Rethinking HR: Laser Focus On HR Consumer Experiences

Dr. Christian Schmeichel

Digitalization is the new norm, prompting businesses to accelerate the transformation of their processes and models to capitalize on the opportunities that digital technology provides. At the same time, digitalization represents the biggest change imperative for HR departments, requiring them to redefine themselves to help the business attract the most brilliant talent in the marketplace.

From satisfaction to experience

In the new digital world, HR needs to move away from the mantra “HR customer satisfaction” towards the broader “HR consumer experiences.” Today’s talents no longer look only for a career. They look for a fully digital workplace they can feel connected to through purpose and positive experiences.

At SAP HR, we strive to make every single experience with HR matter, because enjoyable employee experiences directly impact SAP’s competitive advantage in the labor market. With our three HR Guiding Principles (simplification, standardization, and HR consumer satisfaction), we focus on an end-to-end, intuitive HR consumer experience – anywhere, anytime – as the ultimate goal. This includes continuously challenging the status quo and asking how we can make things faster and easier to consume.

Elements of an excellent consumer experience

How do we do that? It is actually quite straightforward: we run HR like a business and ensure world-class execution, since we know it’s all academic until you get the results.

We place particular emphasis on:

  • HR process simplification: We put our consumers front and center, be it employees, managers, candidates, or alumni. Applying design thinking techniques, we aim to streamline HR services and make them more user-friendly.
  • HR technology leverage: Our employees expect a digital workplace experience that is just as intuitive, simple, and efficient as the digital tools and technologies they use in their everyday lives.
  • A business-centered HR organization: Clear responsibilities help us offer a seamless one-stop service to our consumers across different HR functions.
  • Best-in-class HR capabilities: A dedicated curriculum empowers the HR community with the skills, knowledge, and tools to successfully create five-star HR consumer experiences. A particular emphasis is on HR analytics-related capabilities as well as on project and process management in the HR context.
  • Change and engagement: We recognize that a shift in focus necessitates a corresponding shift in both the culture of our organization and the way we engage our own HR employees around achieving experience-oriented goals. Enabling our people to manage through the change is instrumental to helping them adopt a consumer experience lens.
  • Tailored HR measurement: We continuously measure the impact of what we do. This includes real-time feedback by our consumers on their individual experience. With HR analytics, we provide meaningful data, tools, and insights to support smart people decisions.

Shifting focus

These components, combined in a holistic approach, shape HR’s role as a truly leading-edge business support function. The ultimate goal is to create the “wow” factor at moments that matter for HR consumers along the entire employee lifecycle. Leveraging the areas above, in combination with the power of inclusive HR teamwork, is how we work to shift towards actively driving an optimal HR consumer experience.

For more on why digital transformation is so critical in HR, see “Human Resources: The Internal Marketing Machine.”


Dr. Christian Schmeichel

About Dr. Christian Schmeichel

Dr. Christian Schmeichel is Senior Vice President of HR at SAP for the board areas Technology & Innovation, Intelligent Enterprise Group, Finance, and HR. He is a passionate advocate for running HR like a business and co-shaping the future of work. Follow Christian on Twitter @Schmeichel_C.