Study: CHROs cautious about investing in digital experience

Compared to their C-suite peers, talent leaders are more skeptical about investing in both CX and EX

CHROs are more skeptical about investing in a total digital experience compared to their peers.

The COVID-19 pandemic is reorganizing priorities around health, safety, and remote work for customers and employees alike. In response, organizations are taking steps to bolster both customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX). The most successful companies have adopted a “total experience” approach that seeks to develop CX and EX in parallel. That’s according to a new study by ServiceNow and ESI ThoughtLab, which surveyed 900 executives across 13 countries.

Despite this evolution in employee and customer experience, CHROs are less likely to see the value of CX than their peers, and they are skeptical about taking steps to improve EX. To unify EX and CX, CHROs must overcome several organizational challenges.

CHROs see little value in digitizing CX

The pandemic has changed customer behavior. Customers have come to want and expect digital experiences: everything from the tools to make financial transactions over the phone to the ability to get a health checkup over Zoom. Organizations have stepped up quickly to meet these demands. For many businesses, digitizing CX has become essential to success.

Although CX and EX are closely correlated, CHROs are skeptical about the value of digital CX solutions, especially compared to CCOs and CIOs.

New tools might require a new outlook for CHROs

The pandemic has ushered in a new era of hybrid work, which will require enhanced IT support, flexible working arrangements, and easy access to data. Companies are beginning to invest in these enhancements, but most of this investment is planned for the next year or two.

Surprisingly, CHROs are less likely than their peers to recognize the value of digitizing EX. Their skepticism might partially stem from perceived barriers within their own organizations. For instance, CHROs might believe the rest of the C-suite lacks their understanding of EX, and CHROs are concerned about staff resistance to change.

Tech and tools lead to substantial gains

The study shows that equipping staff with the right technology, tools, and processes can lead to major financial benefits like greater revenue, reduced costs, and greater market share. Equally important, a digital workplace allows firms to create new opportunities for collaboration, improves engagement, boosts loyalty and retention, and fosters diversity and inclusion.

Slow progress

Despite these clear benefits, organizations are making slow progress, and there is more work to be done. Over the next year or two, organizations will take steps to improve workplace safety and data privacy. Almost half try to get ahead in quick IT support, remote flexible work, and easy access to data.

Barriers to progress

However, CHROs and other leaders continue to face barriers to progress. Successful organizations go beyond treating customer experience and employee experience as separate disciplines. To boost total experience—and thus improve employee experience—CHROs and their peers need to approach CX and EX as mutually reinforcing.

While CHROs see lower value in digitizing CX and EX than their peers, they appreciate the benefits of building an experience-led strategy. To them, the barriers to progress include developing and acquiring talent, keeping up with customer and employee expectations, and overcoming employees’ resistance to change.