June 15, 2021 Continuous Improvement, HCM Support, HCM Technology

Transforming the Employee Experience

The collective desire for an enhanced employee experience is gathering speed. No matter whether employees remained on the job in their physical place of work, or transitioned to work-from-remote for the pandemic, workers are craving more connectedness, more support, and more convenience. A year of disconnection, upheaval, and multiplied stressors has resulted in a hunger for meaningful interaction.  The ways in which businesses are building this into their culture will be key selling points for recruiting and hopefully promote employee engagement and retention. Below, Wise’s own Ginnette Clark, CPP, Implementation Consultant and APA Vice President, shares some of the trends she has seen among HR and payroll teams.


Know the HR & Payroll Trends


Remote Payroll Processing

The pandemic has forced a lot of things to change. Ginnette notes that some capabilities and technologies which would have otherwise taken longer to develop and be adopted by workers, such as running payroll from home and on-demand pay, have arrived before their time. “Back in the day,” she says, “it was a huge no-no to try and do payroll from home. The pandemic has opened everyone’s eyes to the fact that it can be done from anywhere if you make your system paperless and you teach your team how to work responsibly remotely. It might have taken ten years to get there, but due to the pandemic it’s changed in less than a year.”


On-Demand Pay

On-demand pay is in-demand: Through her VP role with the APA, Ginnette is in touch with the appeal on-demand pay has for workers and how companies are using it to stand out from the crowd when recruiting. “It has become a huge deal,” she says. “Especially to those millennials who want their pay right away or people living paycheck to paycheck who want that extra security of getting their earnings when they need it. All the major HCM software vendors offer this in their systems, usually at no cost to employers, and it’s not overly difficult to set up.” After more than a year of extreme unpredictability and job insecurity, workers are looking for this level of access to their money, and employers are using it as a recruitment and retention strategy.


Single Sign-On (SS0)

Ginnette reports that “another way to improve the employee experience is by allowing them to have one space in which to sign-in to access all of their data.” Setting up single sign-on, a method of authentication enabling access to multiple applications using one set of secure credentials, is a popular move to improve the employee experience around access to their information and HCM tasks. This can vastly cut down on the multiple password frustration workers experience when trying to log into all the applications they use to gain access to their information, make changes and selections, and perform tasks such as open enrollment or assigned learning.


401(k) Match

Companies are working to be competitive not only in giving employees the best match they can, but also in helping workers understand the value in it: the money left on the table if they don’t max it out, and why it is smart to stick out the vesting period to bank the ‘free money’. “I have done a lot of work lately with companies re-drafting their 401(k) match programs,” says Ginnette.


Analytics & Dashboards

“Companies have been so inundated with the laws, rules, credits, pulling the data they need, filing forms, and getting organized amidst unprecedented change,” says Ginnette, giving credit to HCM teams for rolling with all the pandemic punches. “Now that things are starting to calm down a bit, it is useful to look at how you can utilize analytics and dashboards to see how your people are performing, what your managers are doing and how engaged people are so that you can better support employees in their existing positions in their homes because most of them don’t want to come back to work in the office. The majority don’t. And the ones that do, they want to come back because they want the social engagement. By getting the analytics and dashboards in place, you will be able to identify what kind of social engagement your team needs to thrive from home.”


Of course, once enhancements have been announced, HCM teams have to deliver the goods. Promises of glory that fail to materialize will lead to high turnover. Not all employees are excited by the same offerings, which means that each unique company can benefit from an assessment of which enhancements will get optimal results to help them achieve their goals. Before building your enhanced employee experience strategy, be sure to:

  • Identify your goals
  • Align your strategies with desired return on investment
  • Understand how you will be measuring success


Evaluate Your HCM Software Toolbox


Another trend is the consolidation of multiple HCM solutions. Some companies have long been managing their various HR and payroll functions using unrelated solutions. These separate platforms sit under their own umbrellas and have to be tied together – integrated – in order to pass information back and forth. Many HCM teams have one product for WFM, another for benefits, another for performance/BI, and yet another product for processing payroll. As these solutions age and upgrades happen, integration of the solutions can become less effective and impact accuracy.


Meanwhile, savvy HCM vendors have been closely tracking new business needs and have integrated all those pieces into a cohesive product that can do it all under one umbrella. HCM teams can implement a single powerful platform that performs all functions from payroll processing to on-demand pay. Wise implementation consultants have helped many hundreds of businesses transition to modern full-suite systems, and understand how to set them up to achieve optimal results.


As an implementation expert, Ginnette has a valuable perspective. “More clients are looking to buy every module these products offer because they want a completely integrated, seamless system that their employees can access from anywhere. It becomes disjointed when you are juggling a time system, a payroll system, a benefits system and a performance system – for years people have cherry-picked what they want from multiple providers, and now it’s not working as well. Plus, it’s so much easier to point employees to one system and say, ‘look, go in here and you can do everything in one place with SSO access.’”


Put Your Mouth Where Your Money Is


Ginnette points out that rolling out a new perk for employees is only useful if the culture of the company supports the adoption of that perk. “You can offer as many programs to an employee as possible, but until your company culture changes to prove to the employee that this is something the company really gets behind, and it’s not just some band-aid offering to a perceived problem, high adoption rates will be tough to foster. When the culture does not support the use of enhancements, what the employees will look at is ‘how/when am I getting paid and how can I access my information?’”


Tracking the adoption of the benefit enhancements your company offers will not only help you understand what is valuable to your employees, but it will also help you better understand your company culture from the employee perspective.


Though you may be tempted to overuse surveys to assess employee desire for a new program, beware of accidentally promoting ‘survey skepticism’. Ginnette says it can be easy to alienate workers rather than engaging them with surveys. “Surveys would be great if employees knew that they were going to achieve or improve something. If nothing ever changes, people stop taking them. It’s all about the follow-through. Why put in the effort if you feel like no one is listening or paying attention?”


Show the Full Value the Employer Provides


It’s not just about adding and promoting hot selling points for recruiting new employees. Ginnette suggests you utilize the data in your HCM system to show your employees how much their employer is really doing for them. “I have always been a firm believer in compensation statements that fully reflect how much your company is doing for each employee. For example, show that for every $300 an employee pays for benefits, the employer is paying $900. Show the full 401(k) match amount employees will bank by remaining long enough to become 100% vested. I have not seen companies do this much lately. Showing the full value of what the employer provides for workers illustrates that they are getting a great deal, that the company is taking care of them, and helps them understand the true value in being employed with your business.”


Assess Pandemic Impact & Map Out Your Response


The pandemic exposed gaps in digital readiness, communication tools, support mechanisms, data analysis, security risk, and support resources for workers. Investment in a powerful system that helps the entire organization; analytics and dashboards for management, effective communication and tools for collaboration for teams, increased security for everyone and tools like on-demand pay and SSO, allow businesses to begin closing the gaps.


Reputable HCM software vendors have been tracking the trends and are busy creating new and improved tools to help HCM teams provide the capabilities and experience employees are looking for.


Questions? Wise Can Help


Change can be painful and create extra work, yet the payoff can be huge. Wise consultants are here to advise, perform the heavy lifting, and be the Swiss army knife resource you need to get it all done. It is our job as well as our passion to successfully support clients with their HCM, WFM and payroll needs. For 25 years it has been rewarding to experience a high rate of return business, and our consultants have felt especially gratified to support our wonderful clients with the many new issues that have cropped up throughout the pandemic. If you have questions, reach out to us at HCMHelp@WiseConsulting.com or 800-654-4550.


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