Katy Tynan, Principal Analyst and David Johnson, Principal Analyst

Show Notes:

Who owns employee experience? HR? IT? Marketing? Operations? It’s a question that few organizations can answer easily but every organization should be figuring out in a tight talent market. In this episode, Principal Analysts Katy Tynan and David Johnson take a deep look at the value employee experience brings to the business and debate where this vital function should live within the broader organization.

The episode starts with a look back at how employee experience emerged. Historically, organizations never focused on how to get employees to do their best work, Tynan says. While HR was often forced to think about employee experience, they couldn’t own it alone because EX extends well beyond their domain expertise of hiring and onboarding employees.

While HR is good at its core functions, Johnson says the talent lifecycle starts to break down in what the employee experiences on a daily basis. And because each company and each employee are different in their needs, no two employee experience programs should look the same.

“The things that enable people’s success are going to look different depending on the type of work the organization does, the value system that the organization has, the culture that the organization has, and the way the organization is structured,” says Tynan.

Why is this issue coming to the forefront in today’s organizations? The pandemic and the “Great Resignation” have put employee well-being and retention front and center. But Tynan points out that longer-term demographic trends (most notably, Baby Boomers aging out of the workforce) will ensure this topic doesn’t disappear anytime soon.

So, while most agree there’s value in EX, at the end of the day, who should own the function? Not HR, both Johnson and Tynan agree. “It has to be a bit of an overlay function … and really, the CEO is the primary stakeholder,” Johnson says. Tynan disputes the notion, arguing that the CEO is too busy to own EX, but says whoever does should report directly to the CEO.

Be sure to listen to the end of the episode when Johnson describes an out-of-the-box option for managing EX that a client recently described to him during a guidance session. While it might not be the perfect solution, it will likely spur some ideas.