The lasting impact of the pandemic alongside the so-called ‘Great Resignation’ has seen many HR leaders face widespread labour and skills shortages in recent times. But according to our latest research report, enhancing employee experience has emerged as the most important area of focus to tackle this problem. 

This notion of improving resilience was considered either ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important by 70% of the 100 board-level HR leaders at large companies (employing 1,000 employees) or more who were questioned. The study, called ‘The resilience factor: CHROs’, is the second in a series of Zellis reports exploring how members of the C-suite view the resiliency challenge. 

Create an employee experience to remember 

As to how HR leaders believe they can best go about successfully achieving business resilience, over half (52%) placed employee experience initiatives at the top of their list. Other, more tactical approaches, such as higher levels of process automation (49%) and reducing business inefficiency (45%) came in second and third respectively. 

As Jacqui Summons, Zellis Non-Executive Director and Chief People Officer at EMIS Health, points out: “The experiences of employees are always going to be a critical issue when there is such a war for talent. Outbidding your competitors on pay will be almost impossible, particularly when taking into account significant inflationary pressure.” 

As a result, she says, the secret lies in “creating an inclusive and diverse environment that makes people want to belong.”  

The role of technology 

But Summons also believes that: “Technology has an important part to play as an enabler in this space. The more you can provide a smooth digital experience to your employees, supporting them to manage their work effectively, the more you can create a ‘stickiness’ to your company to support retention.” 

52% of CHROs expect that upgrading technology will take the most significant portion of their attention and investment focus over the next 12 months.  

As Caroline Drake, Zellis’ Chief People Officer, says: “CHROs are being asked for answers here. The perspective they need to bring to the board is changing. Understanding emerging technology trends is just as vital as understanding what employees want and respect.” 

Many HR leaders appear to be getting to grips with the issue. For instance, the majority (59%) say most of their payroll and human capital management applications are now in the cloud, while 23% have moved all technology to the cloud. Only 1% are still operating fully using on-premise systems. 

As the report points out, during the pandemic HR leaders were pulled in many different directions as they tried to implement the changes required to support their workforces.  

But over the next few years, we will expect to see a more strategic and less-process-intensive level of support in building business resilience. In fact, in this brave, new world, new ways of thinking and working will become more essential than ever. 

For more valuable insights, including supporting observations from Jacqui Summons for a unique perspective on our findings, download the full research report here 

1\