The Accidental Best of Breed

Transforming the HR Engagement Experience

Nov 4, 2021 12:00 PM1:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

How are companies using processes and tools to improve employee engagement? What challenges are organizations facing in the transition to digital tools and software?

Employee experience is critical in keeping up retention and engagement. As the HR and digital spaces quickly evolve, it’s imperative that companies continue innovating and delivering a meaningful experience. In the current market, organizations are turning towards digital workspaces that are accessible, personalized, and growth-centered. However, implementing new technology comes with challenges — that’s why a team of experts from Deloitte Consulting are here to share their insight on combining digital tools with the traditional face-to-face HR approach.

In this virtual event, Greg Irwin is joined by Andrea Wilp, Manager of Human Capital, Gary Cole, Principal of Digital HR Strategy and Solutions, and Ray Panetta, Senior Manager of HR Transformation at Deloitte Consulting. Together, they discuss the trends in employee satisfaction and engagement, tips for combining digital with an employee-focused approach, and how companies can use a specific set of tools to improve their employee engagement.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:


  • Gary Cole and Andrea Wilp talk about the past and present trends in employee experience and digital solutions
  • Ray Panetta explains the Unified Engagement Platform and how companies are successfully leveraging digital tools
  • The challenge of combining technology and face-to-face solutions in the HR space
  • How some organizations are transforming their HR process through digital tools and portals
  • Uncovering the difficulties of digital software transition
  • Are employee satisfaction and engagement increasing in the current market?
  • How companies are driving engagement through leadership, relationship-building events, and other strategies
  • Gary, Ray, and Andrea discuss their final takeaways on implementing processes and delivering experiences
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Event Partners

Deloitte Consulting

Deloitte is an international network of companies providing professional services in audit, consulting, financial consulting, risk management, taxation and other areas to public and private companies operating across the entire spectrum of the Global economy. Deloitte has offices in 150 countries across the world.

Guest Speakers

Greg Irwin LinkedIn

Co-Founder, Co-CEO at BWG Strategy LLC

BWG Strategy is a research platform that provides market intelligence through Event Services, Business Development initiatives, and Market Research services. BWG hosts over 1,800 interactive executive strategy sessions (conference calls and in-person forums) annually that allow senior industry professionals across all sectors to debate fundamental business topics with peers, build brand awareness, gather market intelligence, network with customers/suppliers/partners, and pursue business development opportunities.

Gary Cole

Principal – Digital HR Strategy and Solutions at Deloitte Consulting LLP

Gary Cole is the Principal of Digital HR Strategy and Solutions at Deloitte Consulting. He has over 24 years of consulting experience with a primary focus on large-scale, technology-led HR transformation programs. Gary is also an active speaker and blogger on HR-related technology trends.

Raymond D. Panetta

Senior Manager | HR Transformation at Deloitte Consulting LLP

Raymond (Ray) Panetta is the Senior Manager of HR Transformation at Deloitte Consulting. Ray has assisted clients in their digital HR transformation journeys, focusing on process and organizational optimization, employee experience design, digital roadmaps, and operating model impacts.

Andrea Wilp

Manager, Human Capital at Deloitte Consulting LLP

Andrea Wilp is the Manager of Human Capital at Deloitte Consulting. She has experience in multiple industries including retail, consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, technology, and financial services. In addition to previous roles at Deloitte, Andrea has also worked at Intel and Procter & Gamble.

Event Moderator

Greg Irwin LinkedIn

Co-Founder, Co-CEO at BWG Strategy LLC

BWG Strategy is a research platform that provides market intelligence through Event Services, Business Development initiatives, and Market Research services. BWG hosts over 1,800 interactive executive strategy sessions (conference calls and in-person forums) annually that allow senior industry professionals across all sectors to debate fundamental business topics with peers, build brand awareness, gather market intelligence, network with customers/suppliers/partners, and pursue business development opportunities.

Gary Cole

Principal – Digital HR Strategy and Solutions at Deloitte Consulting LLP

Gary Cole is the Principal of Digital HR Strategy and Solutions at Deloitte Consulting. He has over 24 years of consulting experience with a primary focus on large-scale, technology-led HR transformation programs. Gary is also an active speaker and blogger on HR-related technology trends.

Raymond D. Panetta

Senior Manager | HR Transformation at Deloitte Consulting LLP

Raymond (Ray) Panetta is the Senior Manager of HR Transformation at Deloitte Consulting. Ray has assisted clients in their digital HR transformation journeys, focusing on process and organizational optimization, employee experience design, digital roadmaps, and operating model impacts.

Andrea Wilp

Manager, Human Capital at Deloitte Consulting LLP

Andrea Wilp is the Manager of Human Capital at Deloitte Consulting. She has experience in multiple industries including retail, consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, technology, and financial services. In addition to previous roles at Deloitte, Andrea has also worked at Intel and Procter & Gamble.

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Discussion Transcription

Greg Irwin 0:18

My name is Greg Irwin. I'm one of the partners at BWG, we run these discussion groups. They are like it's a webinar. But there's an angle to it that we think is incredibly valuable, which is basically driving engagement across all the participants. You all can choose how much you want to be engaged. But I'm going to I'm going to give everyone the opportunity by their by sharing a story by asking questions or responding to questions and comments in the chat. And most importantly, I'm going to ask everybody to take, you know, set one goal for this session, which is to make one new contact, it does not have to be with Deloitte or BWG. But there are a lot of talented people in the HR profession here today. And I think it benefits all of us just to improve our personal networks. So you can certainly go over LinkedIn, that's easy. Or just reply to us here at BWG, and we'll do an outreach on your behalf. But please take take that personal goal to make one new contact through through this session. The way it's gonna work is I'd like to introduce Ray Panetta, Andrea Wilp, and Gary Cole, they're going to be co hosting with me today. And we're going to spend the first good 15 minutes talking through some of the ideas and initiatives that they're that they're pushing through with their clients. And then we're going to do is we're going to go interactive, and I want to go around the group, talk about what kind of initiatives each organization are pursuing, share what you can don't share what you can't, and if you want to defer, you got it. But I think it's really cool to learn about what specifically different organizations are doing. And then we're like, Deloitte doesn't have all the answers. BWG doesn't have all the answers. So I want to encourage everybody to answer questions or share stories that would help each other. And that's, that's how we do it, you know, it truly takes a village. Alright, so let's, let's do this quick intros, and then we'll get into some of the material. Let's go over to Gary first. So Gary's principal digital HR strategy and solutions over at Deloitte Gary, please take a moment, grab the mic, introduce yourself, and tell us a little bit about what your team does, which is

Gary Cole 2:42

great. Thanks, Greg. So nice to meet everybody. My focus for the last 30 years has been all about HR technology, you know, starting back in the early PeopleSoft days, and carrying through the cloud started about 15 years ago, my focus for last seven or eight years has been on technology strategy. And what that is, is helping our clients solve these complex technology to systems that they built for, specifically around HR. So that's the lens we'll be coming from today that I will be coming from specifically, most of our time in the last two years, even prior to COVID was really around this user unified user experience topic and how customers are solving for the fact that they still have best of breed environments that are very complicated for users to navigate. So that's been

Greg Irwin 3:35

perfect, Gary, thank you. I'm sorry, just something went down the wrong way. Let me turn it over to Ray, right. Who was your favorite? Please give me

Ray Panetta 3:43

absolutely. Hi one, Ray Panetta. As Gary mentioned, I work in the same space as him, enabling employee engagement layers, you invite engagement personas, and building that employee experience. Now what we focus on is helping organizations think through what are the components of big play experience? And then also, what are the technologies to help enable that? So through this discussion, we'll talk a little bit about both. But as Gary mentioned, we work with our larger clients to get through these application. So excited to be on the line today.

Greg Irwin 4:14

Ray, by the way, where are you based?

Ray Panetta 4:16

I'm in New York myself. Yes.

Greg Irwin 4:17

Perfect. And Gary,

Gary Cole 4:20

Washington, DC.

Greg Irwin 4:22

And there we go. All right. Andrea, is going to ramp out the the four of us are going to be kind of the CO hosts for today. So Andrea, please give a little intro. Yep.

Andrea Wilp 4:31

Thanks. Great. Happy to be here. My name is Andrea Wilp, similar intro to Gary and Ray. I'm in our digital HR strategy and solutions practice. And my focus has really been on helping organizations to find and realize their digital workplace strategies. So what are the experiences that we want to provide employees, the capabilities and solutions that deliver those so happy to be here, and Greg, I'm out

Greg Irwin 4:57

of Pittsburgh. All right, there we go. So that we all have a general, a general goal here. We want to improve employee engagement, employee experience, that's the end goal, we don't want to lose sight of it. Now, I think we all recognize with a distributed organization, you need to bring to bear processes and tools to basically make that happen. So what we talked to Deloitte about was share some ideas on how you think about that how you take that tremendous challenge, and basically break it down, particularly when frankly, you end up with dozens or hundreds of apps and tools that there's no shortage of tools, particularly at large companies. So how do you make sense of that? So that's how we set this up. I put it in the chat here, I'm going to be asking questions in the chat throughout, do me a favor, don't let it become just a dust bowl of like, you know, dust bunnies. Ask your questions. And let's make great use of the group that we've that we've got here. So I'm going to be posing questions throughout. And I've got one for us to start, you know, Ray, go ahead and fire up the slides. And we'll get into the material. And while we're doing it, I want everybody to ask, basically, one question, what is or share one thing in the chat, which is, what is your top initiative with regards to improving employee engagement through digital transformation, it could be a portal, it could be a service, what's one initiative and I'm not talking about a two week initiative, I'm talking about a two year initiative, one thing that we can all think about, and start to filter into our conversation, so add them in there, and then we'll use that at all, it'll definitely help us focus and make sure that this is a productive session for everybody. Now, while that's going on, right, let me turn it to you. And please take us through some of the the thinking at Deloitte.

Gary Cole 7:02

Now no jump in here, first overlays. One is nothing we're gonna talk about here today is really been caused by the pandemic and all the remote work and things we've all been dealing with for last 18 plus months, it's just been accelerated, you know, all these trends were happening, pre pandemic, they, we just thought it was going to take longer before they really became, you know, top of conversation for every organization on the planet. So nothing really new, just frankly, moving a little bit faster. The other backdrop here is in the broader technology landscape, which Ray's gonna go through a little bit later. The promise of moving to either a single platform, or greatly reducing the number of platforms or solutions that companies have really hasn't come to fruition. As these companies have built solutions, companies requirements have changed, especially around things like learning and Talent Management, and talent acquisition. So the best of breed world that we all keep trying to squash until is back with a vengeance. So most companies now in a lot of cases have more technology and more solutions than they've had historically to deal with. So those are two backdrops right. This is nothing new. It's just accelerated into everybody's dealing with a tonne of technology that they're trying to sort through. from a market perspective, just a couple things to think about. Most organizations are getting heavily focused on employee experience, it's no longer just a talking point. A lot of our large fortune 500 companies have executive level people that are it put in charge of employee experience. In this context, employee experience means everything from your experience, getting hired to your benefits to how you interact with your leadership. Experience is a fairly broad topic. Today, we're going to focus primarily on the digital experience and how you engage your employees digitally. So keep in mind, there's a much broader experience topic that we could have. But most clients and most organizations are getting pretty focused on this, you see the number there 83% of executives think it's important. There's also really clear correlation, not just between employee experience and retention, everybody's dealing with you losing key resources and the challenge of replacing them right now. There's but there's there's a correlation between keeping people happy and keeping them in the organization as well as productivity. So your companies are really good at the overall employee experience had better productivity from their employees. And there are a number of metrics and surveys that support that. The important thing here where we start leaning into the digital experience is how much time people waste looking for information. Right, that information could be a policy, about going on leave for medical reasons, or it could be on trying to share a piece of information and find somebody else in the organization that has dealt with A similar similar situation to what I'm dealing with right now. Right, just an aspect of doing their job. They're trying to do a project, they're trying to deal with a specific vendor, they need to were quickly serving the organization to see, where's this been done before? What can I build off of instead of starting from scratch. So that huge portion of productivity loss from people just trying to find things and just trying to look for information? What does it mean? It means, you know, the employee experience is not just a nice to have, it's critical based on everything we talked about. It's critical for remote productivity, it's critical for retention and engagement and all the other things that we're going to go through today. And the technology is evolving. One of the reasons to best of breed environment just won't go away, is everything is evolving very quickly. Luckily, this engagement space, this engagement layer space that we're talking about today is also evolving pretty quickly and has done a pretty good job of helping employees kind of wrangle that in and simplify the experiences that their employees go through. So that's what we're going to talk about today. I'm going to hand it off to Andrea, who's going to talk a little bit about what's going on in the market. And then we'll get into more detail. All right,

Andrea Wilp 11:13

Andrea, there. So over the years, we've seen organizations make strides in the solutions they deliver to employees. But you know, there's still a gap in what employees expect, and what most organizations are providing. Employees are expecting, you know, a consumer grade experience. So that's really not dissimilar from the digital experience that, you know, we all have in our personal lives. But but most workplaces digital experiences really stop at the ability to self serve, rather than provide, you know, a true unified and engaging experience. And, you know, as we've talked about, most organizations have countless technology solutions, often with duplicative features. And that really makes a digital workplace challenging and complex for an employee to navigate. And so what do we mean when we when we say the digital workplace, go to the next


So when we talk about the digital

workplace, what we're talking about is an intentional construct of capabilities and solutions that deliver meaningful workforce experiences to our employees. And when we consider that more people and more work is being done remotely, we start to see that employees experience in their digital experience really become one in the same. So what does an intentional digital workplace look like? Well, it's it's easy and personalized. It meets me at the right moment with the right information, it positively affects my well being and my sense of belonging, it connects me with the people I work with, and it supports my growth and development. It augments my ability to do work and the work that I do. And last it, you know, my experience is continuously improving and iterating over time, it's not, you know, a one and done launch. And so that's what we mean when we're talking about the digital workforce and and what a meaningful workforce experiences enabled through the digital landscape. And so with that, I'll turn it over to Ray to talk a little bit more about that landscape.

Ray Panetta 13:16

Absolutely. So you know, one of the things that Gary had mentioned earlier, is organizations have built these large scale complex technical environments, especially in HR to improve the employee experience and help service employees. But really, it comes down to a simple concept in the middle, our employee has a question, right, and the employee doesn't really care where and how they get the information, they just want to make sure they get it quickly, succinctly. It's also information that they can trust. But what's happened over time is a lot of organizations have invested in point in point in time applications to support this, you know, whether it was the fact that they were looking at some of the elements are a bit more of a smaller scale, as opposed to a larger scale challenge, or if it was just limited capabilities that existed in the market that time. So hopefully, this slide that you see on the screen kind of looks familiar to lab organizations, I call it like an alphabet soup slide of all the tools and capabilities that not really exist in the market. But we see a lot of organizations actually have in space, or I'm sorry, in their technology stack. And what that does is it creates a very complex scenario to manage a very expensive scenario to manage from technical debt and subscription costs, but also impacts the employee experience from the HR side or beyond. Because when you're trying to, if you do have to engage with HR via one of these channels or get an answer, oftentimes for HR, they're going through the same mess of information to try to answer this up, answer the question. So not only if there's not an ability to have self service, if you do engage, oftentimes, it's a little bit of a slow and arduous process as well. So the clients that we wouldn't be working with now that we'd say are the most successful in this space has recognized this problem, and can't do those apples As Andrea had mentioned, and then are raised up the experience level one or two, the top level thing, I have a question and looking at this holistically and saying, Okay, what tools we have in place, you know, what tools fulfil the gap? Where do we have redundancy? And you know, where do we actually need to go and create a roadmap for success. To help with this, the market actually really rapidly evolving as well. There has been a concept of what we consider a unified engagement platform that's really been introduced over the last couple years, when we talk about unified engagement platform, when we consider that as a dedicated tool that not only establishes self service, manages content delivery provides cute and provides curated experiences in that omnichannel format. So really being able to deliver information and services that's very specific to me, when, where and how I need them. And really, that goes towards the experience gap that we highlighted before, you know, you have these expectations of the four walls outside of work and how you can access information, how you want it and when you need it. But then you go into work. And it seems to go back a little bit. So as I mentioned, we were having this conversation even a couple years ago, this slide would look really different. But there's been a subset of organizations service now leading the way they've really engaged in this idea of unified engagement platform. And that engagement platform really breaks down into a couple core capabilities, case management and knowledge management, specifically for HR, you know, ServiceNow, workday, Salesforce, they're all kind of leading the way in those Oracle's had a product for a while. But it also brings in other engagement channels like Portal chat, the telephony integration, mobile capabilities, those are the kinds of those are the next generation of application that these organizations have developed. And then the last is really where we start to see organizations moving towards a frontier that's also in the areas of deploy document management, but also enterprise capabilities. And what we mean by enterprise expandability is to be able to take the same tool and actually bring it beyond just your part of the organization, whether it's HR procurement, finance it, how can we start to leverage these one sets of tools across the board and be able to divide to find that end to end user experience? Because what we found most organizations realize is an HR inquiry might not always just be an HR inquiry, right? There's often times where the there's a grey area who manages that part of the service, or there's connection points beyond so that's where we see organizations moving forward. To Gary's point, you know, these are not always going to be end all solutions. And there's not necessarily always a right answer for the organization. But we're looking at these type of tools, looking to consolidate and looking to manage the one central level of engagement does create an engaging employee experience, especially as Andrea was mentioning? Right, right.

Gary Cole 17:53

And just just to tie back, they're going into chat here, dren made a comment about the the I have a question concept. So I don't if you can move back one one slide quickly. Um, most bike, progressive organizations have stopped looking at this as an HR thing, which I know some of you in the chat are already there as well. You know, if you look at the types of questions that an employee has only some of them have to do with HR, right, some could be it, they could be legal procurement, finance. That's really where things are shifting. Now. It's from this concept of like an HR portal to more of an enterprise portal. The reality is employee doesn't know where to get an answer. If they can't get it. Yeah, I saw somebody said they just implemented workday that they can't get access to workday. They don't know if that's an IT issue or an HR issue, and likely they're going to guess wrong and start, you know, either calling the wrong numbers or talking to the wrong people. So helping them like our job right is to help the employee triage what they're looking for, so that they get where they need to go without know without knowing what that path is. They shouldn't have to know that something is an IT question versus HR question or a legal question versus an HR question. We all should be able to direct that employee from central point that takes them where they need to go. So that's just going because I know DRAM brought it up and people seem to relate. That's really the challenge is if you can't get people to answer super quick to their questions quickly. That's when they start dialing dialing for dollars and frankly, spending a lot of time not just for themselves, but for the people that they're trying to contact.

Greg Irwin 19:33

Let's do this. By the way, the level of engagement in the chat is perfect. And all I ask you see something you you have an idea on, just say you know at Kenneth and share a comment and please note at the end of the session, we're going to send around an email with everybody's name and title not going to publish anybody's email addresses but it'll just create a way and I will be happy again to connect people so that this group can can be a resource for everybody. But let's do this. Let's pause here. And let's bring in, I'd like to invite Kenneth to share a little bit of the story. Because what a lot of a lot of things that were said here resonate. But Kenneth, I'd love to hear a little bit about that idea of HR getting disconnected from, from the employees and talk about, you know, what the specific problem is. And then we can talk about ways in which different organizations are addressing through technology, process change, what have you. But can you do us a favor if you'd be so kind give a start with just a little intro? Tell us, tell us what you do over

Kenneth 20:45

I'm a real HR business partner at this time. I've been in construction, manufacturing, engineering, aerospace, and now healthcare. And what I've always tried to impart to HR people is, HR is is, is this is not a pigeonhole industry skill. It's a people skill, which means you can move any industry that you'd like, if you would, you would enhance your people skills. Right now, and in the last five years I've been, I've been doing a lot of speaking and presentations to HR and let them know, listen, do you see too much, too much control of, of HR to operations, looking to hiring with a new coach me let them do the training, they maintain the trainings, and we step in only when there's an issue with determination or onboarding, or, or anything is due to its compliance, we've lost, we've lost that the concept of HR truly is digital, digitally, engagement is great. But it comes down to two simple things, human resources, meaning to incorporate to to how much you willing to invest in your, in your team. And also in your workforce. I have a team of nine people, we train the lb talk, do you have lunch twice a week, they have a war room to address issues that are consistent or that are, are more, more more prescient in where and where each one is, to better understand how we're addressing those things and how employees are feeling about those things. Employees call me all the time say I'm sick of going to my, to my mind work and getting getting an answer. Because we move so much out of HR locally, everything is everything is now on the national level, and we're dealing with it from Oakland. Like, I want to talk to someone, I don't want to talk to you, because everything is so many to go online and fix it. Right. But some people have issues that are that are personal driven, that require digital support. Right. And we are stepping out of it saying I don't know going on. No, no, no. No. The system healthier. No, you have an employee portal that'll help you all that stuff. No, no, that's not their HR job is to value the employee make the employee experience more engaging, and make them feel more welcome and invited rather than saying, no, no, go there and do that. We have a responsibility in the title of HR, whether director or manager, whatever your position is, to maintain the human portion of what HR truly is. But we don't do that

Greg Irwin 23:24

kind of people, tremendous if I if I knew how to hit the applause button that hit the applause button. I do think actually, in reality, there is a reactions button that people know how to use, I, I'm gonna I'm getting there, the claps, and you got the claps cross this group, because I think that's the core digital is great. It's powerful, it's scalable, but you have to match it with people, you have to match it with human human contact. And even more important, the one thing we've done a lot of sessions on is how do you drive culture, culture and identity as part of an organization when everyone's remote? How do you go? I hear that in your comments as well. I just what I like to do is have people raise a hand. So there's that reaction with just raise your hand if you have a comment. I'd love to hear specifically. I'm sure many people are going to share and candidates challenge there. But I'd love to hear of an organization that put in put in place a process or a step to help address marrying process and technology. I'm going to come back to Gary first. But I'd love to hear from others who've done it maybe maybe tried something that didn't work. But Gary when

Gary Cole 24:40

one comment then one quick story. I think Ken is challenged Kenneth I'm not sure what kind of company you represent, but it depends on how multigenerational your workforces and how much of the issue this has been a real challenge for our clients that have a really wide spread of experience in a Have their employees, what we found is, the younger the employees are, the less they ever want to talk to anybody, they just want to do everything digitally. But people, you know, people that are not fresh out of college and fully digital enabled, want that face to face. So it's not an easy problem for companies to solve, because they actually have to have multiple models to be successful with their workforces. But one quick story, we don't see a lot of when we drive efficiencies in HR, we don't see a lot of headcount reduction, it's just not something that we see in HR, what we do see is companies shifting what people are focused on, and kind of story made me think of this, we worked with a financial services company that built some basic process automation, I won't go into too much detail, but it was around a leave, you know, when you need to go on leave of absence. And they took a process that was very manually intensive, and involve fax machines and other stuff, to a very digital process that really took the workload off of HR, and frankly, made it easier to the employee. What they did with those people, they had five or six people that no longer needed to do these manual processes. They took them and they made them customer facing so that they they were holding people's hands in helping them through the leaf process, because people are usually going on leave for something that is usually not a good reason. They they help them personally they had they went into more of a casework setup so that that employee, though they're requesting leave is very digital and easy. They had a caseworker that was helping them with all other aspects of it. Like how do you go away? What do you do when you come back from leave? What assistance? Can we provide you why why you're on leave? So we've seen some organizations shift people from administrative tasks Kenneth to more kind of employee focused tasks that have been very successful.

Greg Irwin 26:51

Excellent. Thank you, Gary. Let me let me put it to the group who here has started initiative to help match personal relationship, human resources with technology, it Chad, thanks for your hand, you can you share a start with a little intro? And then please tell us a story?

Chad 27:10

Yeah, thanks, Greg. My name is Chad, I am a business HR partner in Detroit. And right now we're we're all kind of working remotely. But one thing, one thing we did, in a lot of the comments, by counting if I mean I can, if you can come and talk to our organization, we'd love to have you as a speaker. Nice job there. We did some design thinking about two years ago, and discovered that when we talk to our employees, almost none of them had any idea of who their HR rep was. So back to the point kind of made about HR being in the people business, you know, the time was being spent with leaders doing, you know, all kinds of different things working through sensitive and, you know, sensitive discussions and comp planning, and, you know, performance management and things of that nature. Um, so what we did was we sort of realized, like, what is our North Star, and shifted the focus on to the employee. Um, since that time, maybe two years ago, we implemented workday. So that was a huge piece of it, you know, it's, it's an all encompassing systems, we no longer needed, you know, three other systems to do come, you know, compensation or annual performance reviews, all that's contained within workday. And then we also separated the HRBP role into two distinct positions. One called people HR, where the focus was really on the, you know, just as it says, The, you know, 80% or 90% of our employees, you know, individual contributors, helping them through, you know, various things that they run into day to day, like leaves of absence and, you know, situations with their management that they need advice on or career, you know, career discussions. And then the other role is called Business HR, which is, is what I'm doing, which is a little more in the proactive space around, you know, how do we strategize what we want to do for 2022 in human capital planning, and, you know, things that sometimes go, just, you know, get buried because you're spending time with leaders working through all these different, you know, sensitive topics on a day to day basis. So, we're not quite there yet. They're still, you know, a lot of our workforce has been HRBP. So it's tough to kind of shift the focus of what you need to be doing and you still get calls and kind of pull them to some of the, you know, day to day things that draw your attention away from from that forward looking stuff, but

We're getting there. Excellent.

Greg Irwin 30:02

Chad, thank you very much, Glen, let's, we have a lot to cover here. And I'm going to try and take advantage of all of it. So that might mean we have to bounce around a little bit. I want to go and collect stories, I want to keep Deloitte, sharing their best practices, and set up a real nice platform for follow up where people really need it. So, Andy, I'd love to invite you in to share a comment. And I'm interested in terms of HR tech, and from a systems and solutions perspective. You know, one, one simple one, what are your initiatives? And two, how do you work that into the HR processes?

Andy 30:48

Yeah, thanks, Andy, I'm solution manager. So more on the digital and technology side, so not the HRBP side. So you know, I think we've been on a HR transformation journey for the last three, four years, we implemented, implemented workday in 2018, as well as service now, at the same time, and through that process, implemented, what were we call service centers, so our HR direct locations around the globe, so as part of our global implementation, so I think, to Kenneth's point, you know, a lot of things during that transformation was to direct people to HR direct, to get questions answered, that maybe our HRBPs answered in in the past. And so was a little bit of a shift to more of that centralized questioning to try to fit pre up our HRBPs to be more in strategic and partnership roles, which probably align more with what Chad mentioned around business, HR. You know, we still have a lot of our HR managers in our manufacturing locations that I think have a close relationship with employees. You know, I would agree with some of the statements Deloitte mentioned around the speed of some of the employee experience pieces, because when we went remote back in 2020, of March, you know, we were just rolling out Microsoft teams at the time from changing over from Skype, and we kind of did more of a rip the band aid off and threw it out there. And hopefully people get it and figure it out. And it was pretty successful, where in the past, we probably would have phased that rollout over 12 months, you know, so I think we've been able to be a little bit more agile and and take some more risks from a technology perspective in the last 18 to 20 months that maybe we didn't do in the past or maybe we are more cautious more thinking of slow rollouts, phase pilots, you know, things like that. So I think that's been actually a positive in this. We're currently working on you know, some of the Chatbot functionality and getting things to help with case deflection within our service centers as it relates to being able to do simple things like what's my time off balance? What's my How do I view my payslip? You know, some basic things that, you know, surprisingly, you think might be simple, but, you know, the arcade volume is quite high in those in those areas.

Greg Irwin 33:35

So your service your ServiceNow, and workday with intern direct, or as kind of a portal?

Andy 33:44

Yeah, we utilize ServiceNow for our front end kind of what we call GME portal. Okay. So that has a lot of that, where you can chat with agents do your case, cases, you can find knowledge as well on that. But you know, to comment I made in the chat. It's disconnected from our intranet, which you know, I can go find questions on how do I get a PC for my employee? Or how do I file expense reports. So, one of our goals in the next couple of years is build that unified portal to to bring everything together. So it's kind of that one stop shop that can then sure lead you to where you need to go, right.

Greg Irwin 34:28

Is that a?

I mean, I think you just answered it, but I'll ask it more plainly. But as you put in some really big pieces of technology in the last couple of years. So you've kind of gone through the big lab for somebody, it's it's nice to speak to somebody who's done it. So now, I'm interested given that you've done that big lift, it's like hey, how's it how's the how's the grass over on the other side of the lawn, you know, is the grass greener? And one of the big initiatives from an operational perspective that Maybe it is answer a question. I just need a single place to answer a question. Or maybe it is culture. But what would you say the big, the big kind of conceptual challenge that your head of HR and your team really wants to tackle in terms of employee experience?

Andy 35:16

You know, I think it's, it's more around how do we integrate with our other collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, you know, ServiceNow workday are, are starting to go there as far as being able to integrate directly, you know, I think, for the most part that both implementations when, when successful, and I think they've been beneficial, you know, and we're actually looking to expand our service now into more of the ITSM. So bringing it to an enterprise platform for case management, which I think would benefit us as well, because sometimes you have a case that starts with HR, and it's really an ITX case, or vice versa. And so there's that kind of, how do you get cases over to each side of it? Right? So that's, that's where it's starting to bring that experience together? Because like, oh, I don't know, like you mentioned, I don't know if I should be asking it for access to workday, or should I be asking HR, right, like, who owns it? And who should be

kind of wearing


Greg Irwin 36:21

Hey, thank you so much, Andy. That's that story's helpful. Gary, I'm going to come back to you and Andrea and Ray, because I think that's, I think we're hearing some consistency in the problems. Maybe you want to talk on global search. Gary, what do you see people who've taken chapter one? What's, what's the what's the next chapter?

Gary Cole 36:44

Well, it what

do you describe is is such a typical journey, you guys, you've kind of got the HR portal set up, and you've streamline that process, but it's very isolated, we do have a really big How can I summarize them without giving up their name, clothing, athletic clothing manufacturer, who has led that problem by exposing global search within their intranet, so that if somebody is in the intranet and searches, and it's an HR policy or HR transaction item, it pops up, they click on it, it takes them into ServiceNow. Otherwise, it's sending them to places within the internet to get the data, but it is still a little clumsy, they are going to migrate all that content to ServiceNow. So that it's better architected more easily searchable, and indexed. I mean, you and you live this world, so you know what I'm talking about. But the evolution you're on, it's pretty common. But that global search capability is usually the next step. So that they can find the things in ServiceNow, no matter where they're starting on your intranet layer. Some of that could be dependent on the internet technology that you're using, what your interest is built off of. But it's again, it's it's that next step that we see most companies taking.

Ray Panetta 37:58

And one of the challenges that we see there, it's not always a technology organization, right, the more you're looking to kind of get different stakeholders involved and different owners of services, different owners of content, making sure they all get on the same page from a governance perspective, all those technical technical elements and really identifying needs to be on point and accountable for that part of the transformation. So see, I would say the challenge we see a lot of organizations is the intent is there many times the technology is there. Now either they have a tool like ServiceNow in HR, they want to expand or they have and it and they want to expand is getting the organization on board. And many times it's one of the first times all those teams are talking in the same room to say what's our common goal, and then taking that as a first step to defining the experience and going from there. If you don't kind of have that groundwork, you can continue just to create a clunky solution on

new tools. Now, maybe

Gary Cole 38:53

a question for the group of everything we talked about today? How many of you has this all been exposed as part of onboarding? So the process for trying to onboard people remotely and electronically? How is is that been something that is kind of exposed these challenges and maybe highlighted where it's not working? Because it certainly has for us and for most of

our customers?

Greg Irwin 39:18

I'd welcome a response on that and say, hey, if I like I like hearing the stories of what people are working on and what they're trying to achieve, and hopefully what they put in place that we can all say, Wow, that alright, that worked for somebody else maybe to work for me. Does anyone have a story on onboarding that has has has worked or maybe it's an initiative on the roadmap? But maybe we go a little bit more broadly than Gary, what if I let me invite in Chris and I saw you there a little earlier. There you are. Kristin, nice, guys. Any of you would you care about to share a little story about cosmetical growl and maybe some of the experiences or initiatives you got going there.

Kristin 40:07

Sure, absolutely. So just like a couple other companies shared, we've invested in service now, we have workday. So both of those or are a little over two years old. Were a big Google shop. So a lot of our work has just been optimising those.

Greg Irwin 40:24

You said, your Google shop.

Yes. Oh, that sounds like hurting how many employees? Are you?

Take out almost 8000. That's one of the bigger Google shops Saturday, thank

Kristin 40:37

Yes. So we use Google for it. That's what our intranet is built on. That's what we use for all of our collaboration tools. We don't have office anymore. So those are really our three buckets. Yeah, we still have now what was progress years ago, was getting things off of paper and off of Excel on people's laptops, and putting them into Google Forms, or whatever it is, well, now we're trying to get those processes and put them in ServiceNow. And workday, which is, you know, just an evolution that keeps happening. I had put kind of what we're working through in the chat. And it relates to onboarding, which is our diverse workforce. So and anybody that's in, you know, manufacturing consumer products is, yes, I've got 2500 people that are in front of a laptop every day. But what do I do about the 5000? That are putting mulch in bags? Or working on the front line? And how do we make sure they have access to the tools where that's not part of their day, every day, and we're still trying to figure that out? Whether it's mobile, and part of it is just figuring out what the facts are, it's very easy for people to say, Oh, well, those people don't have phones, really, they're not watching the NFL ticket, like they're not watching Netflix, there's no technology there, or they don't understand. And I think that that is where the people part of HR and making sure they have somebody they can go to, but also providing them with easy, intuitive technology. So when you need it, you know how to find it. And we've talked about that some and then in the middle of all this, our business is growing. And you know, you talked about Hawthorne, which is, you know, our hydroponics division, so the organization is experiencing change. So it's not even like we're trying to make better what we've always done, or buying a lot of different companies. So you have integration. So that's what we're trying to figure out. So anybody that has, you know, any kind of guidance on how to connect with, you know, manufacturing, we've got hourly sales, people that are out there in the field, that technology isn't part of their workday. That's something that I'm

Greg Irwin 42:57

Kristin, it reminds me of that common Anthony made in the chat, which is just measuring success, like, do you know you have a problem? Are you making are you making improvement? So let me I'd love to ask you that one in terms of measuring employee set, and how you do it, and how you measure your progress. But you know, how you set your goals? There's, there's no, there's no finish line here, unfortunately. So it's all it's all it's all a journey. How do you think about measuring?

Kristin 43:32

So what we've done the past couple years, it has, we've done engagement surveys, and we've put a lot of work into them to make sure we get to that hourly workforce, doing like providing QR codes. And once upon a time that was paper, which we've tried to get away for away from but how do we get those employee voices? That's number one. Where gaps and what do we need to work on? We look at turnover data, what are the groups? And then based on turnover? What's the information about this people? How long have they been here? Where have they come from? And all of that, I will tell you actually have an engagement strategy session. I'm getting ready for next week, because it's kind of grey. And it's so broad, and we can't do it all. And we're not going to make an impact if we do it at all. So we are trying to focus on what are the things in 2022 that we need to focus on, make progress, measure, make progress, and then move on to the next thing because we've been talking a lot about engagement the past couple years, but it's kind of been just peanut butter over a number of different initiatives.

Greg Irwin 44:42

Can I collect feedback from this group? What's the trend this year on employee set? I really don't know if it's up or down. So do me a favour in the chat. Just say up down or steady, up, down or steady? And I don't know. I mean, I think people should be pretty happy with all this no new remote work and higher wages. And seems like things are good for employees? I don't know. But I wonder if that's better. So do me a favour, everybody take a second drop in there is employee chat up, down are steady.

Gary Cole 45:23

And Greg, one thing about the data in the market right now is it doesn't make, it doesn't make a lot of sense that employee satisfaction and engagement seems to be up over the last year or so. Because companies are being so intentional about it. But then you hear that 40% of every, you know, 40% of all employees are considering leaving to go to their jobs. So it's a little yell a little schizophrenic there as far as you know, they're happy, but they're still leaving, which is something we're seeing, which is kind of hard to hard to understand and quantify.

Greg Irwin 45:57

Yeah, it's like people are finding are taking that opportunity, or they're they're taking not necessarily risk, but they're seeing a new opportunity where they couldn't have didn't have it wasn't available to them before. Interesting. Not bad. I see lots of studies with a couple ops. I'll take that. Anthony, can I bring you into the mix here? I appreciate your comment earlier. Give a little intro and tell us a little bit about your story. There. So

Anthony 46:24

my name is Anthony. I'm with BASF. And I the reason I said steady depending is because we have some divestitures going on, we have some layoffs going on. So that's the obvious is the you know, in some areas, it's down. But I would like to, you know, learn more about and Krishna, maybe we could connect about keeping people engaged, you know, I'm dealing directly with my own team, you know, they're going to be losing their jobs at the end of next year. So trying to keep them engaged, trying to keep them retained. Right now, it's not a not an easy

Greg Irwin 47:02

thing. So wow, that's, that's extraordinary. You deal with rips. It's hard to it's hard to keep people energized, when there's when there's that hanging over them. I do love the general idea of how do you drive loyalty and engagement in a more distributed fashion. And I keep coming back to Kansas comments of its people, it's personal relationships. But there's something that we can do in terms of driving that engagement. So I'm gonna, I'll ask somebody raise a hand. Or tell us if you have a story on anything your organization has done to help drive engagement. I'm going to come back to Ray and Gary and Andrea for a story that they've seen. In one, it's time for my 10 minute, you know, it's like the two minute drill, where at the 10 minute drill guys, we've we it's been really a fun, interesting conversation for the last 15 minutes, we've got 10 minutes left, you can go one or two ways people can start checking emails and thinking about the next meeting, or we can finish strong. So I think we can do it. Let's set up in your chairs. That your fingers ready. And let's let's have a good strong last 10 minutes. Gary, talk to us a little bit about what some of your clients are doing for Deloitte is doing on driving engagement.

Gary Cole 48:28

I think the

you know, it's it's a fairly broad topic, but it's mostly around engagement with leadership. And I think one of the reasons why companies have moved the needle in a positive way around engagement is better exposure to leadership mean a lot of companies don't even have to be really big companies don't hear directly from their kind of CEO presidents and folks at that level. And now they've all started to either how to figure out how to crack the nut either using things like Slack, or other collaboration tools, or frankly, social media, to connect better with employees to poll employees to get in direct conversation with employees about policies. It's broken down some of the walls. So I think that's a big change for a lot of our clients is their senior executive teams are spending more time engaging employees at all levels, which just we really hadn't seen before. And I hope that trend continues because I do think that is a significant positive impact on the overall experience.

Greg Irwin 49:29

I love it that makes so much sense. And there's so many different ways that we can engage. I mean, look what we're doing now, this would have been a dream five years ago, not that it wasn't available, but there just wasn't that willingness and that kind of, you know, that acceptance for for to kind of engage in this way. Let's bring in let's bring in another voice. How about Lydia. Lydia, if you're on with us. Can you share a story with us? No. Okay, how about Danielle? Danielle, are you with us? No worries. How about Heather? Karina? I'm taking shots here. It's all good. It's all good if he can or can't, and I know people have to multitask. How about Amber? Amber? Amber, are you with us?

Amber, thanks. Thanks. Thanks for joining Heather. No worries, we see your note. And it's certainly well understood. We all know. Amber, tell us a little story place.

Amber 50:40

Um, I mean, I don't really have one.

Greg Irwin 50:47


Amber 50:49

we mean,

we haven't really done much to do employee engagement this year. Mostly, at least not like in chat formats or anything. We've been doing lots of monetary situations to keep employees when retention wise due to our staffing shortages. But,

Greg Irwin 51:09

I mean, you mean bonuses, bonuses,

Amber 51:13

also increasing everyone's wages overall, to make sure that we're staying ahead of the current market to retain our employees.

Greg Irwin 51:22

Yeah. Yeah, that's mostly one of the basics. I mean, you're hitting on one of the absolute basics is people aren't generally available. And everyone short staffed over, overworked, calm, scheming up, but works hard right. Now, I don't know about y'all, but we're working our butts off. And it's really hard to find people. So we're, you know, recruiting is probably seriously the number one challenge right now. And retention on the other side of that is, is a challenge. So actually, I would love to do a session on recruiting. Because I think techniques and processes and technologies around recruiting is huge targeting that's a great way to have an impact on the business. Yeah, definitely. Amber, thank you very much. Thank you, Danielle. I see your hand up. Do you have a comment? Danielle.

Danielle 52:20

Yep, sorry, I

missed you before. Yeah, but yeah, so in terms of engagement, we're actually a little bit different. I'm, I'm an HR manager. And for Washington, New York, we were deemed essential business during COVID. So we actually did not see too much of a remote shift. We did see remote for our sales reps, though, and are some of our office partners so for a short period of time, so we did do some engagement things with them. So we did like the virtual Happy Hour type things after work. But um, in terms of engagement of our since since most of our workforce was in house, our drivers that were delivering products out to our customers, it was more so keeping their spirits up during that time, since a lot of times, they were seeing the impact of restaurants and different businesses being impacted by COVID. So we did a lot of things of like having different, like buying lunches for them or doing different things we also played around with like wages, like we did different market analysis and stuff. And even though we stopped serving merit increases at the time when COVID first hit. The first we brought it back for was our frontline partners rather than like our management team and leadership since a lot of our frontline partners were on and the frontlines pretty much the whole time during COVID. But yeah, that's that's pretty much how we engage them just being a little bit extra special to during the whole COVID time.

Greg Irwin 54:00

Danielle, I think Cintas had probably has a lot of people out in the field. In the tracks, and probably quite similar to Kristin has a whole group of of employees you need to engage with that aren't necessarily sitting in front of zoom screens or portals. How do you how do you reach you know, that that cohort so for the ones

Danielle 54:26

that we see every day, so we did move to giving them all emails and such before because we couldn't gather so we would will do meetings, virtually to still keep that and then do we would break down the groups. I've been about 100 employees here. Um, so when we could start doing gathering type things we would do 10 people at a time and separated by team and at least, um do different Like for the holidays, we would bring in lunch for that specific team one week at a time. Um, we made sure that throughout the day, like management was sending texts, saying like, hey, like hope your day is going great, like just making sure that they were consistently engaged with with their job and what they were doing, and really understood that like, their job, because they're working is their job as a central, they're, they're doing something that matters, right hitting home on on that concept to.

Greg Irwin 55:29


Excellent. Danielle, I appreciate you taking the time and joining us. Let's wrap back here to Gary and Ray and Andrea, for a couple closing comments. And at least on my behalf, I want to thank you all for joining in sharing, you know, sharing feedback, and answering questions. And please take us up on the networking. Right, we I really believe the conversations great, the personal relationships are better, and take advantage of that. Gary, please. I can just ask you the basic 111 takeaway, that you've got the you'd like to impress your upon the group?

Gary Cole 56:09

Well, first of all, I appreciate the conversation. Every time we talk to folks that are out in industry doing this, we learned something prior to me we do this for a living and we're still learning every time we talk to a new organization. So this has been fantastic. It's a lot of it is validated, what we're hearing from other organizations as well, I would say that we you guys are more likely dealing with isn't unique. And by using your network and making connections that you made here today, you can, you know, talk to others that are maybe a little bit further ahead in the process. You know, some of the companies here, I think Andy was a good example. Because I'm pretty far down the path, I'm figuring this out, you're still evolving, but you have a lot of the key pieces in place. And I think there's a lot to be learned from this group here. So Greg, that's kind of my parting wisdom is, you know, connect with folks on here that are, you know, doing some of these things and starting to build the digital experience, I think there's a lot to be learned.

Greg Irwin 57:05

Thanks, Gary. Right. Absolutely. I

Ray Panetta 57:09

mean, the one takeaway is, you know, there's going to be a one size fits all solution. Right. And I think a lot of the conversation today about working with your own organization through engagement, really understanding what the preferences and needs of your organization are, and building around that, right, you know, the SAS and path based platforms are saying we can do everything and anything that we want you need us to do. Sometimes it's the case, sometimes it's not, it's finding that right formula for your organization and, and staying on top of it after you implement it, right. I mean, it's not a one and done thing, either, you know, making sure you're continually evolving and listening to your folks. So that's the one takeaway I would have.

Greg Irwin 57:47

Thanks, Ray. All right, Andrea, you've got the wrap up for us.

Andrea Wilp 57:51

Yeah, um,

so I would just say, similar to Ray's takeaway around continuous improvement, you know, I think traditionally, we've looked at solutions as being kind of, you know, this multi year effort where we launch it, and that's kind of it. But we really should shift the focus on, you know, more of like a release management mindset, if you will, where we're looking to, you know, deliver experiences and capabilities. And then we start back at the beginning to think about where do we want to go next. So it's really a everlasting journey,

Greg Irwin 58:20

if you will. But so I look, I wasn't explicit in this, but I think I should be. I mean, toys really good at this. I mean, there's a reason why they're hosting this. It's because they help solve these problems and set those journeys. So with Bay lay a bear. I mean, obviously, if there's an opportunity for them to come in and help, maybe something is tactical, maybe it's something strategic, maybe it's your team, maybe it's an adjacent team. I mean, that's, that's what they're doing. It's what they do every day. So of course, consider them as a resource as well. But and huge. Thanks, Andrea. Ray, Gary, thank you so much. And thank you all let's let's wrap up our session here, and I look forward to speaking with everybody in a future session. Thank you all.

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