As for whether the concept of employee experience is a passing trend, Whitter is confident that this new role will be here for a long time to come.
“The flood of adverts now seeking a ‘director of employee experience’ provides further evidence and assurance that this is not simply a shiny new concept, thing or HR fad,” he said.
Instead, it is something that businesses are taking very seriously in terms of how they develop and connect their business performance.
“So, a flash in the pan it isn’t, and I note the growing number of HR practitioners trying on this new (or at the very least evolved) hat and liking its comfortable fit.”
There is a reason why this shift is occurring, Whitter added: mainly that it feels broad and all-encompassing.
“When practitioners talk of engagement it traditionally has felt like something was missing from the discussion,” he said.
“Experience brings the whole of HR and much more into play. It appears somehow more complete, with massive potential to clearly demonstrate value and impact on business performance.”
However, there is always a caveat when making a concerted shift such as this, he added.
“It’s very easy to create a nice new title and brand for HR, but the proof, as always, is in the pudding,” he said. “That’s why it’s so revealing to take a look at the accompanying job descriptions for these roles.”
In general, firms will line up the strategies behind these titles and lay out a much broader mandate required for success, he noted. This typically includes key services and functions which affect employee experience across the business.
“In reality, will continue to differ as businesses build their own versions of the new HR,” he said.
The fact that HR practitioners and business have generally reacted very positively to this shift is exciting, he said, adding that the trend itself has the potential to elevate HR into a true business leadership role.
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The demand for a new type of HR professional and the move to bring together HR and other services under an ‘employee experience’ umbrella is a compelling combination that will ultimately move HR forward, Ben Whitter, leader of organisation and people development at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China, said.