How we’re transforming employee experience at FLEETCOR

For the first time, employers are welcoming up to 5 generations in the work place – many of them with different needs, wants and aspirations. Kim Randers (HR Vice President for Europe & ANZ) explores how HR has evolved, and how his teams are creating employee experiences that matter.

Typical career paths aren’t as restrictive anymore 

I don’t think that I’m alone in thinking this, but over the last 5 years the work place has changed dramatically - a lot of the HR practices that we’d applied don’t stack up any longer. For a lot of professions, this has meant that the boundaries between work and home are blurring or non-existent: jobs are no longer for life, and many people will be working into their 70’s and even 80’s. I don’t think organisations, or society, has woken up to that harsh reality yet.

Being honest, I myself never really had a clear career path in mind; originally I thought I was going to work as Clinical Psychologist. It was only after graduating that I went into Executive Recruitment, and I’ve never really looked back.

“When studying I specialised in Health Psychology, and I still apply a lot of the things I learned to my role today. It’s probably a cliché in HR, but I continue to be intrigued by how people interact, what motivates them, makes them happy or unhappy at work. I still use some of theories around personality and motivation that I learned 20 years ago.”

Every experience matters- why we’re treating our employees like customers

Recognising that work is a significant life ‘experience’ for a lot of people is a simple but interesting approach, as it forces us to completely rethink our existing HR practices. I see my role as ‘helping our teams to create a working environment where people can be their best self’. Ultimately, this means accepting that the work place is changing - as an organisation we have to be clear about our purpose and what we’re here to do. We also need to be realistic and accept that we can’t be everything for everyone.

“As HR professionals we have to unlearn some of our old tricks and gain some new ones. I see a lot parallels with marketing functions who have or are going through a similar journey. You really have to know your employee (customer), you have to make it easy to join or buy, and if you want a good return on your investment, retaining employees is about making work a consistently great experience.”

I cannot not mention technology – which continues to both disrupt and enable how we work. On the one hand this is exciting, but also quite overwhelming and challenging. We’re constantly looking at how technology can make our employees lives easier, whether that’s applying for a new opportunity, learning new skills, communicating with remote workers or even simple things like updating their home address details. The technology landscape for HR is vast and to some extent quite messy; how we make the digital employee experience seamless is certainly keeping me awake!

I've heard some HR practitioners describe the concept of Employee Experience as just ‘old wine in new bottles’. While wanting to create a great environment for employees to be their best is certainly not new, I do think that organisations - including HR - have taken an approach of 'one solution fits all'. We've tried for too long to harmonise everything - whether this is in C&B, Talent Management, Learning or Recruitment. As mentioned above, we need to take much more of marketer approach and really understand what motivates different people. Currently we're wrestling with the concept of 'moments that really matter for employees' and how we can design our practices around that – not easy I hasten to add.

“I’ve seen a distinct change in what drives employees’ vs five years ago. Generally there’s more emphasis on work life balance, or at least flexibility around where and when work needs to be done. People I meet also put much more emphasis on the culture of the organisation, and their ability to learn and influence the direction of the company.”

Considering a career path in HR?

In the changing employer landscape, I’d suggest that anyone considering a career in HR should try to get experience from other parts of the business first. Rather than starting your career in HR, explore roles in Operations, sales, finance etc. Most of the skills you will learn elsewhere will be transferable into HR. Thankfully most of the leaders I’ve worked with have always seen HR as business critical and more than ever I see HR as a great career. Where else do you get to be involved in all parts of the organisation, work with complex problems, be innovative and really make an impact on peoples’ lives?

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