Rethink HR: Technology and the employee experience

Kathryn Kendall


On Monday 19 June, I had the opportunity to chair a panel debate at the Rethink! HR Tech conference.

Myself and fellow panellists Charles Kidd, Global Director of Learning and Talent Development at Belmond, and Adam Mason, Benefex’s very own Consultancy Director, explored the topic of how HR technology is transforming the employee experience.

We started off by setting the scene: what is the employee experience? How does it differ from employee engagement? And, what is the shift in approach you will need to adopt in order to positively influence the experience your employees have during their time with you? During our discussions, we also went on to explore how, actually, that experience starts well before an employee commences employment, and can continue on for many years after the employment relationship has officially ended.

With our reward and benefits hats on, we looked at the role employee reward and benefits have to play in influencing the employee experience, forming one of the many series of ‘loops’ which together make up the bigger picture. As with all initiatives, the panel were quick to note that these present both opportunities and risks, and it is the role of ourselves as skilled HR professionals to ensure that the impact is positive rather than detrimental.

Charles and Adam shared some of the things their own organisations have done which, in their view, have been fundamental to defining the employee experience, and this naturally segued into a conversation regarding how we can use technology to help in making improvements and refinements. The panel were unanimous that, while technology is transforming the way that we can look at this, care needs to be taken to ensure that it doesn’t entirely eradicate the human touch, which is necessary to ensure the required level of personal interaction is still present.

Adam talked in some detail about how our technology at Benefex is evolving, and what our newly-positioned OneHub does to support our prospects and clients with developing their own employee experience and ensuring that this is best in class. We went on from this to look at where wellbeing – a hot strategic topic for most delegates – fits into the picture, its importance from an employee perspective, and how technology can make a difference here.

We discussed what was next for reward and benefits, with Adam sharing the details of some of the newest benefits coming onto the market – including, for example, a health check function where employees can take their own blood samples at home and send them off to be tested.

Finally, the panel closed off with recommendations from Charles and Adam as to what delegates could take back into their own organisations to start to focus in on the experience of their employees, and the strategic impact which could be gained as a result of doing so.

Despite some very hot and sticky conditions (the thermometer in my car told me it was 36 degrees when I got back outside!), delegates seemed extremely engaged, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience to spend time with Charles and Adam debating what will inevitably be one of the hottest topics in HR for some time to come.

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