Partnership

“Break down the silos!” “Create cross-functional collaboration!” This is a sampling of soft advice often given to solve so many business challenges.

REPORT | 6m read
February 17, 2021

But it can be difficult to put these recommendations into practice, as partnership pushes teams together in ways they haven’t worked in the past. Despite these challenges, strengthening partnerships is fundamental to sound EX.

Organizations often struggle to break free from patterns that result in siloed activities. You may think that HR is the primary architect of employee experience, but that’s no longer the case. HR acts as a guide or trusted advisor for culture to the rest of the organization.

EX starts with the individual. And among advanced-EX organizations, leadership must set the tone. From there, every department is responsible for collaborating to drive individual progress and empathy.

Departments can help drive EX transformation by creating shared goals, with KPIs to match. Note that almost two-thirds of EX advanced organizations (64 percent) say they have shared cross-departmental goals. That’s compared to only 21 percent of Learners.

Advanced testimonials

Collaborative partnerships between multiple stakeholders can build EX into people, processes, and technology.

Before your team rolls out new tools or changes, one of the considerations for release should be employee experience. In that way, EX becomes a filter through which new initiatives must pass before being enacted—a critical “gate” in your governance process. Using qualifying questions such as, “Were employees involved in the design of this change?” and “Were they included in the testing?” can help build the consensus necessary to push through.

“Partnering is more than just breaking down silos,” says one EX leader in financial services. “A lot of times employee experience initiatives feel added, which makes EX less prioritized. By partnering, it helps decrease lift and cost of your EX initiative in a way that helps increase the value impact.”

The addition of an EX stakeholder in your strategic thinking will get other teams to think more deeply about their impact.

“Leaders need to be cross-disciplined, agile, and innovative in business change,” says Tanya Foster, Chief Information Officer at Raytheon UK. “This often means the CIO is partnering with the CMO and CDO for customer lifecycle development; the HRD or CPO for digitizing HR. This leads to deliverables that create the organizational impact we all aspire toward.”

CROSS-DISCIPLINED LEADERSHIP] OFTEN MEANS THE CIO IS PARTNERING WITH THE CMO AND CDO FOR CUSTOMER LIFECYCLE DEVELOPMENT; THE HRD OR CPO FOR DIGITIZING HR. THIS LEADS TO DELIVERABLES THAT CREATE THE ORGANIZATIONAL IMPACT WE ALL ASPIRE TOWARD.

Tanya Foster
Chief Information Officer
Raytheon UK

64%

of EX Advanced organizations who say that their HR, IT, and Real Estate departments have one or more shared goals or KPIs.

21%

of Learners who say the same

Actions to follow

Implement the actions below to foster linked and shared ownership.

Break down barriers in hierarchy and hiring

Applies to:
Culture

EX Advanced organizations build collaborative partnerships at these key levels:

Hierarchy: A strong hierarchical structure (versus a flatter one) is a barrier to improving EX. EX Advanced organizations resolve this by promoting greater transparency at all levels.

Hiring: Involve the entire company when onboarding new hires, encouraging relationships between teams and divisions. This helps give employees the space to communicate and collaborate.

Cross-pollinate departments

Applies to:
Culture, Physical space

Consider moving people’s roles into other parts of the organization to break silos and foster partnership. In the physical office, position IT and HR next to each other, so that they have space and occasion to collaborate.

Hold workshops with stakeholders

Applies to:
Culture, Digital Space

“Visioning” workshops (both internally and with customers) can help reframe problems and reveal effective solutions. Focus on identifying a vision for “What does great look like?” These workshops can make solutions easier to activate, and foster a greater sense of cross-departmental accountability.

Implement cross-business councils

Applies to:
Culture, Digital Space, Physical space

Advanced companies utilize a coalition of employees and departments to create a unified EX strategy. These councils draw representation from HR, IT, Real Estate, and often external stakeholders. They’re used to establish a shared objective between departments and create an exciting and modern workspace.

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