Over fifty years ago, Robert Kennedy said in a speech, “There is a Chinese curse that says 'May you live in interesting times.' Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty, but they are also more open to the creative energy of people than any other time in history”.

Kennedy's statement seems even more pertinent today. The events of the last few years have blurred the line between our work and personal lives and catapulted the HR function into the world's spotlight. HR leaders have been instrumental in steering their organizations through the challenges caused by Covid-related restrictions and disruptions. They have had to cope with much uncertainty and are still faced with the unknown but, as Kennedy predicted, tumultuous times can open the doors to greater opportunity and creative developments.

HR is becoming more strategic

Since the world changed dramatically in 2020, the HR function is becoming far more strategic to the business and, in many cases, essential to its very survival. Almost overnight, HR leaders had to become expert advisors on workplace health and safety, employee mental health, the legal and moral minefield of vaccination mandates, litigation and resignations due to 'no jab, no job' policies. HR has supported employees through remote work, having to isolate, furloughs, government orders, and economic fluctuations, and is likely to do so throughout 2022, but hopefully to a lesser degree.

Ulrich Rhomberg, Director at Empleox GmBH , the United VARs member for Germany, says, “In 2021, HR directors and CHROs needed their crisis management skills as never before. The pandemic has posed enormous challenges also for HR and changed established working structures almost overnight. In 2020 and 2021, HR was primarily concerned with developing creative, ad hoc solutions, such as for remote work, and empowering employees and managers to work digitally. This was not just a matter of creating the technical prerequisites, but of initiating a real change. New forms of communication and cooperation had to be established, as well as methods of digital leadership.

“In 2022, it will be increasingly important for HR Directors and CHROs to keep an eye on the effects of continued remote work. Remote work undoubtedly has many advantages, but HR will have to find ways to deal with possible downsides. For example, increasing tensions between white-collar workers who can and are allowed to work from home and blue-collar workers who simply cannot. How can common values be upheld and lived in times of digital togetherness? HR will have to find answers to these questions. Perhaps the most important thing for HR this year — in the face of digitization and social distancing — is to stick to its core competency: Stay human!”.

Employee experience matters: the rise of HXM

Using intelligent technologies, HR departments can capture in-depth employee sentiment data and use it to create individual employee experiences. As the world learns to live with Covid and employees return to the workplace, HR is moving from HCM (Human Capital Management) to HXM (Human Experience Management). SAP created the term HXM to reflect the new style of HR — expanding the focus from organizational processes to include employee experiences.

HCM encompasses methods and technologies for hiring, managing and retaining employees. HXM includes these too, as it has been a common part of HR's role to make the workforce more efficient and streamline hire-to-retire processes. However, HXM takes this a few steps further by including culture, mindset and employee satisfaction. HXM puts employees at the heart of everything an organization does.

Historically, organizations would design the HR processes first, such as hiring or payroll. Of course, they would consider their employees in the design process, but the organization's needs were at the core of HCM. It was more about what the organization wants to do and what they can put in place to encourage their workforce to achieve those aims, such as succession planning and compensation. HXM incorporates much of what was great about HCM and also considers how the employees will feel about the processes and proactively looks to create excellent, ideally personalized, employee experiences.

Intelligent technologies can improve the employee experience

Data-driven decision-making is on the rise as companies use intelligent technologies and analytical techniques to understand the impact of Covid policies on productivity and employee engagement.

The SAP SuccessFactors team released a research-based report for 2021 in which they predicted HR's increasing use of intelligent technologies to improve the employee experience. The report highlighted that information tracking, privacy and data security are likely to become increasingly important to HR over the coming years.

This trend looks set to continue throughout 2022 and beyond as HR concerns itself with balancing the value of information with their workforce's right to privacy. Employees' attitudes and behaviors towards data sharing will be influenced by societal and regional factors as well as their organizational culture. SAP SuccessFactors experts recommend that HR, and their technology partners, take into account these influences and employee preferences during the design and implementation phases of any HR system rollout.

Mebruke Kazaklı, Presales HXM Consultant at Detaysoft, the United VARs member for Turkey, says, “Companies are rapidly adopting digital trends to gain competitive advantage. HR Directors and CHRO professionals have started to adopt an HR approach where employee experience stands out. Detaysoft held a survey in the third quarter of 2021 to find out which intelligent technologies are needed to improve the corporations' HR processes.

“We discovered that one in every two companies (48%) are planning to invest in intelligent technologies and switch to hybrid working (47%). The results of the analysis also showed that 39% of the companies use data to measure employee experience. You can see the full results from the survey in our report The Analysis of New-Gen HR Management and Digitalization Journey

“In 2022 and beyond, we expect that companies will invest in intelligent technologies that cover all processes from hiring to performance and this will allow them to enrich and manage employee experience in a data-driven way. In addition, instead of spending time on operational processes, they will use intelligent technology to focus more on human-oriented HR processes and creating a more integrated employee experience”.

SAP SuccessFactors HXM

Clearly, highly motivated and engaged employees will perform better for the organization than disgruntled or frustrated employees and are more likely to stay. The best way to create great employee experiences is by listening to what they need, acting on that and providing them with the right tools to help them do their jobs efficiently and to continue developing their skills.

The SAP SuccessFactors Human Experience Management (HXM) Suite provides powerful, cloud-based solutions which blend the best of traditional HCM with HXM. The suite enables HR to create engaging, personalized experiences and enjoy the process efficiencies of embedded intelligent technologies such as Machine Learning.

Designed with the end-user in mind, the suite encompasses modules that help employees feel connected, empowered and supported through:

· Learning and development: providing access to relevant, bespoke learning experiences to nurture and engage employees

· Culture and belonging: fostering collaboration, encouraging a feeling of belonging and aligning employee goals, and learning and development plans, with company objectives

· Appreciation and impact: connecting people, helping them find answers and get help and rewarding them in ways that are meaningful to the individual

· Opportunities and growth: providing HR leaders and managers with insights into organizational skills gaps, succession planning and how to best leverage existing employee skills

SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite is a powerful, comprehensive suite of HR products that enable HR to redefine employee experiences, drive business transformation and support their organization in becoming an intelligent enterprise .

In 2022, businesses will increasingly turn to their HR leaders for data-led insights into their workforce and the organization's agility. With meaningful HR data at their fingertips, organizations can build for the future and HR becomes empowered to make informed decisions and take a proactive role in the company's strategy. Therefore, we confidently predict that HXM systems will become an increasing priority for HR leaders as their role continues to develop and change throughout these 'interesting times'.

Are you an SME organization looking to positively impact your organization’s bottom line by improving your employee experience and the efficiency of your HR function across multiple countries? Contact your local United VARs member to find out how SAP SuccessFactors HXM can help you build a more connected, productive and engaged workforce.

About United VARs

United VARs is a global alliance of SAP solution providers for the midmarket. With over 70 members in 100 countries, the alliance serves all types of SAP rollouts and integrations across the world.


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