Welcome to the social enterprise, a conflation of internal and external, the political, the social and the economic; where people-first must mean something; and companies and CHROs are feeling the pressure to provide a workforce experience while driving the business forward.
For years, human resources(HR) has had a seat at the boardroom table to ensure the talent strategy supports the business strategy. But there’s a change afoot. In a constantly connected world, rife with social media, and workforces striving to work with purpose and have a fulfilling experience while they do, companies are recognising that people are at the centre of everything. And not just employees, either–but an entire ecosystem of customers, partners, suppliers and investors.
Pulling insights from the Deloitte 2019 annual Global Human Capital Trends Kristin Starodub, principal and US SAP Workforce Experience Leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and Bob Park, principal and US SAP SuccessFactors Leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP, weigh in on why organisations should reinvent themselves as kinetic enterprises with a human focus on everyone.
What Deloitte uncovered in the 2019 survey is “experience matters,” everywhere. Starodub offers as a proof point the fact that when companies actually do focus on workforce experience, it can have a tenfold impact on business profits. “It can be up to a $2 billion increase in revenue just by simply moving up 10 percentage points of that workforce experience indicator index.”
Her use of the word ‘workforce’ is deliberate and broad, and encapsulates the essence of a social enterprise: Companies must create an experience for their full-time employees and contractors and suppliers and partners, and so forth; all members of the ecosystem that can impact brand and market reputation.
How a company invests in its social enterprise plays out far beyond four walls. “There is an increasing overlap between what is considered internal versus external given the rise of the individual and the influx of technology,” says Park.
Consider the customer-facing retail employee who is trained well in their work and engaged. Companies that invest in their social enterprise will have the tech in place to properly train and engage their workforce, helping to ensure a positive customer experience. Then consider the conflicting scenario: the retailer that failed to provide the right training, tech and therefore, engagement opportunity for the employee and the customer’s experience. There’s a good chance the company will read about it on social media.
“Creating an environment your workforce and your employees want to come to every day directly influences your customer experience and therefore your success as a business,” says Park.
Starodub cautions that when organisations are too introspective or isolated, they don't recognise their workforce is their brand. In the case of the poorly-trained and unengaged retail employee, the company conveys the wrong message to their customers every day. “That's when business strategies flop, profits decline, share prices drop.”
Those kinds of stakes put pressure on organisations who may struggle to come up with ideas in how to address it. But Starodub offers that if companies keep the human experience in focus, they’ll be on top of that pressure instead of underneath it. “No matter which audience we're talking about, internal and external, we'll be doing the right thing by each other.”
Long gone are the days when HR was called ‘Personnel,’ and a summons to meet with anyone from the department was the death knell for one’s job. Today, CHROs are the influencers in how an organisation can respond and shift to become a social enterprise.
Which might be why organisations are bringing in leadership from other parts of the business to drive change and agility as a social and kinetic enterprise. As Park sees it: “It comes down to the being in tune with the business. When you think about either a CFO or a supply chain officer or even a distribution manager, they're looking at HR to be their business partner.”
That means finding ways to keep the human element and workforce experience in the foreground, while using technology to drive revenue, growth and momentum.
Connecting the two enterprises means deploying the digital infrastructure and technology that meets the demands of the business and of an ecosystem that wants more. For Park, the focus is on ensuring “entire workforces have the right tools to keep the business moving forward, quickly efficiently, and free of friction by asking the question: What do people need to work better? And then having the technology and systems to deliver them.”
As Starodub sees it, the human focus begins with HR that must “take the lead in re-imagining the future today and fostering partnerships with the ecosystem from teams inside and outside the organisation, and embrace changing how work gets done.”
Want more transformation insights from enterprise leaders? Visit deloitte.com/SAP to download future podcast episodes or listen to previous ones.