It’s Saturday night and you are looking forward to enjoying a wonderful dinner at the best-rated restaurant in town. The waiter shows you to your table, silently hands you the menu, and leaves. The menu offers a great variety of excellent dishes and wines. You can’t really decide, so you ask the waiter for his recommendation. He replies that everything on the menu is great – that’s why they are the best-rated restaurant in town.
In the end, he was right, the food was heavenly. Yet you leave the restaurant with a bitter taste in your mouth – because of him. You think you might give the restaurant another chance, but the overall experience weighs heavier than the great food that satisfied your hunger.
What does all this have to do with HR?
This example of treating customers poorly in a restaurant can be translated into the world of HR. HR needs to care about employees as much a restaurant needs to care about its customers. It also shows that even if a restaurant offers the best food and wine but lacks the human element, it will lose customers. A company can provide good salaries and exciting career paths, but if employees’ overall experience is negative – because they do not see the purpose of their role and are not listened to – they are likely to look for other opportunities and may leave the company. It is all about offering the best experience they can imagine.
What does experience exactly mean?
According to the Oxford dictionary, “experience” means “an event or occurrence which leaves an impression on someone.” Creating a positive experience has to be the goal of HR organizations; creating world-class experiences for employees in each stage of the employee lifecycle. HR should start interacting with future talents before they even think about applying. And this interaction shouldn’t cease after they leave the company. This means that HR engages with people; creating the best possible experience for anyone engaging with our company.
Fascinate and make people curious about you
Just like a restaurant creates interest by advertising great food and a welcoming atmosphere, HR needs to make people curious about the company and what it stands for. Spread the message with social media, but don’t just post positions there – utilize the channels for employees to post about their daily life with the company. Engage with future talent via social events; show them who you are and what you stand for as a brand. Make people experience what it means to work for you before they even think about applying. Make them want to be part of your community simply by engaging them early on.
Make them feel at home and appreciated
Once someone enters a restaurant, it is important to give them a sense of the great atmosphere there. A warm welcome and a caring attitude will make them feel comfortable and appreciated. Likewise, new hires should feel appreciated by providing a great onboarding process including offering access to collaboration platforms upfront, introducing them to their teams, assigning a buddy, and ensuring their IT equipment is ready when they join. We should strive to make them feel at home even before they move in.
Offer a continuous experience
The most important thing: Don’t get complacent. We need to show employees the purpose of their job – the bigger picture, the value their role brings to the organization. Make them the guardians of their own career by providing them with the necessary tools. The world is open to them; it is up to them to make the most out of it. This does not only apply to millennials; all employees want to feel like the company is supporting their needs and making their life as easy as possible. This will maximize their time with the employer.
I strongly believe that if HR moves away from process-driven discussions and starts putting ourselves in our customers’ (i.e., our employees’ and our lines of business’) shoes, thinking about how they want to experience situations, we will win. We need to understand, care, and do more than just support – we must anticipate and truly partner with the business.
Stay in touch
No doubt, our goal in HR is to attract, develop, and retain talent. We cannot avoid losing employees throughout the journey. But we can make the best of it. Why end a relationship after an employee leaves the company? We can easily stay in touch – by organizing networking events for alumni, sending newsletter updates (including information about job vacancies), or connecting with them on social media. They will continue to be part of our community and can share knowledge and discuss strategies and trends. In the best case, it won’t be long before they find their way back.
At SAP, we offer excellent development opportunities, benefits, and company culture. Learn more at SAP Careers.