A CHRO roadmap for digitizing the employee experience

A Q&A with ServiceNow’s VP of global talent Shane Driggers

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit last spring, HR leaders have had their hands full converting hundreds of old, in-office processes into digital ones for their newly remote employees.

Heading into another year of uncertainty, many CHROs must focus on a more systematic approach to digitizing employee experience (EX). As a new survey by ServiceNow and ESI ThoughtLab shows, digital EX is proving to be a crucial requirement not just for keeping workers more productive and engaged—no matter where they work—but for improving corporate performance long-term.

Companies that have made the most progress in key employee experience areas are achieving important benefits, the survey shows, including higher topline growth, increased employee productivity, and higher employee satisfaction.

To explore how organizations can build a strategic roadmap for digital EX, we sat down with Shane Driggers, vice president of global talent acquisition and acting CHRO at ServiceNow, for his insights.

How will the pandemic change expectations about employee experience over the long term? Will remote work be the norm?

That’s the million-dollar question many companies are navigating today. The new norm has already begun to form, and providing employees choice, flexibility, and care will be important factors to consider when shaping long-term employee experiences.

When we think about choice and flexibility, I believe many companies will adopt a hybrid model that provides flexibility for remote workers—those that work in a corporate office and those that use corporate offices as a destination to collaborate with their colleagues.

That flexibility will have a direct impact on the well-being of your employees, and taking time to hear what’s most important to them is critical to informing the decisions you make.

What kind of process can a CHRO follow to build an EX roadmap?

CHROs need to think about building a foundation that will grow and scale for the future. What are the core experiences that they want to be lasting and reflective of their brand and values? It is also important to design for flexibility and agility in order to respond to changes and what is relevant at the time. The pandemic is a great example of how agile a CHRO must be to respond to employee experience and the needs of employees during these unprecedented times.

Experience is not just an HR challenge. It touches all parts of the business and should be co-created. After all, it’s reflective of our brand and how we work together towards our purpose. It’s important when building an EX roadmap that it isn’t designed in an HR bubble, but instead is inclusive of all geographies and parts of the enterprise.

How should CHROs think about costs and ROI when they design employee experiences?

The cost of not doing these things is far greater than the cost of doing them. CHROs need to focus on the talent continuum—hire to retire, and all the experiences in between. Without a thoughtful EX roadmap, employees won’t thrive and the organization may experience greater attrition, which is very costly.

We’ve seen it in the data and in listening to our employees. Onboarding into a new organization has a lot of moments that matter and the first 90 days are critical. It ties directly back to retention. We know that when the onboarding experience is wildly positive, it leads to increased collaboration, productivity, innovation, business outcomes, and employee retention. The return is simply massive.

How important is it for companies to create an integrated experience, so customers, employees, and industry partners have a similar way of interacting with the company?

Absolutely important. Gone are the days of siloed builds, where you create a set of distinct experiences. That’s one reason why the CIO role has become so much more sophisticated, because they have to think about these other experiences to make sure people get a quicker time to value.

I’m one of the executive sponsors of a project with Chris Bedi, ServiceNow’s CIO, on how we can build elements of the employee experience we create for ourselves into our platform.

If you’re a CHRO starting out on this journey, what should you prioritize?

Since you can’t do everything at once, create persona-based efforts to think through the most important experiences you want to create. Sometimes you have to go slow to go fast, and taking the time to build a lasting foundation that’s scalable will enable the company to pivot quickly to innovative solutions.