuccessFactors has helped HR professionals eliminate inherent bias around age, race and ethnicity, disability, and LGBTQ+ communities. “But this is only part of the solution,” Popelka said. “Lasting change requires strong leadership with a clear and actionable point of view, a culture with core values of learning and transparency, and a willingness to listen and discuss the issues, even when it's uncomfortable.”
SAP has made a commitment to double the representation of Black and African American employees in the U.S. within three years. It has also established a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) council within the SAP SuccessFactors organization. And, it has also initialized a series of focused DE&I conversations with customers to look at how the software company uses technology to get to the root of the problem.
“The last eight months have surprised me with how creative you all have been with getting the most out of SAP SuccessFactors,” Wilson said. “We are all deeply motivated to do more for you and to co-create with you this vision together. The more we can enable people to bring their whole self to work, and to maximize on what experience truly entails for the individual and optimize their ability to work and learn, the higher an organization's chances will be to emerge from challenges with resilience.”